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Alex Ovechkin excited to join club of 'legendary' Russian forwards

Alex Ovechkin excited to join club of 'legendary' Russian forwards

Alex Ovechkin doesn’t need any extra incentive when facing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rival Penguins.

But he’ll have some on Wednesday night when the Capitals face the Penguins, anyway.

With one more point, Ovechkin will join the 1,000 point club. He’ll also become just the fourth Russian player to achieve the feat, joining Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and Alexei Kovalev.

“It’s small but it’s [a] very legendary club,” Ovechkin said after the morning skate. “I get lucky to play with Fedorov for a couple years [in Washington] and I know him as a person. It’ll be nice to be with him, in the same company.”


Ovechkin added that he feels fortunate to get the opportunity to add a comma to his career point total at Verizon Center, the building where his NHL journey began 12 years ago.

“It’s a real big number,” he said. “Obviously it’s nice to get [the chance] at home, in front of fans, my family. It’s going to be a big moment.”

Ovechkin also gave a nod to his friends and family in Russia—even the ones who typically root for Malkin and the Penguins.

“All my friends texted me and said they are going to watch the game back at home,” Ovechkin said.

“I have friends who are cheering for Penguins and they [are] going to be cheering for me right now. It’s going to be a great day for fans and for us. It’s going to be a fun night to play.”

The 31-year-old did, however, downplay the significance of getting the chance against his team’s biggest rival, which, by the way, is just as hot as the Caps right now, having won five games in a row and 13 of 16 (13-1-2).

“It doesn’t matter which team we’re going to play when get those kinds of milestones,” Ovi said. “I just want to get it and move forward.”

On Monday night, Ovechkin told reporters in Montreal “it means I’m getting older” after a three-point night landed him on the doorstep of No. 1,000. On Wednesday, he set the record straight regarding how he’s actually feeling.

“I don’t feel old,” he said with a grin. “I just said, when you get a 1,000 points it [means] you’ve been in the league a long time. I’m still young.”


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Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Regardless of what you thought of the officiating on Monday, the Caps’ nine-game win streak is over and now the team needs to move on. But for a team coming off a lengthy win streak, however, that can be easier said than done.

Teams that put together long streaks as the Caps have tend to struggle after the streak is finally broken. Take for example the Columbus Blue Jackets who came just one win shy of tying the NHL record for the longest streak with 16-straight wins. Since then, however, the Blue Jackets have lost four of their last six.

The fall has been even harder for Philadelphia who have managed a record of only 3-8-3 since winning 10 straight over the course of November and December.

That is a trend Washington will now look to avoid, though Barry Trotz doesn’t sound too concerned.

“There’s bounce back in our game,” Trotz said on Monday after the loss. “I have a lot of trust in this group. We’re a veteran group.”

That was evident on Monday. Washington had to battle back from a two-goal deficit twice just to force overtime and salvage a point against Pittsburgh and that was seeing a 3-0 lead evaporate in the wake of five-straight Penguins goals.

Now Trotz hopes the same resiliency and leadership he saw late against Pittsburgh will help the team avoid a letdown.

“I have a lot of faith in the group that they are good enough to respond after a little bit of adversity,” he said. “We’ve got lots of good leaders on the team.”


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Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

The Capitals have re-assigned forward Chandler Stephenson to AHL Hershey after a brief call-up to the NHL, the team announced Tuesday.

Stephenson, 22, was recalled on Saturday as a precaution and was a healthy scratch for the team's games on Sunday and Monday.

Washington has been playing with the minimum of 12 forwards at home. With the Caps facing a quick turnaround with a game in Washington on Sunday and in Pittsburgh on Monday, the team needed a spare forward in case of an emergency to ensure the team had someone to plug into the lineup if there was an injury.

The Caps returned home after Monday's game in Pittsburgh and have Tuesday off making carrying Stephenson unnecessary. He may be back very soon, however, as the team will almost certainly call up another player prior to leaving for Thursday's game in St. Louis.

In Hershey, Stephenson has scored 23 points this season in 36 games. He played in nine games with the Caps in 2015-16.

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