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Capitals outlast Devils in low-scoring affair to set franchise record

Capitals outlast Devils in low-scoring affair to set franchise record

Final score: Washington Capitals 1, New Jersey Devils 0

How it happened: There was not much scoring to speak of in this one. Locked in a scoreless tie through two periods, Jakub Vrana finally got onto the scoresheet with a power-play tally. Brett Connolly gave the Devils hope by taking a double-minor late in the third with two minutes for slashing, and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct. In the end, however, New Jersey barely threatened the Caps and got the goose egg they deserved.

What it means: With 14 straight wins at home, the Capitals set a franchise record for consecutive home wins. The last time the Caps lost at Verizon Center was to these New Jersey Devils, who won in a shootout on Dec. 29. When was the last time the Caps lost in regulation at Verizon Center? On Dec. 17 against the Montreal Canadiens.

Goals

Capitals goal: Jakub Vrana (power play) from Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson at 7:21 in the 3rd period. A pass from Kuznetsov was deflected and squirted right in front of the net. Vrana quickly pounced and buried it into the back of the net. Caps 1, Devils 0

3 Stars

1. Jakub Vrana: In a game in which almost nothing stood out, Vrana did. His speed was very evident as he cut through what was otherwise a very sleepy game and scored the only tally of the night.

2. Braden Holtby: Holtby was not called upon much—New Jersey managed only 15 shots on goal for the game—but he was strong when tested. In one flurry in the second period, Holtby managed to pin the puck underneath him and freeze the play leaving the fans chanting, "Holtby! Holtby!"

3. Kevin Shattenkirk: The second game can often be more difficult for a player after a trade because he's had time to learn the new system. Instead of playing purely on instincts, he has to start thinking about what he's doing. Shattenkirk didn't appear to miss a step even with a team-high 21:24 of ice time.

Look ahead: The Caps continue their three-game home stand on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Then they host the Dallas Stars on Monday.

Tell us what you think: Last season a dominant Capitals team took its foot off the gas down the stretch and never managed to get back to the elite level they had been playing. The team is determined not to do that this year, but in the first game following the trade deadline, they found themselves locked in a tight game to the woeful Devils. Are you worried about the Caps taking their foot off the gas down the stretch of the regular season?

Related: Barry Trotz's message to Capitals after trade deadline

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Alex Ovechkin makes kids' day with street hockey surprise

Alex Ovechkin makes kids' day with street hockey surprise

Kids part of the American Special Hockey Association had no idea they were going to meet one of the NHL's biggest stars during a game of street hockey on Friday afternoon.

But that's what happened when Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin surprised a handful of youngsters playing in a tournament in front of Capital One Arena.

Ovechkin wasn't just there for pictures and autographs, he also joined in on the action for the next hour and did not hold back in one of his last major games before before the regular season.

MORE: ANOTHER TOP-SIX AUDITION FOR VRANA

ASHA and Ovechkin have been hosting events together for four consecutive seasons. The organization was created in 2000 and enables players of all ages who have developmental disabilities to enjoy the sport of hockey.

You can watch the full video of Ovechkin's surprise above.

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Jakub Vrana gets another top-six audition in the Caps' home preseason opener

Jakub Vrana gets another top-six audition in the Caps' home preseason opener

Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have his players line up Friday night vs. the Blues...and a few notes about forward combos and D pairings you'll see at Capital One Arena:

Forwards
Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie
Burakovsky – Boyd – Smith-Pelly
Stephenson – Eller – Wilson
Bau – Graovac – Peluso

Defense
Johansen – Carlson
Djoos – Chorney
Ness – Lewington

Goalies
Holtby
Copley

RELATED: HOW TO WATCH CAPS-BLUES

  • After scoring a power play goal while skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov on Wednesday, Jakub Vrana is getting an audition on the other top-six line.
  • Stephenson is the only player to appear in all three preseason games. Tonight, he’s skating on the wing after playing center in the first two contests. He’s a prospect the Caps are hoping makes the opening night roster but the reason he’s played so much is because fourth-line center Jay Beagle is “trying to manage his body a little bit,” according to Trotz.
  • Beagle has not played yet this preseason, but Trotz said he’s been practicing and scrimmaging full-go. “He’s not hurt,” Trotz said. “He’s got some tightness. We’re going to work through the tightness and he’ll be fine. There’s no reason to rush guys.”
  • Winger Mathias Bau wasn’t originally slated to see any game action, but the Denmark native impressed Trotz so much in a scrimmage earlier this week that the coach found a spot in the lineup for him. Bau, the tallest player in camp at 6-7, is skating on a line with Graovac (6-5) and Peluso (6-3).  “He’s gotten better and better,” Trotz said of Bau, who signed an AHL deal with Hershey this summer. “So he deserves to get in a game. He’s been standing out. Originally I had another guy in there but Bau has sorta overtaken him.”
  • Peluso is another player who is emerging as a candidate to earn a spot on the fourth line. This will mark his second straight preseason appearance. 
  • Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov will make their preseason debut Saturday vs. the Hurricanes, according to Trotz, who has already said they’ll open the regular season as the top pair.

 

MORE CAPITALS: CAPS MAKE THEIR FIRST CUTS