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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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Caps' Alex Ovechkin goes without a shot on goal for 3rd time this month

Caps' Alex Ovechkin goes without a shot on goal for 3rd time this month

Alex Ovechkin is one of the most prolific shooters in NHL history.

This season, the Caps’ captain ranks third in shots on net with 223, an average of almost 3.7 per contest. 

But on Saturday evening in Nashville, something strange happened—again.

Ovechkin finished without a shot on goal for the third time in the last seven games. He did score a goal in the third period, but it was overturned because he was offside by a smidge. Thus, no shot.

In all, Ovechkin attempted six shots in 20:36 of ice time in the 5-2 loss. Two of those attempts were blocked and four more were off target.

“Obviously he’s a shooter; he’s got to get pucks to the net,” Coach Barry Trotz told reporters in Nashville. “He’s a little off, a little bit off. Players will go through that.”

Prior to going shot-less against the Red Wings on Feb. 9, Ovechkin had recorded at least one shot on goal in 315 consecutive games, a stretch that dates back to March 2013. Ovechkin’s shot-on-goal streak wound up 45 games short of matching Ray Bourque’s NHL record of 360 straight games with at last one shot on net.

In 900 career games, Ovechkin has failed to register a shot on goal only nine times.

RELATED: Shorthanded Caps struggle in Nashville

So, yeah, it’s worth noting when he doesn’t get one. It's more notable when it happens three times in a couple of weeks. 

Trotz, though, said he isn’t overly concerned about it.

“Ovi’s pretty streaky if you look in his past,” Trotz said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he got 10 goals in the next five games. That’s how he operates.”

He added: “Sometimes he’ll go a little bit flat there. He’s going through of a little of a dry spell, I think.”

Saturday’s game was a rough one for Ovi all around. In addition to losing a goal to video replay, he also took a couple of minor penalties—one for hooking and another for holding.

MORE CAPITALS: Tom Wilson takes skate to back of the head

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Shorthanded Capitals show signs of fatigue in road loss to Predators

Shorthanded Capitals show signs of fatigue in road loss to Predators

Final Score: Washington Capitals (41-13-7) fell to the Nashville Predators (30-22-9) 5-2 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

How It Happened: The Capitals certainly showed the effects of fatigue playing just 22 hours after beating the Oilers Friday night at Verizon Center. Things started well with a Tom Wilson goal early in the first period, but things quickly went downhill. The short turnaround made the absences of two key defensive pieces, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, painfullly apparent as Washington surrendered three unanswered goals in the second. It looked as if captain Alex Ovechkin would start a comeback with a goal 4:03 into the final frame, but the tally was taken off the board after replay showed Washington was offsides. By the time Evgeni Kuznetsov scored with less than three minutes left, it was too little, too late.

What It Means: Any team, no matter how talented, is vulnerable on 22 hours of rest and without four key playmakers. The Capitals could have gotten coach Barry Trotz his 700th career victory against the team he coached for 15 seasons. Sure, it would have been poetic, but the realities of the NHL season intervened. The game won't say as much about this team as the way it bounces back, or doesn't, against the Rangers on Tuesday. 

Scoring Summary:

Capitals Goal: Wilson scored just 1:12 into the first period on a beautiful sequence from the Capitals' fourth line. Daniel Winnik dropped the puck back to Jay Beagle, who rifled a pass to Wilson waiting in front of the Predators' net. Washington took a 1-0 lead.

Predators Goal: Roman Josi found the back of the net 1:56 into the second period on a piece of trickery by Filip Forsberg, who faked like he was going for a slapshot, but actually found Josi across the ice to beat Philipp Grubauer to his right post. Nashville evened the score at 1-1.

Predators Goal: Forsberg netted a goal of his own 8:54 into the second period. Winnik turned the puck over, which allowed Ryan Ellis to find Forsberg for the one-timer. The goal gave the Predators a 2-1 advantage, their first of the night. 

Predators Goal: A few short minutes later, Nashville captain Mike Fisher gave his team a 3-1 lead 11:57 into the second. He scored on the power play after Ovechkin was sent to the box for holding. Fisher benefitted from a bit of deception by PK Subban, who faked a shot that was actually a pass to his captain in front of the net. 

Predators Goal: Josi again, this time right off a draw 12:07 into the final frame. The goal came immediately after a questionable holding call that sent Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the box for holding, giving Nashville its fifth power play of the evening. 

Capitals Goal: Kuznetsov scored an unassisted, top-shelf goal 17:03 into the third as Predators players appeared to get caught watching in front of their own net. Can't do that against an elite shooter like Kuzy.

Predators Goal: Viktor Arvidsson shot and scored on the Capitals' empty net with 51 seconds left in regulation. 5-2 and that's a wrap. 

Three Stars of the Game:

3 - Tom Wilson: Wilson scored his third goal in the last 16 games. He also required stitches after taking a skate the back of his head, but came back into the game in short order. In the third period, he mixed it up with Predators captain Fisher, who flung Wilson's helmet off and landed a couple blows. Willy certainly showed a lot of fight, but it wasn't enough in the end. 

2 - Filip Forsberg: This one is a dagger given the Capitals history with Forsberg, but he was brilliant on Saturday. His shot-fake set up Josi for the Predators' first goal, which Forsberg followed up with a tally of his own on a one-timer later in the second period. 

1 - Roman Josi: Four shots on goal, two of which slipped by Grubauer, and four blocked shots made Josi the man of the hour in Nashville. 

Looking Ahead: The Capitals' next game comes on Tuesday, Feb. 28 as they head to New York to take on the Rangers. 

MORE CAPITALS: Gretzky loves that Ovechkin 'wants to win a Stanley Cup'