BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum
With a monumental 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals have tied the first round series at two games a piece. Easily though the Capitals would not be here without an incredible play by Tom Wilson in the first period of Game 4.
After a puck squeaked under Braden Holtby, it precariously drifted toward the goal line that would have tied the game at two in the first period. Wilson, at near full speed, went diving face-first into the netting, able to get his stick out to prevent the goal.
On the other end mere seconds later, Wilson ended up redirecting the same puck in the back of the Toronto net to put Washington up 3-1.
Now in a season of 82 games and a playoffs that requires 16 victories to take home the trophy, its hard to place the weight of the season on a single play. However, if there was a play to call on at the end of the year, look back to this one from the Toronto native.
Back in Game 3, Holtby also made an incredible save nearly 50 feet away from the pipes. For those not familar with hockey, that is pretty rare for a goalie.
Now everyone knows that he is a 'Holtbeast' but was it more incredible than Wilson's key shift in Game 4? Take out the fact that Washington won Game 4 and Wilson's second goal of the night, but which individual performance was better?
MUST SEE: Three Caps fans celebrate in a sea of sad Leafs fans
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.
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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.
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:
Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie
Burakovsky – Boyd – Smith-Pelly
Stephenson – Eller – Wilson
Bau – Graovac – Peluso
Johansen – Carlson
Djoos – Chorney
Ness – Lewington
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- 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.
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