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Prediction recap: Almost everything goes wrong for Caps in Anaheim

Prediction recap: Almost everything goes wrong for Caps in Anaheim

The Caps saw their losing streak extend to four games on Sunday with a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Here's a recap of the three bold predictions for the game.

1. The Caps will score first - Wrong

I was wrong on this one three times over. After a scoreless first, Anaheim scored three times in the second to take a 3-0 lead and take control of what had been a close game.

RELATED: Barry Trotz: 'This is going to make us better'

2. There will be a fight - Just let them fight!

It looked like I was going to be right as Tom Wilson dropped the gloves in the first period, but the refs stepped in before he could start wailing on Ryan Kesler. Becasue of that, I'm taking a half point. Maybe Wilson dropped the gloves prematurely, but knowing the kind of agitator Kesler is, it wouldn't be surprising if he told Wilson, "Let's go" and then waited in an attempt to draw the penalty.

3. John Carlson will get an assist - Wrong

Carlson did me one better with a goal instead of an assist. I really should have said that he would get a point rather than an assist. I am tempted to give myself a half point on this, but there's a pretty significant difference between a goal and an assist so I will let it go.

2017 Results: I am as cold as the Caps are at this point.

Correct: 31
Wrong: 54.5
Push: 3

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin glad slump happening now rather than in playoffs

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3 bold predictions: Caps face Blue Jackets in pivotal Metro clash

3 bold predictions: Caps face Blue Jackets in pivotal Metro clash

The Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets meet in a pivotal Metropolitan Division clash on Thursday (7 p.m., CSN). Here are three bold predictions for the game.

1. Neither team will score on the power play

This prediction isn’t about how good or bad the power play units are, I just don’t expect either team to get many opportunities. Washington has given up only one power play in each of their last three games while Columbu has taken even fewer. They have been shorthanded only twice in their last three.

RELATED: Breathing room and history at stake for Caps on Thursday

2. Washington will score at least three goals

Sergei Bobrovsky should be in consideration for both the Vezina Trophy and the Hart Trophy given the season he is having. Having said that, he hasn’t faced a top ten offense in quite some time. In their last 10 games, the Blue Jackets have played two teams with offenses currently ranked in the top 10 and Bobrovsky didn’t play either of them. Backup Joonas Korpisalo started on March 18 against the New York Islanders (2.94 goals per game, 9th in the NHL) and on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (3.06 goals per game, 6th in the NHL). Don’t get me wrong, Bobrovsky has been fantastic all year, but after playing against Buffalo, Philadelphia, Florida and New Jersey (three times), he may not be completely ready for the jump of playing a team like Washington.

3. Brett Connolly, Lars Eller or Andre Burakovsky will score

Burakovsky has been fantastic in his return. He looks fast and dangerous and so has the third line. So far that has not led to any goals for the trio, but it will Thursday. This line is playing too well to continue to get shutout.

MORE CAPITALS: Prospect report: Hershey is suddenly stacked on defense

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Caps seek breathing room—and a spot in the record book—with Columbus in town

Caps seek breathing room—and a spot in the record book—with Columbus in town

When the Blue Jackets visit Verizon Center on Thursday night, the Capitals will have the chance to accomplish a couple of things: they can open a little breathing room between themselves and Columbus and they can tie the franchise record for most home wins in a season.

“As I just said to the guys, games like tonight, if you’re a coach or a hockey player, that’s what you play for,” Coach Barry Trotz said after the morning skate, “to get games where there’s a lot of meaning. We’ve prepared all year for this, so let’s get at it.”

Entering Thursday’s games, the Caps had 102 points, the Penguins owned 101 and Jackets checked in with 100. So a win, obviously, would give the Caps a four-point edge on Sergei Bobrovsky and Co. with nine games remaining for both clubs.

Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus are 1-2-3 in the league standings, as well.

“It’s not that much distance,” defenseman Brooks Orpik cracked, asked about possibly opening a four-point advantage on the Jackets, who lost to the Maple Leafs, 5-2, on Wednesday night.

Orpik added: “But, yeah, it’s a little bit of distance against them. We know they played last night and had a pretty physical game against Toronto. So hopefully that works to our advantage. Hopefully we’re smart and make them go 200-feet for their chances tonight.”

RELATED: SHATTENKIRK STILL WAITING TO NET HIS FIRST GOAL

The game marks the fourth of five meetings between Washington and Columbus this season. The Caps won the last meeting, a win-streak-snapping 5-0 decision on F Street back on Jan. 5. The Jackets, however, won the first two meetings—a 2-1 overtime triumph on Nov. 15 and a controversial 3-2 win five days later.

The teams close out their season series in Columbus on April 2.

“Anytime you’re that close in the standings and you’re in the same division, it’s a big game and you can kinda distance yourself,” winger Tom Wilson said. “But they’re a good team. They’re going to be coming hard and they’ve beat us twice this year already, so that’s in our minds.”

To get two points, though, the Caps are going to need to solve Bobrovsky, who leads the NHL in goals against average (2.04), save percentage (.931) and wins (39).

“I think he’s a top 2 or top 3 goalie in the league, in my opinion,” Alex Ovechkin said of the fellow Russian. “When he’s on his game, it’s very hard to score. He controls the game well. He likes the big moments. He likes the pressure.”

Goals won’t come easily. And neither will a ‘W’. But if the Caps earn one, they’ll also tie the franchise record for wins in a season with their 30th. None of the wins have come in the shootout. The last time they won 30 games without the benefit of a shootout victory? Way back in 1985-86. Washington also won 30 games at Verizon Center in 2009-10, but that mark included four wins in the shootout.    

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