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Senior Travis Boyd leads Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament (Photo: Brian Ekart)

With all six conference tournaments ending last Sunday, the field for the NCAA Tournament is set. This weekend, the top sixteen teams are divided in four single-elimination regional tournaments whose winners will face each in Frozen Four semifinals in Boston on April 9. The championship game will be played on April 11.

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Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey

Friday night in Portland, Maine, one Washington Capitals prospect had an odd milestone. 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky scored his first American Hockey League goal. In an odd twist, it came 163 days after his first NHL goal earlier this season.

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christian-djoos

Photo: Ola Westerberg / Bildbyran

Defenseman Christian Djoos, drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, is set to join the Hershey Bears. Djoos’ SHL season ended as Brynas was swept by regular-season champs Skelleftea.

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jakub-vrana

Photo: Josefine Loftenius / Bildbyran

Washington Capitals’ first-round pick Jakub Vrana scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner, as his Linkoping defeated HV71 in their first game of the SHL playoffs, 3-2. Vrana, who had problems finding the net late in the regular season with just three points in eleven games since the beginning of February, had his first career multi-point postseason game as a pro.

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zach-sanford

Photo: Boston College

Caps prospect Zach Sanford scored twice in ninth-ranked Boston College’s 4-2 victory over 17th-ranked University of Vermont in their first game of the Hockey East playoffs.

Follow under the jump to see both of Sanford’s tallies, including one that could very well be goal of the year among Caps prospects.

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Lewington is #5 in black. (Photo: Marissa Baecker)

Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of Tyler Lewington to an entry-level contract, which will kick in during the 2015-16 season.

Lewington first came to prominence when he dominated several strength categories at the 2013 NHL Draft Combine. Despite that, he fell to the seventh round of the draft, where the Caps snagged him 204th overall.

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I want to start by saying I genuinely like Barry Trotz. I think he’s a good man and a good coach. He’s brought with him to Washington some of the brightest minds in hockey, he’s reversed a decline in the organization, and he’s helped Alex Ovechkin become a more complete player. I don’t think Trotz has gotten enough credit for that. He is exactly what fans wanted last summer: an experienced head coach.

But now that we’re more than halfway through the season, I see some worrying trends in this organization that reach all the way down to the AHL level.

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christian-djoos

Photo: Simon Hastegard / Bildbyran

It has been a pleasant surprise to see Christian Djoos, drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round in 2012, fare well in Sweden.

Boxcar stats don’t do justice to this subtle blueliner. He looks mature regardless of his ice time. During the few occasions I saw Djoos get off to a rough start in games — sometimes just because of rotten luck — he proved mental toughness in bouncing back and not letting his game fall apart.

Djoos might not wow you on any given night, but he’s always consistent with his play.

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Photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey

Caps prospect Stan Galiev has put the work in this season and has become a great story. After initially struggling with system play as a teenager, the 23-year-old forward has carved himself out a roster spot in AHL Hershey. Galiev is fifth on the Bears in scoring. Earlier this season he authored a brilliant streak of 8 goals in 8 games, putting him on the Caps radar as a potential call-up.

The young Russian, a restricted free agent this summer, did an interview with Sports.ru blogger Dmitry Groshev on Wednesday. Galiev spoke about his relationship with Alex Ovechkin, what it’s like playing in front of Hershey’s fans, and the key to his success lately.

“This year I played well in the pre-season, our head coach Troy Mann, trusted me and I began to score,” Galiev said. “I get power play time, get some points. I stay healthy too. You put all that together and you can say I’ve now got confidence.”

Fedor Fedin has your translation below.

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Jakub Vrana, Riley Barber, Madison Bowey

Three Capitals prospects have made the semi-annual list of the 50 best affiliated NHL prospects compiled by ESPN’s Corey Pronman. The list includes only players not currently on NHL rosters. This time, the ranking is topped by the Leafs’ forward William Nylander.

Following a mediocre World Junior Championship, Jakub Vrana, 13th overall pick of 2013 Draft, finishes seventh in Pronman’s rankings.

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