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Preparing for a crucial Game 6


Preparing for a crucial Game 6

News, notes and quotes as the Caps prepare for tonight’s crucial Game 6 against the New York Rangers holding a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN):

Answering the call: The Caps are 5-1 in the Phone Booth during the post-season, including five straight wins on home ice. They have outscored opponents 15-10 at home during the playoffs and are a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.

Goaltender Braden Holtby is 4-1 with one shutout, a 1.20 GAA and a .950
save percentage at home this postseason and is 7-2 with two shutouts, a 1.27 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage in his playoff career at
Verizon Center against the Rangers.

Jay Beagle has five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in six games at home
during the 2015 playoffs and Evgeny Kuznetsov (3 goals,
1 assist) and Jason Chimera (2 goals, 2 assists) have each earned
four points in six home games.

Chances are …: Every one of the Rangers’ 10 playoff games has been decided by one goal. Nine of the Caps’ 1`2 playoff games have been decided by one goal. “There’s not much separating the two teams,” The Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s going to be execution or lack of execution that’s going to end up in the back of your net.”
Holtbeast: In his 11 playoff games this spring Holtby has registered one shutout, a 1.51 GAA and a .951 save percentage ranking first in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage (minimum 5 games]. As of now, Holtby’s .951 save percentage is the highest single-postseason save percentage in NHL history (minimum 10 games) and his 1.51 goal-against average ranks fourth in NHL playoff history.

Game 6 heroics: Alex Ovechkin has 5 goals and 4 assists in eight career Game 6s, while Nicklas Backstrom has 1 goal and 6 assists in eight career Game 6s.
Bouncing back: The Capitals have yet to suffer consecutive losses during the playoffs and have gone 25 games [March 11-13] since losing back-to-back games.

On the kill: The Capitals have killed 24 of 25 penalties in the post-season, ranking first in the NHL in penalty kill percentage. The Caps have killed 10 of 11 penalties against the Rangers.

Different heroes: The Capitals have had a different player score the game-winning goal in each of their seven wins this postseason (Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky). “I don’t think either side really cares where it comes from at this time of the season,” said Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is looking for his first goal of the season.
Needing more: Trotz said he’s like to see the Caps’ top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Ward get back on the score sheet. They haven’t since Game 2. He said he’d also like to see the second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera pick up the pace. “They’ll need to get going again,” Trotz said.
Tough out: Orpik saw the Rangers storm back from a 3-1 series deficit against his Penguns last season and know they will be difficult to eliminate.
“We know who we’re up against,” he said. “They had the best record in league I don’t think anybody anticipated it being easy.”

[RELATED Caps excited for chance to close at home

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2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL


2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL

The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.

Meet the newest prospects:

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pounds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: F Eric Florchuk, WHL, 6'2", 174 pounds

Florchuk was taken with the last pick of the draft.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”