BellemareOrlov

Photo: Matt Slocum

Late in the third period of Game Three, Flyers forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare delivered a reckless hit on Dmitry Orlov, driving the Capitals defenseman’s head into the end boards. He was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct with a disciplinary hearing scheduled for Tuesday. In the evening, the NHL delivered its verdict.

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Photo: Rob Carr

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is stopping pucks this postseason at a rate of 98.4 percent. On the other side of the ice, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason is saving just 88.9 percent of shots on net. In Game Two of the first round on Saturday, Holtby turned aside all but one of Philly’s 42 shots. Despite the Capitals getting heavily outplayed at even-strength, they won 4-1.

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Rockville Slim - Unleash the Fury

Remy and Bowser, step aside; I think we’ve got a new best Caps rap jam. From the immensely talented Rockville Slim, we’re happy to debut “Unleash the Fury.”

The scope of this thing is huge. There’s footage of major area ice rinks, some roller derby action, clips with The Horn Guy and Loud Goat, shots from inside the Hirshhorn National Portrait Gallery, plus jabs at the crummy cell phone reception at Verizon Center and our fair city’s football team.

Not to mention, this song is kind of a banger. Those horns are boss. Turn it up.

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caps-opening-videos

Photo: Chris Gordon

The playoffs are known as the second season. Ahead of puck drop on Thursday night, the Caps game entertainment crew put in overtime to overhaul their opening videos for that second season.

In past years, the videos featured rock music and built on design and promotion themes established earlier in the season. This year they’ve added a new layer: sports psychology.

In the pre-opening video, PA Announcer Wes Johnson narrates a stirring speech through a minute-long highlight package. The clip addresses Caps fans’ mental scars from past playoff failures and visualizes success for the 2015-16 postseason. Wes ends with a warning to anyone trying to get in our favorite team’s way: “Our time in now!”

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It’s always good to remember where you came from to motivate you on where you want to go next. The Washington Capitals lost in the second round last season to the New York Rangers after taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. Over the offseason, GM Brian MacLellan brought in TJ Oshie and Justin Williams. He also re-signed Braden Holtby to a five-year deal.

Those moves helped push the Caps over the top and have a historic season.

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Three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams was honored Sunday night at Verizon Center ahead of his 1000th career NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks. Williams received a commemorative crystal from the NHL, a silver stick from the Capitals, and a Scottish golf vacation for two from the players. (A nodding Nicklas Backstrom looked particularly proud of that last one.)

Williams’ was joined on the ice by Caps owner Ted Leonsis and President Dick Patrick; players/scratches Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Brooks Orpik; and Williams’ adorable family — his wife Kelly, his daughter Jade, and his son Jaxon.

The Caps’ commemorative video was sweet. There were cameos from many of Williams’ former and current teammates including Alex Ovechkin (“It’s Ovi”) and Mike Richards. Williams’ family also submitted videos. Justin’s mother Denise poof’d her hair like her son did during the Caps team photo. Justin’s son Jaxon called his father his hero.

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When TJ Oshie got traded to the Capitals in early July for Troy Brouwer, Oshie was forced to sever ties with St. Louis, a team he spent roughly a quarter of his life with. Many Blues fans were sad to see the United States Olympian go. None more so than five-year-old Libby Lu, who I’m going to go ahead and say is Oshie’s biggest fan. Lu’s parents recorded her reaction to the news of Oshie’s departure and her breakdown went viral.

Oshie did his part to try and heal her wounds. Oshie surprised Lu during a live interview on SportsCenter and even sent her a tiny Caps jersey. On Saturday, ahead of the his first game back against his former team, Oshie met Lu in the bowels of Scottrade Center. Their interactions are so danged cute and the Caps captured the whole thing.

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OvechkinDogCesarMillan

Alex Ovechkin is stocky and swift. With one quick move, he can leave you bloody and terrified. Ovechkin is aggressive, never backing down from a fight, leaving people who come near him begging their don’t feel the brunt of his attack. But I’m taking about two different animals. One of them plays hockey for the Washington Capitals. The other is a dog.

Friday night on National Geographic Wild’s Cesar 911, hosted famed “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, one of them was featured. It didn’t involve terrible Russian EDM, so I’m sorry to say it was Ovechkin the German Shepard, who sported an Ovi Winter Classic jersey in one of the pictures shown on the show.

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Braden Holtby sat at the far end of the Capitals locker room for a few minutes, staring straight ahead. As reporters began to file in, Holtby walked out of the room to gather himself, returning about 10 minutes later. Earlier in the night, he held a 3-1 lead against the New York Islanders, just 13 minutes away from tying Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur for the most wins in a single season. With the Capitals possessing the best third period goal differential in the league and a significant shot advantage, Verizon Center roared as every save put him closer to the NHL record of 48 wins.

But in the final minutes, Holtby buckled, making an elementary miscue that ended up in the back of his net, putting the Islanders within one.

“I just, I made a mistake and it changed the momentum,” a dejected Holtby said of the play after the game. “It was just one of those plays I got caught between covering it and putting it in the corner, and when you’re in between decisions, it never ends up well.”

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orlov-orpik

Saturday night, the Washington Capitals got shut out by the Blues 4-0. St. Louis’ first goal, by Kyle Brodziak, started with a turnover behind the net by Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Alan May, a veteran of 393 NHL games and 17 professional seasons of hockey, broke down the play and showed how Orlov can learn from veteran Brooks Orpik. This is brilliant stuff (and no, he didn’t pay me to write that, though he probably should, considering how mean he is to me online).

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