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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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Braden Holtby's history suggests he'll bounce back in Game 2

Braden Holtby's history suggests he'll bounce back in Game 2

Caps Coach Barry Trotz says he’s confident Braden Holtby will rebound from a Game 1 performance that the goalie found to be lacking.

“I thought he was fine but he didn’t think he played as good as he could,” Trotz said. “But I do know this—and I’ve told you this—he is a guy that responds.”

On Friday morning, Holtby was among the first players on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex—and he quickly got to work with goalie coach Mitch Korn.

In Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Penguins, Holtby allowed three goals on 21 shots, including a pair on the first seven shots he faced.

RELATED: Caps-Penguins rivalry tests Shattenkirk-Bonino friendship

Why is Trotz so confident that Holtby will rebound? Because history says he will.

Holtby has generally responded with a strong individual performance after losses in the playoffs. In fact, he’s posted a .933 save percentage, 1.92 goals against and two shutouts in postseason games following a loss.  

“He’s going to be better tomorrow, and that’s good for us,” Trotz said.

Holtby’s Game 1 performance comes on the heels of an uneven first round for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Against Toronto, he yielded 14 goals in the first four games before locking down the Leafs in Games 5 and 6, stopping 61 of 63 shots to lead the Caps to the second round.

On Thursday night, Holtby got off to a strong start, turning back an early blitz by the Pens, including a point blank pad stop on Patric Hornqvist to keep the game scoreless. Holtby also made a critical breakaway stop on Phil Kessel–and the ensuing rebound attempt by Bryan Rust—as the Caps scrambled just after falling behind 2-0.

Overall, though, Holtby felt he could have been sharper. In particular, he said he did not like Sidney Crosby’s first goal or his execution on Nick Bonino’s third period shot that slipped between his blocker and side.

After the game, Holtby vowed that both he and the Caps would be ready for Game 2 on Saturday night.

“I don’t think we’re frustrated,” Holtby said. “We realize that we played a really strong game. I know I need to be better if we’re going to have success, and that’s basically the bottom line.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps not pleased with officiating in Game 1

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Caps-Penguins rivalry tests the friendship of Kevin Shattenkirk and Nick Bonino

Caps-Penguins rivalry tests the friendship of Kevin Shattenkirk and Nick Bonino

Kevin Shattenkirk is new to the Capitals-Penguins rivalry. As a trade deadline acquisition, he has only been with the Caps for about two months. He has not built up a lifetime of hatred for Pittsburgh as have most Caps fans, he does not have painful memories of the series in 2009 or 2016, he has not even had a regular season to accept that fact that he now must hate the Penguins instead of the Chicago Blackhawks like he did in St. Louis.

Instead, Shattenkirk brings his own rivalry to this second-round matchup, a personal one between himself and Penguins forward Nick Bonino.

“We've battled for years in many different ways,” Shattenkirk said. “In practices, on the golf course, there's plenty of different ways that we've gone against each other and we always want to beat each other.”

RELATED: Caps not pleased with officiating in Game 1

Shattenkirk and Bonino played college hockey together at Boston University from 2007 to 2010 and won a National championship in 2009. They have been close friends ever since. Shattenkirk was even the best man at Bonino’s wedding.

When friendships form among professional athletes, however, so do rivalries.

There are few people on Earth more competitive than athletes. After the St. Louis Blues were eliminated in the playoffs last season, Shattenkirk was happy to see Bonino go on to win the Cup with Pittsburgh, but he admitted he had awkward feelings about it afterward.

“To see him go through that summer and all the cool things that are associated with winning a Stanley Cup,” Shattenkirk said, “It does make you want it more when it's someone who you know and someone you're close to. We actually were together about a week or 10 days after and it was still very raw for him and it's a little awkward for me to be in that situation, but at the same time it really did fire me up and want me to experience that same sort of elation and joy that he had that was surrounded around winning the Cup.”

That feeling became even more awkward in Game 1 when Bonino scored the game-winning goal against Shattenkirk and defensive partner Brooks Orpik.

“It kind of ticked me off even more that it was him because he's someone I have to see later on in the summer so I have to hear about that,” Shattenkirk said. “You have to give credit that he's a performer in the playoffs and another guy on their team who we have to worry about.”

That was just Game 1, however. With plenty of hockey left to play, Shattenkirk may yet have the bragging rights this summer when he meets his friend.

“We’ll talk afterwards,” Shattenkirk said, “And hopefully both people have a good series and I come out on top.”

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