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Tonight at 10 PM, the first episode of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic will air online featuring (hopefully) organic, not-at-all-contrived coverage of the team we love (also the Chicago Blackhawks). I admit I’m super excited for all the right reasons (pageviews!). Some old RMNB footage might even make a short cameo on the show.

EPIX has posted exclusive photos, featuring some fantastic portraits of Caps stars.

I have a feeling at least half of you are going to be very excited to continue scrolling. I even included a few GIFs and a video too.

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Photo: Rob Carr

On Thursday in front of a less than capacity crowd at Verizon Center, Jason Chimera took a brutal penalty that led to Nick Foligno‘s game-winning overtime goal. The Caps lost to division foe Columbus. Old news, but I wanted to share the photo above by Rob Carr because it really captures Foligno’s excitement after the… hey – wait a minute!

Is that? It couldn’t be…

Let me fire up my vectoring program on the RMNB super computer. I’m going to need to enhance that upper-right quadrant.

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The Stephen Strasburg Caps Game Selfie

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I’m a horrible influence. On Saturday night, after I noticed Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg was at the Caps game, I encouraged fans to go down get an autograph from him. Then on Twitter, I dared one of our readers, @Caps_shutterbug, to get a selfie with Stras during intermission.

She actually did it.

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Photo: Monumental Network Instagram

Russian bros Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov showed some support to their basketball brethren Sunday, taking in the Washington Wizards game at Verizon Center. The Wiz beat the Jazz by 9 and are the top team in the Southeast division. Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, wearing John Wall and Paul Pierce jerseys respectively, watched the game from court side seats.

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Photos by Chris Gordon.

Nicklas Backstrom is a quiet Swedish assist machine. He sits in the background, setting up Ovi and racking up points. He’s a bit shy, often speaking to reporters siting down and speaking in a soft tone. He’s not underrated. People know Backstrom is good, but he’s just doesn’t flout it at all. That’s why he’s not one of the league’s most recognizable stars, despite the skill and stats to back it up.

But we Caps fans know how good he is. Tonight, Backstrom put on a grand Saturday night production. After not scoring in almost a month, Backstrom registered a natural hat trick, his first three goal game since 2010, as the Caps beat the Bolts 4-2.

There was a present waiting for him after the game. Upon entering the Capitals locker room, Backstrom found his locker filled with the hats thrown on the ice by fans.

“I don’t know who the f—k was doing that,” Backstrom told me. “Someone surprised me.”

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Photo: Caps Instagram

Nicklas Backstrom scored a natural hat trick on Saturday night, which meant Caps fans got a chance to throw their favorite hats onto the ice.

But not everything they threw were hats.

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Wish-recipient Lauren Santora had a great weekend. Her dream came true meeting Alex Ovechkin. She scored on Braden Holtby, a goal that was eventually narrated by voice of the Caps, John Walton.

And that was just Friday. On Saturday, the eight-year-old suffering from type 1 diabetes, was honored at the Caps/Lightning game. Well, if you call getting snowed by Tom Wilson an honor (which she probably would).

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Stephen Strasburg is at the Caps Game

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Earlier today, the Washington Nationals held their annual fan fest in DC. All of the big names were in attendance (minus big pewpy Bryce Harper). Stephen Strasburg, who traveled all the way from San Diego to hang out with fans, attended the Capitals game later that night.

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Photos: Amanda Bowen

On Friday, the Washington Capitals hosted eight-year-old Lauren Santora at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Lauren, who suffers from type 1 diabetes, had one wish: to meet her favorite hockey player, Alex Ovechkin.

The Connecticuter got that and then some. After going on a Caps shopping spree and practicing with the team, Santora was asked by Ovechkin to go on a two-on-none against Braden Holtby. You’d think selfish Ovi would shoot, but instead he dished to Santora, who nailed the puck into the back of the net. It was a super sweet moment.

After publishing video of that goal yesterday, @dlj26 tweeted us to say he’d love to hear the voice of the Capitals, John Walton, call the goal. We agreed, so we asked the notoriously busy play-by-play man. He came through in the clutch.

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Photos by Chris Gordon.

Lauren Santora looked fine today. She does many days. That’s the thing with chronic illness: it’s not as much a story of acute calamities — Lauren has been hospitalized several times in her eight years — but the practicalities of everyday life. The Santoras and other families with chronically ill kids face a quiet struggle that outsiders often fail to grasp.

Some days she’s good. Some days she isn’t. Her parents have to monitor her condition constantly. Lauren has type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which autoantibodies attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

The toll of Lauren’s illness is not confined to herself. It also falls her mother, Dianna. It falls on her father, Joe. And it falls on her brother, Ryan, who also suffers from ADHD. Both siblings also have celiac disease, another autoimmune condition.

Lauren has been playing hockey since she was two-years-old. She presents herself as a articulate and joyful little girl. Every day, Lauren tries to lead a normal life. But with chronic illness, you never quite get there.

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