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Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all made their 2016 World Championship debuts for Team Russia, Saturday. Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer didn’t dent the twine, but his Caps teammates sure were busy. Orlov delivered one of the biggest hits of his career while Kuznetsov, the Caps regular season leading point scorer, tallied on a brilliant mid-air deflection.

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Dmitry Orlov is in Russia for the IIHF World Championship, the NIT Tournament of the hockey world. That’s bittersweet, but this hit by Orlov on Nino Niederreiter of the Swiss team during Saturday’s game is just sweet. It is freaking sweet.

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Photo: Russian Hockey Federation

Friday afternoon, Washington Capitals Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov arrived safely in Moscow, home of the 2016 World Championship. Dressed from head to toe in nationalistic Team Russia gear, each Capital met with the media and talked about their disappointing finish to their NHL season.

“We are going to try to make up for the unfortunate showing in the NHL by winning the tournament and showing good hockey,” Alex Ovechkin said as translated by Igor Kleyner. “Of course it’s disappointing. But we’ll think about it later. Right now al the thoughts are about the Worlds. We will do everything to win.”

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Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

There’s still more hockey to be played for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov. This morning, less than 12 hours after the Capitals’ season-ending loss to the Penguins, Russia announced that they were calling up the three Caps to their World Championship team.

The 2016 World Championship is being held in Saint Petersburg and Ovechkin’s hometown of Moscow.

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Lovejoy celebrates his goal (Photo: Rob Carr)

Capitals defensemen Dmitry Orlov went for the big hit, hoping to take Penguins center Nick Bonino out at the blue line. Instead, Orlov missed, colliding with Nate Schmidt. Bonino was left with an unfettered path to the net. He shot the puck on Braden Holtby before Ben Lovejoy cleaned up the rebound at the midway point of Game One on Thursday, tying the score at one.

Orlov, who, like Schmidt, is playing in his first postseason in the NHL, didn’t see the ice for the rest of the game, save for a brief 25-second shift early in the third period. He finished with less than six minutes of time on ice.

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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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Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, Dmitry Orlov became the target of the Philadelphia Flyers’ rage, as Pierre-Édouard Bellemare sent the Caps defenseman headfirst into the boards. As Orlov received medical attention on the bench, a Flyers fan threw a bracelet from the stands, striking Orly in the left cheek. Although bloodied, Orlov remained in the game and later assisted on a power-play goal by Jay Beagle, making the final score 6-1.

In the locker room, Orlov conducted a Russian-language interview with SovSport’s Natalia Bragilevskaya and spoke about how the game turned into a sideshow in the third period.

“Sometimes you just want to get the puck,” Orlov said. “But when they play dirty against you, that’s not hockey. I don’t even know what to call it. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Orlov confirmed he was “fine,” but said he’d prefer the Caps not “prolong this series.”

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Flyers forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare sparked a line brawl during Game Three against the Capitals Monday after he boarded Dmitry Orlov late in the third period. Bellemare earned five-minute major and a ten-minute game misconduct penalties, but the worst (for him) may be yet to come.

The league’s Department of Player Safety announced Bellemare will have a hearing today for the hit, which should could earn him supplemental discipline in the form of a suspension. No official word from DoPS on whether the hearing will be in person or over the phone.

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Photo: Elsa

At first, it all went according to plan. The house lights went down at exactly 7 PM. The arena lit up in a sea of orange and white lights glimmering off commemorative wristbands. A tribute to the recently deceased Ed Snider, who founded the Flyers in 1967 and had owned the team ever since, played on the big screen. All of Wells Fargo Center, from the seating bowl to the benches to the press box, applauded a great owner. Then Kate Smith and Lauren Hart sang their trademark “God Bless America” duet. Within a minute of puck drop, the Flyers had the first goal, wildly sliding into the boards in celebration. The roar from the fans was booming. This was their night for their owner.

“Ed was a dynamic visionary who turned Philadelphia into one of the great hockey towns in the world,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said before the game in a heartfelt press conference. “He believed in excellence — and in this team, the Flyers.”

But in the end, that team let him down.

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After falling behind 4-1 late in the third period, the Philadelphia Flyers tried to hurt people. Flyers forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare checked Dmitry Orlov in the numbers, causing the young Russian to slam into the boards head first. Orlov has a history of concussion problems.

It was a chickenshit hit.

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