Washington Capitals

The last time that the Cardinals were 3-0 was...

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The last time that the Cardinals were 3-0 was...

From Comcast SportsNetGLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Kevin Kolb tried to downplay the significance of beating his former team, focusing more on the success of his current team.In the huddle, the Cardinals quarterback couldn't hide his desire to knock off Philadelphia. He wanted this one bad.Kolb orchestrated Arizona's offense to near perfection while building a big first-half lead and the defense hounded Michael Vick all day, sacking him five times to help the Cardinals run over the Eagles 27-6 on Sunday for their best start in 38 years."He was calling for guys to reach down and dig deep, that we really needed to make a play," Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "He really doesn't talk that much in the huddle, but today I could tell that he was extra motivated."Kolb was sharp in his first start against his former team, throwing for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17-of-24 passing. He led the Cardinals to a 24-0 halftime lead, in part, by reconnecting with Larry Fitzgerald, who had one catch against New England last week.The guest conductor for the Phoenix Symphony on Thursday, Fitzgerald kept the high notes going by catching nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown while becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 receptions.Adding to Kolb's satisfaction was the way Arizona's defense played against the man who pushed him out of Philly.Harassing Vick from the opening snap, the Cardinals hit him hard and often, forcing him into two fumbles, including one that James Sanders returned 93 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half.Backing up a big road win against the Patriots with a dominating victory over the Eagles, the Cardinals (3-0) are off to their best start since 1974, more than a dozen years before the team moved to the desert. They've also won seven straight home games, the second-longest streak in franchise history, and have won 10 of 12 dating to the end of last season."I'm going to enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but the biggest thing is being 3-0," Kolb said. "Being 3-0 with the teams that we've played and the fashion that we've won, it's been exciting."The Eagles' season had been, too -- until they ran into Kolb and his Cardinals.Philadelphia (2-1) became the first NFL team to open a season with two one-point wins. The Eagles didn't give themselves a chance to rally for another victory.The NFL's best offense the first two games, the Eagles had three turnovers, running their season total to 12, and labored all day against the scrappy Cardinals, unable to keep them off Vick."They played better than we did, clearly better," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "They coached better, they played better and that is my responsibility. I didn't have my football team ready to play and they did."After three years of waiting behind Donovan McNabb, Kolb was pushed aside when Vick made his triumphant return to the NFL.Even after being traded to Arizona and landing a huge contract extension, Kolb still had to fight for recognition.He lost a tight preseason battle with Skelton, but came off the bench in the opener against Seattle when Skelton sprained his right ankle. Kolb took the Cardinals on the winning drive and was steady enough last week to lead them to one of their biggest road victories in recent years, 20-18 over the Patriots.Skelton returned to practice late this week, but was limited and couldn't go Sunday.Kolb made the most of his opportunity. He completed all three of his throws on Arizona's opening drive to set up Jay Feely's 16th straight field goal, from 47 yards.After the Cardinals recovered a fumble by Eagles punt returner Damaris Johnson, Kolb threw an 8-yard TD pass to Michael Floyd, who made his first NFL catch a memorable one by juggling the ball through two Philadelphia defenders.Kolb kept clicking in the second quarter, throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald that put the Cardinals up 17-0. He also helped Fitzgerald reach a big milestone in the quarter, hitting him on a 4-yard pass to reach 700 receptions in 29 years and 23 days and eclipse Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who became the youngest last week at 30 years and 133 days.Arizona's offense bogged down in the second half -- 28 yards in the third quarter -- but ground the game away with a time-consuming, 13-play drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Feely for a 27-6 lead.Vick finished with 217 yards on 17-of-37 passing after entering the game second in the NFL with 688 yards."I wish I had all the answers right now," Vick said. "The only thing I can tell you is we didn't play our best, Nowhere near what we have potential to do."NOTES:Arizona has at least two sacks in nine straight games, the longest current streak in the NFL. ... Philadelphia played without receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip) and left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring). ... LaSean McCoy was Philadelphia's leading rusher with 70 yards on 13 carries. ... Arizona also won seven straight home games from 2007-08 and set the franchise record with nine straight in 1925.

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Did Barry Trotz show us what his fourth line will be to start the season?

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USA TODAY Sports

Did Barry Trotz show us what his fourth line will be to start the season?

Barry Trotz likes to play his cards close to the vest. With roster battles and lineup holes surrounding the team, there are plenty of questions for the Caps that need answering this preseason. If you look at how Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes ended, however, he may have given us at least one answer.

At the start of the game, Jay Beagle centered a line with Devante Smith-Pelly and Wayne Simpson on his wings. By the end of the game, Nathan Walker was playing on the left with Beagle at center and Smith-Pelly on the right.

"Walker was giving us some energy, he was giving us some speed and I just made that flip," Trotz told reporters after the game. "I just thought Walks was starting to make things happen. His speed was noticeable, his will on the puck if you will was really good. I thought that'd be a good fit. I just moved him over there and I thought he had an effect on the game."

Could that have been a preview of the team's fourth line?

RELATED: CHIASSON, WALKER MAKE THEIR CASE TO MAKE THE TEAM

Walker turned in another tremendous performance showing great energy, speed and grit. Despite being 5-foot-8, he still remains a feisty player who could be found at the center of every scrum. He exchanged hits and jabs with the 6-foot-3 Klas Dahlbeck multiple times throughout the game and even drew a penalty on the Carolina defenseman as he drove the net after managing to slip away from a hit along the boards.

"He's one of those hard guys to play against because ... they're on you all the time," Trotz said. "When you can affect the opposition and take them out of their game because the way you play, then you're pretty effective."

That brings us back to the lines. The Caps have not one, but two openings on the fourth line to play alongside Beagle. The fact that Trotz put Walker and Smith-Pelly on that line, two players fighting for a spot in the lineup, could be a preview of what the fourth line may ultimately look like to start the season.

That would be just fine with Beagle.

"It's fun to play with a guy who brings that much energy," Beagle said of Walker. "He's always had that energy and he's always been a little guy who grinds it out and isn't afraid to get in there and get in the corners and wins a lot of battles. He's awesome to play with. He's a lot of fun."

At this point, given how he has played in his two preseason games, it is hard to see how Walker does not make the roster. His energy and style are a perfect fit for what the Caps need on their fourth line. He would be an excellent compliment to Beagle and that has not escaped Trotz's notice.

"I think they might enjoy playing together, but they're effective together," Trotz said. "They get on the puck, they work you over and they tire you out. I'll tell you that."

With other players such as Alex Chiasson, Riley Barber and Anthony Peluso still vying to make the team, it is still too early to tell if this is definitively what the fourth line will look like, but the trio certainly made their case.

MORE CAPITALS: TOM WILSON SUSPENDED 2 PRESEASON GAMES

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Thumbs up, thumbs down: Chiasson, Walker make their case for the roster

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USA TODAY Sports

Thumbs up, thumbs down: Chiasson, Walker make their case for the roster

The Caps dropped another preseason game on home ice as they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Here is who stood out for Washington.

Thumbs up

Alex Chiasson: Chiasson, who is playing this preseason on a PTO, was in good shape before this game, but he may sealed the deal on getting a contract with his first period goal. While it did come on the power play and he is not likely to see much time with the extra man this season, the fact that he was playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first place should tell you something. With another solid performance on Saturday, it looks like Chiasson will be in Washington for the long haul.

Nathan Walker: This kid is not afraid of anything. Not only will he fight for the puck in all the dirty areas, he is not afraid to mix things up with anyone. In the second period, he caught got in a scrum exchanging jabs with defenseman Klas Dahlbeck. Dahlbeck is 6-foot-3. Walker is 5-foot-8. Later in the period, Dahlbeck rid him into the boards, but Walker would not give up on the play and eventually broke free, drawing a penalty from Dahlbeck as he fought for room in front of the net. He looked like everything a team would want in a fourth line, energy player and I cannot see at this point how he does not make the Caps roster.

Jakub Vrana: Good speed, good eyes and he added an assist on Chiasson's goal. Vrana has clearly established himself as the best player not already on the Caps' roster. Whatever questions there may be surrounding Vrana, there should be none about his talent on the ice. He's got it.

Thumbs down

Riley Barber: Like Chiasson and Walker, Barber was also competing for a spot on the roster, only no one seemingly told him that because he was invisible. Actually, scratch that, he did get called for a slash early in the first period. Let's not overstate it, it was not as if Barber was horrible, but when his teammates were making their case to make the team, Barber was nowhere to be found. With another round of cuts looming, it would not be surprising to see him headed to Hershey very soon.