Zim back in lineup as Nats face Hamels

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Zim back in lineup as Nats face Hamels

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels faces the Nationals tonight. The last time Cole Hamels faced the Nationals ... well, you know what happened. Will there be any carryover tonight? The hunch here is that there won't be. Hamels clearly realizes he woke up a sleeping giant with his intentional plunking of Bryce Harper. And the Nats seem to realize they're much better off exacting their revenge on the scoreboard.

So they'll be going for their 10th win in their last 11 games against the Phillies, their seventh straight at Citizens Bank Park and their first three-game sweep of the season. They've actually had eight previous opportunities this season to finish off a sweep of a two-, three- or four-game series and have failed to do it each time. This will be opportunity No. 9.

The good news is the Nationals will have Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup and at third base after he was held out by Davey Johnson last night with a recurrence of soreness in his right shoulder. In a bit of a surprise, Johnson isn't stacking his lineup with right-handed hitters against Hamels, though he tried a similar thing last time, citing the effectiveness of Hamels' changeup against righties.

A friendly reminder that tonight's game will be on ESPN2 ... but you can only watch that broadcast if you live outside the MASN viewing area. Live updates and analysis to come, so please check the Nats Insider live game thread...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, ESPN2 (outside D.C. area) MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Scattered storms, 74 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (26-17)
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
LF Xavier Nady
C Jesus Flores
RHP Edwin Jackson

PHILLIES (21-23)
LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Hunter Pence
C Carlos Ruiz
CF Shane Victorino
1B Ty Wigginton
SS Freddy Galvis
2B Mike Fontenot
LHP Cole Hamels

UMPIRES
HP Lance Barksdale, 1B Fieldin Culbreth, 2B Adrian Johnson, 3B Gary Cederstrom

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Capitals snap curse of the Dallas Stars with overtime thriller

Capitals snap curse of the Dallas Stars with overtime thriller

It took a two-goal comeback and overtime, but the Caps walk away the 4-3 winners over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

How it happened: Andre Burakovsky and Adam Cracknell traded goals in the first period, but things seemed to get away from the Caps in the second. Patrik Nemeth backhanded an innocent looking shot on net, but Phillip Grubauer fumbled it leaving a juicy rebound at the top of the crease which Patrick Eaves roofed. Jamie Benn then put the Stars up by two with a controversial goal that was reviewed for goalie interference. Washington responded in the third period, however, as both Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie struck on the power play to force overtime. Jay Beagle finished the game off just 19 seconds into overtime with his 10th goal of the season.

What it means: The win was Washington’s first over Dallas since 2008, snapping a nine-game losing streak to Dallas. The Caps have now won 11 in their past 12 games. Washington also maitained their two-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets after Columbus' win over Carolina earlier Saturday.

Starting strong: It should come as no surprise that Burakovsky got the scoring started on Saturday since he’s made a habit of that lately. Since getting scratched three games for his lack of production, Burakovsky has scored seven goals. Five of those were the first goal of the game. Burakovsky now has scored the first goal in four straight games and the Caps have scored first in 10 straight.

First period fisticuffs: Things got chippy in the first period as Tom Wilson dropped the gloves with Brett Ritchie and just three seconds later, Daniel Winnik was locked in a fight with Dallas agitator Antoine Roussell.

Goal or no goal?: Dallas' third goal came in controversial fashion. As Grubauer shifted to his right, his left skate was clipped by the skate of Benn that appeared to briefly knock Grubauer off balance. Grubauer recovered to make a save on an Eaves deflection, but the puck bounced to Benn for the easy tap in. The goal was waved off immediately, but after a review, the goal was awarded to Dallas. The issue is whether Grubauer had enough time to reset after the initial contact from Benn. At least, that's what we thought the issue was. The NHL's explanation of the review stated, "After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line."

Clutch save: Locked in a tie game in the third period, Tyler Seguin had what looked like an easy goal, but Grubauer got over just in time for the incredible blocker save. Watch it here.

The curse continues: Despite the win, Washington still has not won in regulation in Dallas since Oct. 17, 1995. They will have to wait until next season to get another shot.

Look ahead: Washington returns home for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday before heading out on another road trip starting Tuesday. On that trip, the Caps will visit the Ottawa Senators and  New Jersey Devils before breaking for the All-Star break.

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PHOTO: Stars' videoboard trolls Trump over crowd size controversy during Caps game

PHOTO: Stars' videoboard trolls Trump over crowd size controversy during Caps game

The ongoing war of words between the media and President Donald Trump over the attendance at Friday's inauguration in Washington, D.C. has been fodder for those on social media Saturday. 

Apparently, the person who runs the videoboard in Dallas took notice and took an opportunity to crack a joke during the third period of Stars-Capitals. 

The board claims an attendance of 1.5 million people at Saturday night's game, the same number of people Trump claimed attended his inauguration during a speech at the headquarters of the CIA earlier in the day Saturday. 

Estimates of actual attendance have been much lower -- both in Dallas and D.C.

MORE CAPITALS: BEAGLE SCORES GAME-WINNER IN OVERTIME