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Caps lose third straight in regulation for first time since 2015

Caps lose third straight in regulation for first time since 2015

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Los Angeles Kings 3

How it happened: The Caps took a 1-0 and 2-1 lead, but saw the Kings come back each time to tie the game at two after the first two periods. Kings rookie Adrian Kempe, however, scored his first career goal midway through the third period to hand the Caps their third straight regulation loss.

What it means: The Caps have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since February…of 2015. They now sit just one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division and in the NHL.

Goals

Caps goal: Jakub Vrana (power play) from Kevin Shattenkirk and Justin Williams at 4:35 in the first period. Shattenkirk found Vrana on the long-range slap pass and Vrana redirected it into the net for the early power play tally. Caps 1, Kings 0

Kings goal: Marian Gaborik from Alex Martinez and Anze Kopitar at 15:30 in the first period. Brooks Orpik tried to start the breakout, but turned the puck over on the wall. Kopitar gave Matt Niskanen the curl and drag, and Gaborik buried the rebound. Caps 1, Kings 1

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Marcus Johansson at 0:47 in the second period. Johansson skated the puck almost the entire length of the ice through the Kings’ defense and chipped a puck into Quick. A trailing Oshie knocked the puck into the net. Caps 2, Kings 1

Kings goal: Anze Kopitar (power play) from Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin at 7:20 in the second period. After a debated delay of game penalty to the Caps, Carter fired a wrister right from Alex Ovechkin’s favorite office that was deflected by Kopitar to beat Grubauer. Caps 2, Kings 2

Kings goal: Adrian Kempe from Alec Martinez and Kevin Gravel at 8:46 in the third period. Kempe made his first career NHL goal a memorable one. With the puck along the boards, Martinez spun around to separate himself from Johansson, skated to the circle, then beat a screened Grubauer short-side. Caps 2, Kings 3

Kings goal: Jeff Carter (empty netter), unassisted at 19:58 in the third period. Caps 2, Kings 4

3 stars

1. Anze Kopitar: Kopitar did all the leg work on the Kings' first goal, pulling of the nice move to deke Niskanen. He then got his stick on a shot from Carter to earn the Kings' second goal.

2. Adrian Kempe: Not only did he get his first career NHL goal, it was a beautiful pla and it ended up being the game-winner.

3. Alex Ovechkin: The Caps' captain has come under scrutiny of late for his sudden lack of production, but he looked dangerous in this game. He registered a game-high five shots on goal with an additional six shots missed and three more blocked. It was his best game in awhile, but it did not translate into a goal.

Look ahead: Hopefully the Caps have already turned their clocks back since they are back in action Sunday night. They wrap up the California trip against the Anaheim Ducks then return home just in time for snow and a Tuesday game against Bruce Boudreau and the Minnesota Wild.

Tell us what you think: With three straightr regulation losses and the playoffs just a month away, where is your panic meter? Are you still confident in the Caps or are you getting worried?

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

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.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

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

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

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. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

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

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.