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A trio of Capitals suffer injuries; a Saturday recall is possible

A trio of Capitals suffer injuries; a Saturday recall is possible

Through the first 16 games this season, the Capitals had pretty much avoided injuries. Some bumps and bruises here and there, to be sure, but nothing serious enough to force a player out of the lineup.

It caught up to them on Friday.

Lars Eller, T.J. Oshie and Andre Burakovsky each left the Capitals’ eventual 1-0 win over the Red Wings in the first period, leaving the home team with just three forward lines for the balance of the contest.

Coach Barry Trotz said all three players were suffering from upper body ailments and would be reevaluated Saturday morning. Trotz also hinted at the possibility of recalling a player from minor league Hershey—just in case.

“Nope, I can’t,” Trotz cracked, asked if he could provide an update on the injured players. “They are going to be evaluated. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”

RELATED: Battered and bruised Caps manage late win over Red Wings

Eller was the first to go down. It’s unclear how he got hurt, but he did get hit hard by Tyler Bertuzzi along the boards on his first shift. Eller played only 45 seconds.  

A few minutes later, Oshie laid into Riley Sheahan in open ice but ended up taking the brunt of the blow. Oshie, arguably the Capitals' best player to this point in the season, went to the bench briefly before retiring to the dressing room.

Burakovsky, meantime, left the game after being spotted on the bench in obvious discomfort. A review of his final shift did not reveal anything obvious.  

Trotz wouldn't commit to recalling a player from the Bears, but it sure sounded likely. There are several deserving candidates in Hershey, but, as always, the Caps also must weigh several factors, such as the type of player that needs to be replaced. Is it a winger? A center? Top six, etc. And that might not be known until the injured players are reexamined.

“I’m probably going to bring one guy in—just in case,” Trotz said. “But we won’t make that decision until tomorrow. That’s sorta the idea. There’s some unknown and we have a noon game [vs. Columbus on Sunday]. …We’ll probably be safe, and that person will probably be in and out for the day.”

Trotz said he was surprised that his team had managed to avoid injuries for more than a month, particularly since the Capitals sent nine players to the World Cup of Hockey prior to the season.

“We were getting past that stage in the season where we hitting that first 20 games,” he said. “Then you have a lot of World Cuppers, they are already getting into the 30s here because guys played eight, nine games at the World Cup. Those were like playoff games, so there’s a lot of wear and tear on your top players in this league.”

Trotz also acknowledged discussing his team’s good fortune earlier in the day—a no-no in the superstitious world of pro hockey.

“It was funny, I got a flu shot today with one of our doctors and I said, ‘Knock on wood, we haven’t had any injuries,’” Trotz said. “We were talking about that and how fortunate that was. And I should have just kept my mouth shut.”

MORE CAPITALS: BEAGLE: TEAMMATES TOLD HIM 'OLD MAN, YOU'RE DONE' AFTER GOAL

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.

Ovechkin

Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.

Motivation

Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.

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