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Pair of Capitals named to Metropolitan team for All-Star game

Pair of Capitals named to Metropolitan team for All-Star game

Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby will be Los Angeles-bound later this month after being tapped Tuesday to represent the Metropolitan Division at the NHL All-Star game.

The game is January 29th at Staples Center, home of the Kings.

Ovechkin has been named to the game a franchise-record eight times, while Holtby, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, joins Olie Kolzig as the only Capitals’ netminders to be chosen twice.

Once again, the All-Star Game format will be a 3-on-3 tournament. Each of the divisional teams will square off in a 20-minute semifinal. The winners will then play for the championship.

Ovechkin has five goals and six assists in the five all-star games in which he’s played. (The Caps’ captain did not play in the 2011-12 game and missed last year’s game with an injury). Holtby, meantime, made eight saves on 10 shots in his first All-Star Game appearance.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Holtby stays hot in win over Montreal

A year ago, fans voted Ovechkin to serve as the Metro Division captain. That honor this year belongs to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who leads the league with 26 goals.

The all-star accolades arrive as Ovechkin and Holtby are hitting their stride for the Caps, who have won six in a row and are 13-2-3 in their last 18 games.

On Monday in Montreal, Ovechkin tied Canadiens’ legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard for 29th on the all-time goals list with No. 544. The 31-year-old also moved to within a point of 1,000 for his career. He’ll get the chance to reach that milestone Wednesday when Washington hosts Pittsburgh on national television. 

Whenever Ovechkin gets there, he’ll become the 84 player in NHL history to reach the plateau and the fourth Russian-born player to do so, joining Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and Alexei Kovalev.

Holtby is tied for the league lead in shutouts (5). The 27-year-old also ranks second in goals against average (1.90) and third in save percentage (.931).

In addition, Greg Smith, Washington’s longtime athletic trainer has been selected as the Eastern Conference’s head trainer. Smith is in his 17th season with the Capitals.  

CSN is sending a crew to Los Angeles to cover Ovechkin, Holtby and the rest of the all-star festivities. So keep an eye out for our Caps-specific coverage later this month.

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin watch: One more to go

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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.