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Trotz: Oshie could return to the Caps' lineup this week

Trotz: Oshie could return to the Caps' lineup this week

There’s a chance that winger T.J. Oshie could return to the Capitals’ lineup against the Bruins or in Buffalo, Coach Barry Trotz said Monday.

“Is it a possibility? Yes,” Trotz said. “It’s possible. But I don’t if it’s there or not yet.”

Monday’s morning skate—the Caps are set to host the Sabres at Verizon Center at 7 p.m. on CSN—marked the most Oshie’s done since suffering a shoulder injury against Detroit on Nov. 18. Although he was not assigned to a line, he participated fully in drills and appeared unencumbered when taking shots.

RELATED: Caps to try Beagle on the power play Monday night

The only outward sign that he’s still hurting came when he did crunches on the ice rather than pushups like his teammates.

“I feel good,” said Oshie, who’ll miss his seventh straight game. “We’re making strides. We’re testing it. We’re getting better each day. And today, just like the last time we talked, is the best day yet.”

“Everything,” he added, “is positive so far.”

Washington is 2-3-1 since Oshie got hurt.

After playing host to the Sabres, the Caps entertain the Bruins on Wednesday before traveling to Buffalo for a game on Friday.

Asked if he feels like he could play in one of those upcoming contests, Oshie indicated that he’ll leave the decision up to the trainers.  

“I don’t know,” he said. “Like I said before, this is kind of new to me. So I’m really going day-by-day. You know, hockey players, we’d like to play every game. We’ll just see where tomorrow gets me.”

MORE CAPITALS: Eichel's return makes Sabres a much tougher matchup for Caps

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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