Here is a recap of the NHL awards

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Here is a recap of the NHL awards

From Comcast SportsNet
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Geno and the Swedes were hockey's biggest winners in Vegas. Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin won the Hart Trophy on Wednesday night, becoming the NHL's most valuable player for the first time. Three Swedish players also claimed major trophies at the annual NHL Awards postseason ceremony, but the Penguins' Russian superstar claimed three awards for himself. Malkin won the Hart for the first time at the Wynn Las Vegas casino, beating out Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Tampa Bay scorer Steven Stamkos. Malkin also collected the Art Ross Trophy as the league scoring champion and the Ted Lindsay Award from his fellow NHLPA members as the NHL's best player. "It's the best day of my life," said Malkin, known to teammates and fans as Geno. "It's very exciting." Malkin gathered the Hart, Ross and Lindsay awards next to him after the ceremony, only occasionally struggling in his ever-improving English to express his excitement. Malkin's 109-point season and steady leadership were even more impressive because he largely did it without teammate Sidney Crosby, who played just 22 games after his comeback from a concussion. "I can't believe I'm sitting here, and around me there are three trophies," Malkin said. "It's an unbelievable day for me." Malkin, who turns 26 next month, edged out Stamkos and Lundqvist, who still won the Vezina Trophy for the first time. Lundqvist's win in his fourth Vezina nomination topped the impressive list of Swedish winners. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman, and Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson also won the King Clancy Trophy for humanitarian contributions to hockey. "For sure, it's a great year for Sweden," Lundqvist said. St. Louis also had a pretty good day in Vegas: Ken Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top coach for the first time in his lengthy career, while Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was selected he league's top executive. Blues goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott also picked up their Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the regular season. Boston forward Patrice Bergeron won his first Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward. Florida's Brian Campbell became the first defenseman since 1954 to win the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play, and Montreal forward Max Pacioretty won the Masterton Trophy for his comeback from serious injury. But the spotlight was on Malkin, who won his first MVP award after arguably the most impressive season of his six-year career in Pittsburgh. Malkin had a career-high 50 goals and 59 assists while carrying the Penguins during the extended injury absence of 2007 Hart winner Crosby. Malkin was the NHL's only 100-point scorer this season and the first scoring champion in a decade to win a second title despite being almost every opponent's top defensive target whenever they faced the Penguins. Malkin also grew into a more prominent role outside of Crosby's shadow. "Every year I'm a little bit more comfortable," he said. "I learn English, watch TV, go out with friends and teammates. I love this sport. I like my teammates, and I want to be the best." Malkin scored eight points in the Penguins' six-game loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. The four-time NHL All-Star then was named the MVP of the IIHF World Championships last month after leading the undefeated Russian team to the title. Malkin was a Hart finalist for the third time. He won the vote over Stamkos, who already had wrapped up the Richard Trophy with an NHL-best 60 goals. Lundqvist didn't seem disappointed about losing out on the Hart after the Rangers' tireless goalie finally claimed the Vezina. He went 39-18-5 with eight shutouts, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage while repeatedly keeping New York on track to the Eastern Conference's best record. Lundqvist beat out Nashville's Pekka Rinne and Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick, who got two better prizes last week when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's playoff MVP for backstopping the Kings to their first championship. Karlsson appeared overwhelmed by his selection as the NHL's best defenseman. The 22-year-old had a big week, agreeing to a seven-year contract extension worth 45.5 million on Tuesday before beating out Boston's Zdeno Chara and Nashville's Shea Weber for his first Norris. "It's a huge honor," said Karlsson, who led all defensemen with 78 points in his breakout season for the Senators. "I couldn't be more happy than I am right now. I've never been a part of something this big, and it's something that took me by surprise a little bit." Karlsson also recognized the symbolism of winning the Norris in the same offseason as the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom, his fellow Swede and a seven-time Norris winner, including last season. Lidstrom retired from the Detroit Red Wings on May 31 after a 20-year career. "He really took the game to another level and showed people how to play fun hockey," Karlsson said. "It's an honor to be mentioned in the same way." Landeskog, who beat out Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and New Jersey playoff hero Adam Henrique for the Calder, had 22 goals and 30 assists for the Avalanche, who chose him with the second overall pick in last summer. The former Ontario Hockey League forward had little trouble adjusting to the NHL grind, playing in all 82 games for Colorado. "To me, Ryan would have won it if he didn't get hurt, and if you counted the playoffs, Adam would have won it," Landeskog said. "I'm just trying to enjoy it, trying to soak it all in." Bergeron beat out St. Louis captain David Backes and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time Selke winner. Boston's defensive stopper had 22 goals and 42 assists for the Bruins while racking up a plus-36 rating as a dominant two-way player. "Ever since I was probably 12 years old, I never wanted to get scored on when I was on the ice," said Bergeron, a Stanley Cup champion in 2011. Pacioretty broke a vertebra in his back and incurred a concussion on a hit from Chara on March 8, 2011, knocking him out for the season. He returned to the Canadiens last fall and had 33 goals and 32 assists for his most productive pro season. The 60-year-old Hitchcock was recognized for his remarkable turnaround job in St. Louis, where he took over for Davis Payne 13 games into the season and turned the Blues into the Western Conference's No. 2 team, winning the Central Division and reaching the second round of the playoffs. Hitchcock has a Stanley Cup ring from Dallas in 1999, but hadn't won the Adams Trophy in three previous nominations. "I'll keep doing this for as long as I feel like I have the energy," Hitchcock said. "This year was just great."

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Braden Holtby leads Caps to shootout win in goalie duel with Columbus

Braden Holtby leads Caps to shootout win in goalie duel with Columbus

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 1 (SO)

How it happened: Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky held both teams scoreless through two periods, but Seth Jones put the Jackets on the board just 41 seconds into the third period. Dmitry Orlov responded just six minutes later, however, with a huge slap shot to tie the game at one. That forced the game to overtime. After no winner through five minutes, the game went to a shootout where T.J. Oshie scored on Washington's first attempt and Holtby turned aside all three shots he faced for the win.

What it means: With the win, the Caps maintain first place in the Metropolitan Division. They now lead the Columbus Blue Jackets by three points. The win also ties a franchise record for most home wins in a season (30). The Caps improved to 2-5 in shootouts on the season. This was their first home shootout win of the season.

Goals

Blue Jackets goal: Seth Jones from Brandon Dubinsky at 0:41 in the 3rd period. A Dubinsky shot from in close hit off the post and out to the top of the face off circle. Jones stepped up and fired it into the net past Holtby, who had not yet recovered from the initial shot off the post. Caps 0, Blue Jackets 1

Caps goal: Dmitry Orlov from Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams at 6:39 in the 3rd. Johansson held the puck behind the red line in the offensive zone, but saw Olrov open at the blue line. He found him with the pass and Orlov unleashed the monster slap shot to beat Bobrovsky. Caps 1, Blue Jackets 1

3 stars

1. Sergei Bobrovsky: The Caps really poured it on Bobrovsky in this one with 45 shots on goal, but he turned aside 44 of them in a brilliant effort. 

2. Braden Holtby:  Columbus didn't manage as many shots on net as the Caps did, but that shouldn't take away from the performance Holtby had. Per usual, he was strong in net, especially in overtime, matching Bobrovsky as the two teams battled into a goalie duel.

3. Dmitry Orlov: It seems fitting that Orlov would score the game-tying goal on Russian Heritage night for his first goal since March 4.

Look ahead: Washington wraps up its three-game home stand on Saturday against Arizona. They then hit the road for a five-game road trip that will see them go to Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, Columbus and Toronto.

Tell us what you think: The Caps won, but the Blue Jackets and Penguins remain hot on the Caps' heels. Given Thursday's results, who would you say is in the driver's seat to win the Metro?

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Film study: Most common mistakes Wizards continue to make

Film study: Most common mistakes Wizards continue to make

The 104-100 win against Atlanta Hawks, who led the Wizards by as many as 14 points on Wednesday, was full of missed opportunities that were common in losses to the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks.

In this one game alone, the Wizards made these mistakes multiple times and it's where they have to clean up if they want a winning record on a five-game road trip that begins Saturday at the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Help rotations

They're completely busted more often than not, and in this one Otto Porter gets beaten as he recovers to the ball. Taurean Prince gets an unobstructed view at the rim and it's on Marcin Gortat to leave Dwight Howard to stop him. Instead he stays with Howard. The only chance the Wizards have at stopping this layup is for Gortat to help. If he blocks it, the ball either goes out of bounds and the Hawks have to reset and earn two points the harder way. Or maybe the ball stays inbounds and the Wizards collect it. Regardless of what happens, just allowing this straight-line drive can't be allowed. If Howard gets it and puts it back, so be it. At least that requires another effort by Atlanta to score. Howard can mishandle the rebound, miss the dunk or get fouled and be forced to make the foul shots. 

First-side shots

Too many possesions begin and end like this. The ball doesn't move and the ballhandler, in this case John Wall, takes the shot after dribbling out the shot clock. When the Wizards were playing their best going 18-3 into the All-Star break, these plays were non-existent. They're better when they run motion, rip screen and down screen for each other and go away from the pick-and-roll as the first option. This puts the defense on the move, into switches and recovery. Then the Wizards would hit them with the pick-and-roll while in scramble mode of the intial action didn't produce a good look. Going to it as option one, unless there's a major mismatch that can be exploited, isn't as productive. 

[RELATED: Wizards' Brooks has little sympathy in NBA rest debate]

Open-court execution

How many times have you seen the Wizards deny a possession, force a bad shot or get the steal like Bradley Beal here, get in the open court for a 3-on-1 and end up with this? The passing, spacing and finishing just aren't there. They ended up getting fouled but this should be an easy momentum-building play. 

Running crisp sets

John Wall attacks the basket but really doesn't have a seam. He ends up too far under the basket and has to loft up a prayer. His teammates didn't run this set with much zest. They don't make themselves available on spot-ups either so there are no other options. Wall is playing at one speed. They're all one speed slower.

Clumsy outlets/inbounding

Getting these stolen have become a bad habit. Defenders are trying to slow down the ball so they're staying at home on Wall to prevent him from getting a full sprint. Throwing quick outlet passes after a miss or trying to get a quick inbound to push the pace is what the Wizards are supposed to do. But the inbounder has to survey the floor before first and the guard receiving the ball has to communicate with him, too, if he spots a spy trying to jump the ball.

Late/confused switching

They have to be more aggressive by not allowing too much space when swapping players they must defend, particularly on handoffs. Switching is what must be done because handoffs are effectively screens if executed properly. To stop the ballhandler from going downhill at full speed, a switch has to occur. Any hesitation or delay creates a path to the rim or puts you in a position where you end up fouling. Markieff Morris, who has been limited by a sinus infection recently and mutliple bouts of early foul trouble, has gotten sent to the bench early because of it. 

[RELATED: Beal thinks Wizards got their swag back vs. Hawks]