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Capitals' home streak halted at 15 games after comeback falls short against Stars

Capitals' home streak halted at 15 games after comeback falls short against Stars

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Dallas Stars 4

How it happened: A controversial goal by Devin Shore was upheld after a coach's challenge, putting Dallas on the board less than two minutes into the game. The Stars added two goals in the second period in a span of just 1:54 to extend the lead to 3-0. That ended Braden Holtby's night who was pulled for Philipp Grubauer. Nicklas Backstrom started the comeback with a goal at the end of the second period that swung momentum in the Caps' favor. T.J. Oshie added another goal in the third, but an empty netter ended the comeback.

What it means: For the first time in 2017, the Caps lost at home, snapping a streak of 15-straight wins at Verizon Center. Yet again, it came at the hands of the Stars who the Caps have not beaten in D.C. since Nov. 30, 2006.

Goals

Stars goal: Devin Shore from Stephen Johns and Patrick Sharp at 1:48 in the 1st period. A long-range shot forced what may be the save of the season from Holtby as he had to reach out the toe to block the deflection. As Sharp took the puck for a wraparound, however, Holtby could not get over to make the save because Shore was in the crease blocking his path. He was pushed in by Brooks Orpik, but did not appear to attempt to get out of the crease and eventually shot in the loose puck for the goal. It was reviewed for goalie interference, but the call stood. Good goal. Caps 0, Stars 1

Stars goal: Radek Faksa, unassisted at 4:04 in the 2nd period. Backstrom tried to clear a puck out of danger, but instead flicked right into Faksa who was quick to make Backstrom pay for the bad turnover. Caps 0, Stars 2

Stars goal: Jason Spezza from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin at 5:58 in the 2nd period. A Stars’ dump-in around the boards eluded a waiting Dmitry Orlov and went right to Seguin. Seguin fed Benn who shot the puck wide, but collected it and fed it back to Spezza who beat Holtby with the slap shot. Caps 0, Stars 3

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Kevin Shattenkirk and Brooks Orpik. Shattenkirk found Backstrom in the slot with a beautiful pass and Backstrom redirected it into the net. Caps 1, Stars 3

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom and Karl Alzner as 12:26 in the 3rd period. After a long stretch in the offensive zone, the Caps finally found paydirt as Oshie took a pass from Alzner, took it to the slot and fired a backhand past Lehtonen. Caps 2, Stars 3

Dallas goal: Patrick Sharp (empty netter), unassisted at 18:42 in the 3rd period. Caps 2, Stars 4

3 Stars

1. Kari Lehtonen: Dallas' goaltending situation may be the worst in the NHL. There are some nights, however, where Lehtonen can remind you why the Stars had so much faith in him. The Caps peppered Lehtonen with 44 shots on the night, 28 through the first two periods, but he turned aside 42 of them and is now 18-6-3 in his career against Washington.

2. Patrick Sharp: Sharp's heads up play in the first led to Dallas' opening goal. He also iced the game away with an empty netter in the third period.

3. Nicklas Backstrom: Backstrom had a horrific turnover in the second that led to Faksa's goal, but made up for it with a goal, an assist and seven shots on goal.

Look ahead: Time for the Caps to pack their bags. They will practice at Kettler on Tuesday and then head out west for the dreaded, three-game California road trip. Washington will be in San Jose on Thursday and then play Los Angeles and Anaheim in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Tell us what you think: The Capitals were burned by what looked like goalie interference on Shore’s goal in the first period, but after a review the call stood. Did the refs make the right call? Is it time to change the rules on goalie interference?

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Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Jakub Vrana

Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Jakub Vrana

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

We've detailed why Tom WilsonBrett Connolly and Andre Burakovsky are destined for breakout season.

Now we are detailing the prospects you can expect to see with the Capitals this season.

First up is Jakub Vrana.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF JAKUB VRANA IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS PROSPECT PREVIEW: JAKUB VRANA

Position: Left Wing
Age: 21
AHL Seasons: 3 (88)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 49 games, 19 goals, 17 assists
NHL Seasons: 1 (21)
2016-17 NHL Stats: 3 goals, 3 assists

Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:
After a getting a few stints in Washington last season, Jakub Vrana’s challenge will be significantly tougher in 2017-18: he’s got to turn his vast potential into tangible production. 

And the 21-year-old may have no better opportunity than the one he’ll be afforded this winter. With Marcus Johansson in New Jersey and Justin Williams in Carolina, Washington needs a couple of wingers to step into important roles. As things stand now, Andre Burakovsky will get one of those spots, while Vrana’s name figures to be penciled into the other.

There’s no questioning Vrana’s skill; he’s got wheels, good hands and a quick release. But now comes the hard part: putting it all together while showing the consistency he could not find last season with the Bears or the Caps.

Indeed, last year was an odd one for the 2014 first rounder. In each of his NHL stays, Vrana started strong and then faded. What troubled management, though, was the Czech’s response to being demoted.

In short, it wasn’t great.

The result was a disjointed season in Hershey, where Vrana was scratched a few times and his overall performance was, well, a little underwhelming.

I’m not ready to call this a make-or-break year for Vrana, but if he doesn’t develop into a full-time NHLer, I’d consider it a big disappointment.

Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:
What He Has:
"This is a guy hwo the organization looks at for his natural abillity. Obviously he has that flash, that offensive flare that this team really wants. The speed that they want."

What He Needs to Do: "He needs to take advantage of the opportunities that are laid in front of him. I think a lot of people think this top six spot is his to lose. So take advantage of that and make it stick."

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Andre Burakovsky

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Andre Burakovsky

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

We've detailed why Tom Wilson and Brett Connolly are destined for breakout season.

Today we are looking at Andre Burakovsky.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF ANDRE BURAKOVSKY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: ANDRE BURAKOVSKY

Position: Left Wing
Age: 22
NHL Seasons: 3 (196 games)
2016-17 Stats: 64 games, 12 goals, 23 assists +13 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
Due to some high-profile free agent departures this offseason, the Caps will be counting on a handful of youngsters to turn potential into production in 2017-18.

At the top of that list is 22-year-old winger Andre Burakovsky, who figures to get a full-time role in the top six forward group, possibly on the top line alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. He should also see a significant jump in power play minutes. 

The biggest challenge for Burakovsky figures to be the same issue that’s tripped him up the past couple of years: consistency. A year ago, for example, he went 26 games without a goal. But he also enjoyed a torrid 13-game stretch in which he racked up six goals and eight assists. So it’s there; he’s just got to bring it every game now. 

Former Washington forward Marcus Johansson, another first round pick from Sweden, became a 20-goal scorer in his fifth NHL season.

The Caps desperately need Burakovsky reach that plateau—or even surpass it—a full year earlier.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Confidence: "He really relies on his confidence to find success. So when he went through those lulls last season he didn't have a lot of confidence. But he kept shooting the puck, kept sooting the puck and he knew it would find the back of the net sooner or later. He got scratched, he came back, boom, he found the back of the net. I think going on that top line in the playoffs and looking ahead to next season is going to give him that confidence he needs to really produce."

2.  Comfort Level: He's had great mentorship from Nick Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. He understands now, that at 22 years old, he looks at those guys and sees 'hey those guys have been successful, I see what it means to be a pro. To have that connection with Backstrom, who he plays alongside on the ice and spends time with off of it, wil help him take a big step ahead."

Prediction: Over/Under 25 Goals
Tarik: 27, over.
Jill: 25, push.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME