Photo: Dave Reginek

The Washington Capitals beat one of the best possession teams in the league on Sunday, but not before weathering a last-minute onslaught by the Detroit Red Wings. That onslaught included six shot attempts Рfive of which were blocked by Washington defenders.

Karl Alzner literally saved the game himself, diving in front of a Riley Sheahan shot with 15.8 seconds remaining. Teemu Pulkkinen’s point shot ricocheted off Matt Niskanen’s skate to a wide-open Sheahan at the left circle. With Holtby facing the other direction, Alzner sacrificed his body – much like Tom Wilson did a few minutes earlier – and blocked the attempt with an awkward double-leg slide.

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Photo: @TedStarkey

The Ottawa Senators’ Skating Prime Ministers — John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, William Lyon MacKenzie King, and Robert Borden —¬†didn’t just skate around and crash into each other ridiculously tonight. They also tossed some easter eggs onto the ice and, oh yeah, challenged the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents to a duel.

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Because we know you guys like breaking news like this, here’s Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin revealing what instrument he wishes he could play.

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Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season on Tuesday night. That milestone naturally gave reporters the opportunity to reflect on exactly how great the Capitals captain has been.

Speaking with Michael Jenkins, CSN Washington’s Jill Sorenson (follow her on Twitter here) said it was¬†Ovechkin’s durability over the last nine seasons that has impressed her most.

Basically, Russian machine never breaks.

Check this out.

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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 credit: Patrick McDermott

On Thursday night, Adam Oates was back behind the bench at Verizon Center for the first time since being fired at the end of last season. Much has changed since then. On this night, the Capitals were playing with sticks that were familiar to them and their coach was not giving his players the cold shoulder. But the most important change, at least on this night, came on defense. Oates instituted a defense system that required blueliners to give up the puck almost immediately after gaining it. This led to forced passes and a myriad of odd-man breaks against. It turned former Norris Trophy nominees like Mike Green into subject of ridicule. The Capitals defense, on the whole, was very bad.

This year, however, things are different. In offseason, new general manager Brian MacLellan added some much needed balance to the Capitals by signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to big money deals. New coach Barry Trotz has also freed up its defensemen, allowing them to carry the puck when necessary. This has led to a resurgence for Green, who has 39 points this season. Other blueliners have also chipped in. Through 73 games, Karl Alzner had more than doubled his career high in goals and surpassed his career high in assists.

Against the Devils, Alzner added his fifth goal of the year in a decidedly un-Oatesian way.

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Photo: @beatsbydre

Monday afternoon, after surprising six-year-old Bensten Schone at his McLean, VA¬†home, Alex Ovechkin decided– oh heck, let’s just make 35 more¬†kids’ days too.

Ovechkin and Beats By Dre hosted youth hockey players from Fort Dupont’s Ice Hockey Club for a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Former Caps and current CSN Washington analysts Alan May and Brent Johnson joined in on the fun too.

While the event was sponsored by a multi-billion dollar company, Ovechkin did not spend his time shilling merchandise. Instead, he skated with the kids and was a big adorable goofball.

See exhibits a, b, and c.

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#Caps win! #FistBumps #CapsWild

A video posted by Washington Capitals (@washingtoncaps) on

After every victory, Barry Trotz has a tradition. He stands outside the locker room and offers fist bumps to the players. All year, the Capitals have documented this on Instagram. I, a noted poopy pants, think this whole thing is contrived. Apparently Brooks Orpik agrees.

Watch as Orpik walks by and ignores his head coach after the Caps’ 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Maybe¬†Orpik’s most endearing moment of the season.

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Photo: @capivan8

During Wednesday’s practice, the Capitals welcomed a fourth Russian onto the ice. Four-year-old Maxim Goloschapov was flown from Moscow to Kettler Capitals Iceplex because he won a promotional campaign held by Bauer Russia.

A few months ago, Bauer asked their followers to “show us your hardest shot by putting it on Instagram with the hashtag #MX3Russia. The winner gets to go to Washington to meet Alex Ovechkin.” Teeny tiny Maxim won with these two videos.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Eventful Game Against Buffalo


Photo: Elsa

In Saturday’s 6-1 trouncing of the Sabres, Evgeny Kuznetsov caught my eye on a couple of goals. On the lone Sabres tally, Kuzy seemed confused on where he should be. On one Caps goal, Kuzy was instrumental in helping to end Brooks Laich’s long goal-less streak.

Before taking a look at the two plays, I’d caution against reaching grand conclusions on Kuznetsov’s game based off of any two plays, including these. But, Kuznetsov has been criticized for inconsistent play this season, and performances like the one detailed below are an example of what draws that criticism.

Here’s what Barry Trotz had to say about the rookie’s development this morning:

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