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Trotz sends message by pulling Holtby in loss to Montreal

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Trotz sends message by pulling Holtby in loss to Montreal

For the second time in less than two weeks, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made the long skate from the crease to the bench. After giving up his third goal of the game and with the Caps trailing the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 in the second period, head coach Barry Trotz elected to relieve Holtby and put in backup Philipp Grubauer.

"Sometimes you have to pull your goaltender," Trotz said. "I can't fault Holts on any of those goals. At the same time, I couldn't get it changed on our bench a whole lot."

The move didn’t work.

Though the Caps did manage a comeback, they ultimately fell short in a 4-3 loss to Montreal.

For the night, Holtby turned aside 15 of the 18 shots he faced. It's not a stat line that will look great in the box score, but no one will put this loss on Holtby’s shoulders.

A good start for the Caps was erased by a bad turnover from Dmitry Orlov in the defensive zone that Alex Galchenyuk turned into the game's first goal. It was the sixth straight game in which the Caps had yielded the game's first goal and the 13th time in their last 16 games. Two first period penalties from Tom Wilson also derailed what remained of the team's momentum.

RELATED: Capitals' rally falls short in loss to Habs

"The timing of the penalty is probably the thing that disrupts the flow of the line changes and stuff and then just gives the other team momentum," Brooks Orpik said, "especially like I said when we had a really good start and kind of had them on their heels."

Montreal would convert on the second of Wilson's penalties as Brendan Gallagher went between two Caps defensemen to get to a rebound and extend Montreal's lead to 2-0. Former Cap Tomas Fleischmann then ended Holtby's night in the second as he was able to hit the corner of the net with Holtby rendered helpless by a screen.

"Those are moments that you hope your team responds because they all look and go, 'That's not Holts' fault.'" Trotz said. "Yeah, it's not. It's everybody's fault that we're in the situation where we are."

Did the team hear the message Trotz was trying to send? Loud and clear.

The Caps ultimately lost the game, but were able to make a game of it as they came back from a 4-1 deficit to make it 4-3.

Said Backstrom after the loss, "Holtby can't bail us out every time."

Message received.

MORE CAPITALS: Mike Yeo not happy with Adam Oates' presence in Minnesota

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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

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USA Today

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.

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4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

It’s going to be a late night. The Caps are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks (10 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus) for the first of a four-game swing through Canada. Grab your coffee, here are four things you need to watch.

Offensive firepower

Washington enters Monday’s game with the top offense in the NHL with 4.14 goals per game. Vancouver had one of the worst defenses in the league last year. They have looked much improved at the start of this season, but they are still giving up 3.00 goals per game. Washington’s high-powered superstars should be able to take advantage and get some points on the board.

Adjusted lines

The fact that Washington has the top offense in the NHL is surprising considering how much their depth forwards have struggled to produce. Prior to Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Caps had gotten only two goals from the bottom six and both had come in the season-opener. After seeing his team go down 4-1 against Florida, head coach Todd Reirden shuffled up the lines and it seemed to create a spark for the offense.

Reirden indicated Sunday he will stick with those lines and he kept them together for Monday’s morning skate:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Andre Burakovsky

Vrana, Connolly and Smith-Pelly all scored after the change. Per the Caps’ PR team, the third line of Vrana, Eller and Connolly produced two goals, eight shot attempts and allowed just three shot attempts in over six minutes of five-on-five play.

Special teams

In addition to having the top offense in the NHL, the Caps also boast the top power play. With the extra man, the Caps are producing on 38.5-percent of their opportunities. That is most likely not a sustainable number, but it does show the power play is as good as ever.

The Canucks come into this game ranked eighth on the penalty kill at 83.9-percent and they will be the latest team to try and slow down a power play that is really starting to click with John Carlson seemingly developing into one of the top blue liners in the NHL.

Remember me?

Vancouver’s star rookie Elias Pettersson is still in concussion protocol and will not play in Monday’s game, but there is another talented youngster who will the Caps will need to watch out for in Brock Boeser.

Boeser was in a dead heat with New York Islanders forward Matt Barzal for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season before an injury forced him to miss the last month of the season.

In two career games against Washington, Boeser has recorded three assists. He has had a bit of a slower start to the season with five points thus far, but he is a dynamic talent who the Caps’ defense will have to account for.

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