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Category: Washington-Capitals

It’s All About Goaltending In Washington

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

What Washington Has: A fully-signed lineup; a legitimate, if aging, superstar scorer in Alex Ovechkin; a brand new goaltending tandem in starter Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren; two nifty-off-season acquisitions in former Senators and Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown and former Blackhawks center Dylan Strome; a deep group of forwards; an elite-level defenseman in John Carlson; decent depth signings in veteran forwards Marcus Johansson and Henrik Borgstrom, and D-man Matt Irwin.

What Washington Needs: Salary cap flexibility; a quick return to health for injured forwards Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin; a much-improved home record (they went 19-16-6 last season)....

...the biggest gamble Caps are taking this coming season is in goal. Last year’s duo of Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both are no longer with the organization, replaced by former Canadiens and Blues goalie Charlie Lindgren and former Colorado starter Darcy Kuemper. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan gave the 32-year-old Kuemper a five-year, $26.25-million contract, making him Washington’s No. 1 guy in net for the foreseeable future, while the 28-year-old Lindgren will spell off Kuemper in preparation for a playoff run. The Caps’ offense should give Kuemper more than enough support to win more games than he loses, but make no mistake – the pressure is squarely on Kuemper to prove his Cup-winning season with the Avs this past year was no fluke.

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Washington Capitals Sign Dylan Strome

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed forward Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Strome, 25, recorded 48 points (22g, 26a) in 69 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021-22. The 6’3”, 200-pound forward established single-season career highs in goals and games played and averaged a career-best 17:26 time on ice last season. Strome ranked third on the team in goals and fourth in assists and points.

Originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes with the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Strome recorded a career-high 57 points (20g, 37a) in 78 games with Arizona and Chicago in 2018-19. The Mississauga, Ontario native averaged 0.68 points per game in parts of four seasons with Chicago from 2018-19 to 2021-22, which ranked fifth on the team in that span.

In 273 career NHL games with Arizona and Chicago, Strome has recorded 170 points (67g, 103a).

Internationally, Strome has represented Canada at the 2019 World Championship, where he earned a silver medal, and at the 2017 and 2016 World Junior Championships, earning a silver medal at the 2017 tournament.

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Darcy Kuemper Signs With Washington

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Washington/New Jersey Trade

MONTREAL – The Washington Capitals have acquired the second-round pick (37th overall) and third-round pick (70th overall) from the New Jersey Devils in the 2022 NHL Draft for goaltender Vitek Vanecek and Washington’s second-round pick (46th overall, originally from Winnipeg), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Washington now owns New Jersey’s second and third-round picks and their own third-round pick (85th overall), fifth-round  (149th overall), sixth-round (181st overall) and seventh-round picks (213th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Vanecek, 26, posted a 41-22-10 record with a 2.68 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 79 career games with Washington. He was drafted by Washington with the Capitals' second-round pick, 39th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft.

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The Florida Panthers Take Back Home Ice Advantage

from Samatha Pell of The Washington Post,

The whistles kept coming Monday night at Capital One Arena, the pace of play broken up time and time again as the parade to the penalty box continued.

An infraction-filled second period devolved into a special teams showcase during the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 4, and the officials had assessed 13 minor penalties by the end of the night.

In the Stanley Cup playoffs, physical play is expected, but the quantity of penalties handed out in this Eastern Conference first-round series that’s tied at two wins apiece — as well as the number of infractions being called leaguewide this postseason — may not continue to benefit a Capitals team facing the best offense the NHL has seen since the mid-1990s.

The Capitals’ penalties have yet to hurt them; the Panthers — who had the NHL’s fifth-best power play in the regular season, clicking at 24.4 percent — are 0 for 13 through four games. But penalty killing perfection for a group that denied its opponents 80.4 percent of the time in the regular season (to rank 12th in the league) is unsustainable against Florida’s talent. The Panthers had four 30-goal scorers in the regular season, and those four (Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Huberdeau) combined for 42 power-play tallies.

After a momentum-swinging Game 4 win, Florida may be feeling its early-series nerves starting to fade. The Panthers are one lucky bounce — or one perfect snipe — away from getting back into a rhythm on the power play.

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Game highlights are below.

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Fines Handed Out Today

 

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Anthony Mantha Making His Mark For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

Capitals forward Anthony Mantha couldn’t help but laugh after his 10-hit performance in Game 1 of Washington’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers. It was not only the most hits in his short Capitals career, it was the most hits he’s had in a game — ever.

At the time, even Mantha didn’t sound confident he could keep up his physical play though a long series with Florida.

“I don’t know if I can get 10 again, obviously,” Mantha said with a laugh after Game 1. “But getting at least a couple out there just to get engaged in the game, trying to get them on their heels maybe. That one play that is going to create a turnover, [that] is going to be beneficial for us. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a little more, get a little less.”

With three games down, the Capitals lead the series, 2-1. And through it Mantha has flourished, continuing to sustain his engaging, physical play from Game 1.

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Goaltending An Issue For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

The moment Vitek Vanecek let in the Florida Panthers’ third goal in the Capitals’ eventual 5-1 Game 2 defeat Thursday night was the moment Washington’s never-ending goalie saga reared its head once again.

Mason Marchment delivered a dart from the right circle that found the space between Vanecek’s pads at the 3:11 mark of the second period, putting Florida up, 3-1. The goal came just 27 seconds after center Nicklas Backstrom scored to cut the Panthers’ lead in half.

It was a momentum-swinging goal, a back-breaker, and one any goalie — namely Vanecek — simply can’t allow if the Capitals want a shot at defeating Florida in the first-round series. The goal was the first of three straight for the Panthers en route to a victory that knotted the series at a game apiece.

“That was kind of tough, actually, mentally,” Backstrom said of Florida’s third goal. “After that, after the second period, in the third, they had a 5-1 lead. Nothing to say about that. That being said, we’ve got a tight series going back to Washington. Looking forward to playing in front of our fans.”

Vanecek can’t shoulder the blame for all five goals, with his defense breaking down on several occasions. However, as has been the case all season, his inability to make stops on routine shots precipitated his downfall.

continued

Highlights can be watched below.

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Quite The Comeback For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

In a flash, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie ripped through the middle of the ice, taking a peek at Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky before looking left. Waiting on that side was center Nicklas Backstrom; he slickly found Oshie, who got between two defenders and flicked the puck past Bobrovsky with ease.

Just like that, Washington’s optimism was soaring again. Oshie’s goal at 10:37 of the third period held up as the winner Tuesday night in a 4-2 Game 1 victory over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Evgeny Kuznetsov had scored less than three minutes earlier, meaning Florida had coughed up a 2-1 lead entering the final period. Lars Eller produced the final score on an empty-netter with less than a minute left.

“Typical Nicky fashion, [he] sauced it through a guy’s legs and right on my tape,” Oshie said. “I just redirected it, didn’t see it go in — so he had to come tell me that we scored.”

In the regular season, Florida did not lose a game in regulation when leading after two periods, finishing 39-0-1. Tuesday’s game was the first time the Capitals not only overcame a third-period deficit to win a playoff game since the clinching Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup finals, but it was also their first road playoff win — excluding the 2020 postseason, when the pandemic forced the playoffs to be played in two Canadian cities — since that night in Las Vegas when the Capitals claimed the NHL crown.

continued

Game highlightgs below.

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Video- Alex Ovechkin Leaves The Game With An Upper-Body Injury

Coach Laviolette says he has yet to get an update on Ovechkin from the trainers.

 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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