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Sidney Crosby scores twice to lead Penguins to Game 1 win over Washington

Sidney Crosby scores twice to lead Penguins to Game 1 win over Washington

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 3

How it happened: Both teams looked pretty even to start as they felt one another out in a goalless first period. Things did not start well in the second. Caught too far up on the opening faceoff, the Caps gave up the first goal of the game to Sidney Crosby just 12 seconds in. Crosby would score his second of the game less than a minute later to make it 2-0 just 1:04 into the second. Washington was on its heels so they got physical. Dmitry Orlov crushed Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson leveled Evgeni Malkin and the team seemed to feed off of both hits leading to an Alex Ovechkin goal late in the period. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied that game at 2 in the third period, but Nick Bonino put Pittsburgh back on top for good just 4:31 later.

What it means: With the Game 1 loss, Washington yielded home-ice to the Penguins and now face what many will call a must-win Game 2 in Washington before the series shifts to Pittsburgh. This marks the first time this season the Caps have lost to the Penguins in regulation.

Goals

Penguins goal: Sidney Crosby from Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist at 0:12 in the 2nd period. Matt Niskanen pinched up the ice immediately on the faceoff to open the second period. A turnover in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 for Pittsburgh with Guentzel feeding Crosby for the one-timer. Caps 0, Penguins 1

Penguins goal: Sidney Crosby from Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist at 1:04 in the 2nd period. Maatta fired a slap shot from the blue line that Braden Holtby was unable to glove. Hornqvist was there for Pittsburgh to collect the rebound and feed to a charging Crosby for the goal. Caps 0, Penguins 2

Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin from Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie at 18:17 in the 2nd period. A big hit from Dmitry Orlov on Kuhnhackl seemed to ignite the Caps as did a hit from John Carlson and Evgeni Malkin less than a minute later. Carlson’s hit dispossessed Malkin of the puck and Oshie carried it into the offensive zone and dropped it back for Eller. Eller tipped it to a nearby Ovechkin who was allowed to walk in to the top of the circle without being challenged. The result shot beat Marc-Andre Fleury to the top shelf. Caps 1, Penguins 2

Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Matt Niskanen at 8:05 in the 3rd period. A prolonged offensive attack and the constant movement of the Caps allowed for Kuznetsovy eventually to get free. Niskanen corralled the puck and pulled off the cross-ice pass to Kuznetsov who was able to tap it in past a helpless Fleury. Caps 2, Penguins 2

Penguins goal: Nick Bonino from Scott Wilson and Ian Cole at 12:36 in the 3rd period. Justin Schultz held the puck behind the Penguins' net, passed to Cole who made a stretch pass to Wilson who was along the boards. Wilson went into the offensive zone drawing Kevin Shattenkirk then chipped the puck to the center for Bonino who was in alone on net. Caps 2, Penguins 3

Caps stars

1. Dmitry Orlov: Crosby's two goals took the wind right out of the Caps' sails and the team seemed to lack energy for most of the second as a result. That changed when Orlov knocked Kuhnhackl to the ice. The Penguins bench was upset as they felt the hit was high, but the point of contact was not the head and the referee did not deem it worthy of a penalty.

2. Alex Ovechkin: There were some frustrating moments in which Ovechkin was forced into traps along the boards and he took an early penalty, but Washington needed him the most and desperately needed a boost, he was there to give them the goal and put them on the board.

3. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Kuznetsov needs to be a factor in this series if the Caps hope to win and he was in Game 1. He registered 10 shot attempts, four shots on goal and scored the game-tying goal in the third. He did not score a single goal in last season's series against Pittsburgh.

Look ahead: The series remains in Washington for Game 2 on Saturday. It will then shift to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.

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Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

As if any other candidate would even come close, Captain was named Sports Dog of the Year on Friday afternoon.

The four-legged phenom has been everywhere this fall, making his presence felt all over the DMV, and his popularity has extended nationwide.

Captain doesn't take days off and is always ready to have some fun.

He was there to maintain the peace during the biggest shopping day of the year and he made sure your Cyber Monday gifts arrived on time. 

He inspires greatness and has been a driving force behind the Mystics' WNBA Title as well as the Nationals' World Series victory.

He knows when its time to put in the work as well. He's always on time for meetings, and he has never missed a practice.

He's preparing to assist a Veteran or First Responder one day, and he's already making progress.

And he's always ready to celebrate.

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D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

WASHINGTON — For 40 years Neal Henderson has given underprivileged kids the chance to play hockey at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.

On Thursday, Henderson was honored for his life’s work with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Henderson was inducted along with NHL greats Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and U.S. Olympian Krissy Wendell. He heard kind words spoken about his program, the Fort Dupont Cannons, from the likes of Bettman, Alex Ovechkin and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and also received a video tribute. 

It’s been quite a week for Henderson, who drew a sustained ovation from the crowd at Tuesday’s Capitals-Boston Bruins game when acknowledged on the big video board at Capital One Arena. 

“It’s amazing. Something I never believed I could be a part of,” Henderson said. “It’s the zenith of my life other than being married and having a son. I’ve enjoyed what I have done. I didn’t do it for the reasons of being here. I did it for the love of kids and the parents who trusted me with their children.”  

Henderson said he “became completely numb” when he got the phone call learning he’d be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Cannons developmental program, based at Fort Dupont, is designed to help local underprivileged kids play an expensive sport that is out of reach for many. Fort Dupont features the oldest minority hockey league in North America. 

It’s not a route to the NHL. But Henderson has helped kids play high school and college hockey, passing on the lessons he’s learned over decades: That hard work and character matter. That education is crucial. He believes hockey helps forge those traits. The Cannons give kids a chance to travel to other cities to play games. They were an integral part of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which seeks to broaden the sport, make it more inclusive, help better communities.

A clip showed during Ovechkin’s tribute video after being named the Wayne Gretzky International Award recipient at Thursday’s induction dinner, showed the Stanley Cup at Fort Dupont with the Cannons. That was Ovechkin’s idea, according to Leonsis.

“I asked Alex ‘Where do you want to go?’ He said ‘I want to see kids at Georgetown Cancer Center.” And we went there. And then he wanted to pay homage to Coach Neal,” Leonsis said. “And so we went to Fort Dupont. It’s great that he’s here.”

Henderson said he hoped his induction would help encourage more people of color to embrace hockey. He started the program in the late 1970s thinking he’d simply get his son through the program, which works with kids ages 8 to 18. But he just kept going – in part because kids kept coming to the Cannons and in part because he just couldn’t refuse them. Decades later he’s still here working with them. 

“A lot of people don’t feel that they have the opportunity when it’s right at their back door,” Henderson said. “If they take just one more step they’ll find that there are people out there that’s willing to help them. All you have to do is be there willing to make sure they get the chance.”

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