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Two quick goals in the third give Islanders the win over Caps

Two quick goals in the third give Islanders the win over Caps

The Islanders always give the Caps trouble and that continued on Tuesday with a 4-3 loss in Brooklyn.​

How it happened: Cal Clutterbuck opened the scoring on a nice play by Nikolay Kulemin. Kulemin started the rush after Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over on an ill-advised drop pass. Kulemin’s initial shot hit the post, but Clutterbuck knocked in the rebound. The Capitals evened things up later in the first period. After multiple scoring, Justin Williams finally got one past Jaroslav Halak as he knocked in a rebound off of an Alex Ovechkin shot. The Islanders retook the lead in the second period thanks to Andrew Ladd. New York cycled the puck in the left corner drawing the Caps defense leaving Ladd wide open on the doorstep. A great pass from Thomas Hickey found Ladd for the goal. Ovechkin tied the game again for the Caps in the start of the third period, knocking home the rebound from a Williams shot.

The tie did not last long. Just 3:24 later, Alan Quine faked a shot and fed Ladd for the tip in past Holtby to give the Islanders back the lead. Anders Lee extended the lead 43 seconds later as he stole the puck from Matt Niskanen and scored on the breakaway. The Caps pulled one back as Andre Burakovsky scored off a double deflection that left Halak helpless, but that would be as close as Washington came.

What it means: The Caps have now lost three of their last four games. Against the last place team in the Metropolitan Division, Washington is now 2-2-0 on the season. The loss drops their record within the division to 4-5-3.

Turning point: The Caps had control of the game until the second period when three straight penalties took the team out of sync and gave the Islanders control. New York didn't score on those opportunities, but it clearly tilted the ice in their favor. The real turning point, however, came in the third period when the Caps coughed up two quick goals, the second of which proved to be the game-winner. Just when Ovechkin had tied the game, Ladd and Lee scored in a period of 43 seconds to put the Islanders up by 2.

Down goes Wilson: The Caps were upset after the Islanders' third goal after the refs did not whistle the play dead with Tom Wilson down in the corner. Wilson blocked a shot from Johnny Boychuk who then finished Wilson off with a shove to the ice. Wilson was down for several seconds, but the play resumed. Wilson eventually got to his feet and tried to hobble back into the play, but the play ended with Ladd's second goal of the game.

What slump? Remember when we were wondering what Williams had to do to get a goal? The veteran forward managed only 2 goals in his first 24 games of the season. Since then, however, he has been absolutely on fire with six goals in his last nine games. Williams made his home right in the face of Islanders’ netminder Jaroslav Halak and it resulted in the first period goal. He also assisted on Ovechkin's third period goal.

Eight more to go: With two points on the night, Ovechkin now sits just eight points away from point No. 1000. The Great 8 is already the all-time franchise leader in points.

Look ahead: The Capitals will close out 2016 with a home-and-home with the New Jersey Devils. The Caps will host the Devils on Thursday and then head to New Jersey for a New Year’s Eve rematch.

LATEST POWER RANKINGS: Make or break time for the Caps

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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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