Pablo Sandoval shut down again after playing catch

Pablo Sandoval shut down again after playing catch

More bad news regarding Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval via Andrew Baggarly: Pablo Sandoval tried to play catch on Saturday but even light duty proved too much, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Sandoval’s elbow remained sore, so the Giants shut him down and will reevaluate him on Sunday. “We had to back off a little,”…

Five stats to understand Capitals' Game 3 loss to Penguins

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Five stats to understand Capitals' Game 3 loss to Penguins

BY RICH GOLDBERG (@GoldyStats)

Five stats to know following the Capitals' Game 3 loss to the Penguins:

One’s best shot: The Capitals' 49 shots on goal are the 2nd most in a playoff regulation loss in team history. Back in 2010, Washington had 54 shots against Montreal. The 49 shots are the most in any Capitals playoff game since 2011 against the Rangers.

Parting shot: The Capitals outshot the Penguins by 26 (49-23) which tied for their 4th highest shot differential in playoff team history. Five times the Capitals have had a shot differential of +26 or better but Washington’s 1-4 in those games.

Slow start, strong finish: The Capitals have outscored their opponents 11-3 in the third period this postseason. But similar to the regular season, the start of games hasn’t been pretty. Washington’s managed 3 goals in the opening period of these 2016 playoffs. The Capitals scored 0 goals in the first period of Game 3, and trailed the Penguins 2-0 after the first 20 minutes.

Equal treatment?: The NHL suspended Brooks Orpik for 3 games for interference against Olli Maatta. Will the NHL do the same for Kris Letang’s hit against Marcus Johansson? The Penguins are 2-8-1 this season without Kris Letang in the lineup.

No better place: If numbers told the whole story, the Capitals may have the Penguins right where they want them. Washington has a 6-11 series record when leading 2 games to 1 in a best-of-7 series. But when trailing 2 to 1 in a best-of-7, the Capitals are 6-7 with a 3-1 series record since 2009.

Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

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Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

It was no surprise the Ravens did not pick up the fifth-year option on safety Matt Elam by Monday’s deadline. The bigger question is whether Elam even makes the team next season.

The 32nd pick in the 2013 draft, Elam has been one of the biggest first-round busts in team history. Some of the standout players who went after Elam in that draft include Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (44th), Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (48th), and Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (52nd).

Elam missed all of last season with a torn biceps, after underperforming in 2013 and 2014. Elam was a big hitter in college at Florida, but has struggled with missed tackles as a Raven, and has been even worse in pass coverage. With the Ravens acquiring safety Eric Weddle in free agency, and Lardarius Webb switching from cornerback to safety, Elam is expected to be a backup at best. He will compete with Terrence Brooks, Kendrick Lewis, and others for a backup role.

Elam is scheduled to make $1.327 million next season, before becoming a free agent in 2017.  However, Elam’s first priority is to secure his place with the Ravens in 2016.  

Capitals weigh in on Letang's hit on Johansson

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Capitals weigh in on Letang's hit on Johansson

The question the NHL Department of Player Safety will need to answer on Tuesday is not whether Penguins defenseman Kris Letang should be suspended for his open-ice check to the head of Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson, but for how long.

The Capitals have a number in mind and it’s the same number of games defenseman Brooks Orpik is being forced to sit out for his headshot on Pens defenseman Olli Maatta – three games.

“Yeah, I’d say so,” Johansson said after the Caps’ 3-2 loss in Game 3 left them trailing the series two games to one. 

“I hope the league is gonna respond,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We’ll see.

“If it’s fair maybe he gets three games or something. I don’t know. It’s not my call. It’s not our call. Our job is to think about next game.”

RELATED: Caps flurry falls short in 3-2 Game 3 loss

Letang’s hit on Johansson came with 4:19 remaining in the first period. Johansson streaked across the blue line and dished the puck less than a second before Letang drove his shoulder into Johansson’s head.    

“I didn’t see him coming,” Johansson said. “He came from the blind side. I just looked at (a replay). He obviously leaves his feet and hits me in the head. I mean, it’s the kind of play you want out of the league. It doesn’t look good.”

Said Letang: “I saw him coming full speed. I tried to step up in the middle. It was just a step-up to hit him, no intention (to injure). Things happen fast in the game. It was a fast play.”

Johansson was slow to get to his feet and retreated to the dressing room for concussion testing. He returned to play the final two periods and finished with 18:20 of ice time. 

“I’m having some issues with my neck right now,” he said. “I got hit in the head and got a little whiplash, I think.”

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 21 of 23 shots in the loss, had this to say about what may lie ahead for Letang, who leads the Penguins and ranks sixth in the NHL with an average ice time of 29:13 a game.  

“Hopefully, they treat everyone the same,” Holtby said. “That’s all I can say.” 

Capitals coach Barry Trotz, who earlier in the day wondered if Orpik’s suspension would be as long if the Caps were facing another opponent, said he will let the Depaertment of Player Safety handle any supplementary discipline.   

“Where he hits him, he’s vulnerable,” Trotz said. “Let the league handle it. I just get myself in trouble if I say anything more.  I don’t know if there’s a standard. I think they’re looking for protocols and certain situations. They set a little bit of a standard (with Orpik), so we’ll see.”

MORE CAPITALS: Johansson walks through 'blindside' Game 3 hit from Letang