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3 bold predictions: Jay Beagle owns the Central Division

3 bold predictions: Jay Beagle owns the Central Division

Jay Beagle has been an offensive powerhouse against teams from the Central Division this year. Will that continue Thursday against Nashville (7 p.m., CSN)? Here are three bold predictions for the game.

1. Jay Beagle will score

Eight of Beagle's 12 goals this season have come against Central Division teams. Against everyone else? He has only four goals.

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2. The Capitals will give up at least four power plays

If Washington gave up four power plays, that would actually be an improvement from what they have done lately. The Caps have given up five or more power plays in four straight games. What's more is that Nashville is pretty good at drawing penalties as they rank 6th in the NHL in road power play opportunities.

3. Alex Ovechkin will get at least two points

Ovechkin's Rocket Richard days are probably behind him, but his scoring days are not. He finally broke his goalless drought and he's a player that tends to produce in bunches. He has points in two straight games and he'll make it three tonight with a big performance after finding the back of the net on Tuesday.

MORE CAPITALS: Check out the latest addition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

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Capitals beat Coyotes handily on the way to franchise record for home wins

Capitals beat Coyotes handily on the way to franchise record for home wins

Final score: Washington Capitals 4, Arizona Coyotes 1

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin scored a power play tally in the first period and it looked like the Caps would breeze through Arizona. The Coyotes had other ideas. Mike Smith kept things close through two periods and Peter Holland tied the game at 1 in the third period. Then the Caps responded with two quick goals from Daniel Winnik and Justin Williams to take back control. Winnik added the exclamation-point empty netter for the win.

What it means: The win is Washington’s 31st at home for the season which sets a new franchise record. The Caps have now won four straight games and hold a three-point lead over Columbus and Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Goals

Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson at 8:31 in the first period.  With T.J. Oshie, Johansson and Backstrom passing the puck on the far wall, they drew all four penalty killers to their side of the ice leaving Ovechkin wide open from the office. Backstrom fed him with the pass and Ovechkin wristed it home. Caps 1, Coyotes 0

Coyotes goal: Peter Holland from Anthony Duclair at 12:29 in the 3rd period. Duclair showed his jets by pouncing on a loose puck in the neutral zone and leaving everyone in his dust. Holtby made the initial breakaway save, but the trailing Holland was able to score on the rebound. Caps 1, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Daniel Winnik from Kevin Shattenkirk and Dmitry Orlov at 15:21 in the 3rd period. Orlov started the rush out of the defensive zone and found Winnik streaking down the right side with the pass. Winnik did the rest, taking the puck on net and wristing one past Smith. Caps 2, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Justin Williams from Kevin Shattenkirk at 15:53 in the 3rd period. Williams fired an innocent-looking shot from the right faceoff circle that somehow beat Smith top shelf. Caps 3, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Daniel Winnik (empty net) from Jay Beagle and Brooks Orpik at 18:21 in the 3rd period. Caps 4, Coyotes 1

3 stars

1. Mike Smith: While the Coyotes were getting buried in shots, they weren’t getting buried in the scoreboard because of the phenomenal effort of Smith in net. He stopped 26 shots in the first two periods including a 2-on-0 opportunity for Washington in the second period to keep Arizona in the game.

2. Daniel Winnik: Winnik to the rescue! Just when the Coyotes tied the game, Winnik responded less than four minutes later to give the Caps back the lead. He then added the empty-netter with a great effort play to beat defenseman Jamie McGinn who was all over him.

3. Alex Ovechkin: If you give Ovechkin that much room on the power play, he's going to make you pay and he did with his 30th goal of the season. Ovechkin is now one of just three players to score 30 or more goals in his first 12 seasons.

Look ahead: The Capitals hit the road for a five-game road trip starting on Tuesday in Minnesota. The trip will also bring them to Colorado, Arizona, Columbus and Toronto.

Tell us what you think: The Caps could not take control of this game until Arizona tied the game at one in the third period. On Thursday, they responded only after Columbus took the 1-0 lead in the third. What is your takeaway from the Caps' clutch play in the third period of late?

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin hits 30-goal mark for 12th straight season

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Golden retriever plays fetch on ice at Verizon Center

Golden retriever plays fetch on ice at Verizon Center

By Michaela Johnson

Before the Capitals took on the Coyotes Saturday night at the Verizon Center, a very good dog played ice fetch with a Washington, D.C. police officer. You can watch the whole video at the top of this page.

This dog's ability to run across the ice, fetch a puck, and return it is very impressive, especially considering he's not even wearing skates. He did collide with the boards at one point, but so do the best NHL players on a regular basis. 

RELATED: CAPITALS BEAT COYOTES HANDILY ON THE WAY TO FRANCHISE RECORD FOR HOME WINS

Although icing is clearly involved in a couple of these plays, it doesn't look like anyone is going to call him on it. This dog is so talented with just a puck, he'd probably be phenomenal given a stick and a jersey.

The Caps' win against Arizona was fun to watch, but three hours of this dog sliding around the Verizon Center ice would arguably be just as entertaining.

More Capitals: IN A TIGHT DIVISION RACE, BARRY TROTZ DECLARES LAST 9 GAMES 'ALL MUST-WINS' FOR CAPS