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Caps Today, 5/28/18

May 28, 2018
The Capitals face the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena tonight in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. 

Capitals captain  Alex Ovechkin is making his first appearance at the Stanley Cup Final. Ovechkin has scored 12 goals this postseason and is now two goals shy of the franchise record for most goals in the postseason set by John Druce, when he scored 14 goals in 15 games in 1990. In addition, Ovechkkin has registered 22 points (12g, 10a) in 19 games and is two points shy of Evgeny Kuznetsov's current mark this postseason (Kuznetsov: 11g, 13a), which is the all-time franchise mark for points in a postseason. Ovechkin, who is fourth among active players with 58 career playoff goals, is tied with Bernie Geoffrion, Luc Robitaille, Mike Modano and Guy Lafleur for 36th in NHL history. Additionally, Ovechkin is tied for third among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.50) and tied for sixth in playoff points per game (0.97). Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks fourth, and his 0.50 goals per game ranks first among player on that list. In 116 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 112 points (58g, 54a), and ranks first in franchise history in playoff games played, goals, points, power play goals (19), power play points (48), game-winning goals (8), shots (527) and second in assists. Ovechkin aims to become the third player in NHL history to score 600 career regular-season goals before winning his first Stanley Cup (Luc Robitaille: 620 goals before 2002 Cup; Dave Andreychuk 634 goals before 2004 Cup). Additionally, Ovechkin can become the 16th player in NHL history to play at least 1,000 career regular-season games before winning his first Cup and the second to do so with the team for which he has played at least 1,000 games (Steve Yzerman with Detroit). He also seeks to become the ninth player to have 1,000 career points before capturing his first Cup. If the Capitals win the series and capture the Stanley Cup, Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) would become the first Russian player to captain a Stanley Cup champion. 

TOP GAME NOTES

Holtbeast – After recording consecutive shutouts in Games 6 and 7 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Braden Holtby became the second goaltender in franchise history to record consecutive shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Olie Kolzig, who did so in Games 4 and 5 of the 1998 Conference Semifinals against the Senators. Holtby’s shutout marked his sixth playoff shutout of his career, tied with Kolzig for the most in franchise history. In addition, Holtby became the 27th goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in a Game 7 and just the fifth to do so to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Of those five goaltenders, Harry Lumley and Dominik Hasek also recorded shutouts in Game 6 of their respective series. Holtby is the 13th goaltender in NHL history to post two consecutive shutouts in elimination games. Holtby improved to 3-4 in seven career Game 7 appearances with a 1.81 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and a shutout. New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (6-2) is the only active NHL goaltender with more career Game 7 appearances. Holtby also improved his record to 8-5 in elimination games with a 1.73 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and two shutouts. In the playoffs this postseason, Holtby is 12-6 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .924 save percentage with two shutouts. Holtby ranks first among all NHL goaltenders since the 1956 season (min. 60 games played) in career save percentage and first in career goals-against average. Holtby has allowed two goals or fewer in 49 of his 77 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 35-14 record in those games. 

Kuz Control - Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded an assist in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to extend his point streak to 10 games (6g, 9a), establishing a new franchise record for the longest point streak during the playoffs. Kuznetsov is just the seventh player since 1998 to register a playoff point streak of at least 10 games and the first since 2014. Kuznetsov’s 24 points (11g, 13a) lead the playoffs and mark a franchise record for most points in a single postseason. Dating back to Feb. 24, Kuznetsov has 52 points (22g, 30a) in 37 games. Additionally, Kuznetsov is the eighth Russian-born player to record double digits in goals for a single playoff year and the fifth to do so at 25 or younger. In 58 career playoff games, Kuznetsov has recorded 43 points (22g, 21a), tied with Mike Gartner for 12th place in franchise history.

Time to Shine - Andre Burakovsky scored his first two goals of the playoffs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning to become just the second player in franchise history to score twice in a Game 7, joining Dale Hunter in the 1988 Division Semifinals vs. Philadelphia. Burakovsky recorded 25 points (12g, 13a) during the 2017-18 regular season, his fourth with the Capitals. Among his eight career postseason goals (44 playoff games played) are three multi-goal performances (2g vs. New York Rangers in Game 4 of the 2015 Second Round; 2g at Pittsburgh in Game 6 of the 2017 Second Round).

Super Carly - John Carlson has recorded 16 points (3g, 13a) this postseason, setting a new franchise mark for points by a defenseman. Carlson’s 16 points are tied for the most among defensemen in the playoffs. Carlson has recorded a point in 11 of the Capitals’ 19 games this postseason. In 95 career playoff games, which is tied for the most in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 51 points (16g, 35a) and one game-winning goal.  Carlson’s 16 career playoff goals are tied for the most in franchise history (Hatcher) among defensemen, while his 51 points are third in franchise history. 

Back at the Cup – The 2018 Stanley Cup Final marks the Capitals' second appearance in franchise history. The Capitals faced the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, losing the series 4-0. Joe Juneau led the Capitals in points (1g, 3a) while Brian Bellows led the team with two goals. Goaltender Olie Kolzig stopped 150 of the 163 shots he faced (.920 save percentage). During the 1998 playoff run, Juneau and Adam Oates each led the team with 17 points (Juneau: 7g, 10a; Oates: 6g, 11a). 

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps and Golden Knights Meet Up on Monday in Vegas

Washington Post: For the Capitals, it’s about time / The Capitals had a way to keep Nate Schmidt; Backstrom health update / In Stanley Cup finals, Capitals face down yet another familiar foe: Marc-Andre Fleury / The Stanley Cup in sight, Alex Ovechkin is all in as Capitals head to Vegas / Las Vegas, shaken by tragedy, finds an unlikely rallying point: Its first-year NHL team / Svrluga: George McPhee and Brian MacLellan go back decades. Now their teams are playing for the Stanley Cup. / Fancy Stats: Capitals’ depth a huge advantage over the Golden Knights in Stanley Cup finals / D.C. Sports Bog: The Capitals’ Stanley Cup appearance feels personally vindicating. That’s dumb. Oh well. / Monumental campaigns: The stories behind D.C.’s championship contenders

Washington Times: Washington in the throes of full-on 'Caps-mania' / Ovechkin closer than ever to quieting critics / Unlike Golden Knights, Washington expansion teams were (mostly) dreadful / George McPhee has his fingerprints all over this Stanley Cup Final / Capitals could spoil Vegas' run, but don't call them villains / Capitals' run likely to spike interest in youth hockey

NBC Sports Washington: 4 keys for the Caps to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final / MacLellan on facing McPhee in Stanley Cup Final: 'It's a little awkward' / What winning the Stanley Cup would actually mean, a fan's perspective / Capital One Bank just made a Caps-themed update to its logo and we're here for it / Want the Stanley Cup? Five ways the Caps can beat the Golden Knights

NHL.com: 5 Keys: Capitals at Golden Knights, Game 1 / Golden Knights, Capitals ready for unpredictable Cup Final / Ovechkin feeling no pressure in Stanley Cup Final against Golden Knights / Capitals eager to experience Stanley Cup Final against Golden Knights / Capitals must cope with 'Vegas way' vs. Golden Knights in Final / McPhee, MacLellan have Golden Knights, Capitals in Stanley Cup Final / Golden Knights-Capitals Stanley Cup winner debated by NHL.com writers / Poile 'couldn't be happier' to see Trotz in Cup Final with Capitals / Stanley Cup Final Buzz: Golden Knights, Capitals set for Game 1 / Capitals, Golden Knights play it safe on Stanley Cup Final Media Day / Stanley Cup Final blog: Chandler Stephenson / Capitals coach takes another 'hot lap' before morning skate / Harper shares city with Capitals, but pulls for hometown Golden Knights

AP: Holtby used midseason reprieve for personal growth / Knight-Cap: Nate Schmidt knows both sides of Cup matchup / George McPhee has fingerprints all over Stanley Cup Final / Capitals, Golden Knights in improbable Stanley Cup Final

The Athletic: LeBrun: McPhee faces MacLellan, Capitals for the Cup — it’s a story you can’t make up

Bleacher Report: Complete Guide to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final / Alex Ovechkin Jokes Vladimir Putin Wished Him Luck Ahead of Stanley Cup Final / Lil Jon to Hold Free Concert Before Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final

Canadian Press: Stanley Cup breakdown: What happens in Vegas

CBS Sports: 2018 Stanley Cup Final odds, picks: Golden Knights vs. Capitals predictions from dialed-in NHL expert

ESPN: Marc-Andre Fleury leads Conn Smythe race heading into the Stanley Cup Final / Ranking every player in the Stanley Cup Final

The Guardian: Stanley Cup predictions: Ovechkin v Fleury – and a shock appearance from Celine Dion

LA Times: Golden Knights vs. Capitals: How Vegas and Washington match up in the Stanley Cup Final / Marveling at a Stanley Cup Final that 'was never meant to be'

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Wilson thrives as polarizing presence on Capitals’ top line

The Loudoun Tribune: Lovettsville? Not Any More – It’s Capitalsville Now

MLB.com: Bryce Harper told NHL Network why he loves the Las Vegas Golden Knights

National Post: Ovechkin is finally in the final — but forgive him for not smiling yet

NBC4 Washington: Watch Parties, Deals for the Capitals' Stanley Cup Run

NBC Sports: Capitals vs. Golden Knights: Your guide to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final / Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has better goaltending?

New York Post: Capitals’ firepower will determine Stanley Cup final / Gary Bettman’s meddling comes to fruition in this Stanley Cup (Capitals mentioned)

New York Times: Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Capitals and Golden Knights Take Different Routes

NHL česky: Capitals got rid of the pins. Even for the final? (Link in Czech)

Omnisport: Stanley Cup Final 2018: Las Vegas bans capital letters to support Golden Knights

Philly.com: Vegas - Vegas! - and Capitals are ready for improbable Stanley Cup Finals

Play.it USA: Ovechkin's scream is very final for the Capitals (Link in Italian)

Reuters: NHL: Backstrom not at full strength but ready to go for Caps

The Ringer: The Capitals–Golden Knights Stanley Cup Matchup Is a Breath of Fresh Air for the NHL

Sporting News: Stanley Cup Final 2018: George McPhee's fingerprints all over Capitals, Golden Knights

Šport.sk: Stanley Cup Final: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals, tonight! (Link in Slovak)

Sports Capitol: MacLellan, McPhee and a strained relationship that receives a twist / Friend: Capitals are little brother all grown up

Sports Illustrated: Stanley Cup Final Series Breakdown: Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Sports Illustrated Kids: How Could the Caps Win the Cup?

SportsNet: Capitals’ Tom Wilson unfazed by the critics and keyboard warriors / Surreal Vegas-Washington series the ‘Final that was never meant to be’ / Golden Knights vs. Capitals as close a matchup as they come

STATS LLC: Capitals stand in way of Golden Knights' fairytale ending

Toronto Star: Stanley Cup final preview: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals

Trib Live: Ten things to consider in the Vegas-Washington Stanley Cup Final / Ex-Penguins Brooks Orpik, Marc-Andre Fleury know Cup success

TSN: The Capitals brought back a hilarious routine ahead of the Stanley Cup Final / Hockey fans will love Marc-Andre Fleury's comments on trying to stop Ovechkin's one-timer

TVA Sports: Objective # 41 For Ted Leonsis / Still Fleury In The Legs (Links in French)

USA Today: Alex Ovechkin jokes about getting well-wishes from Vladimir Putin

WJLA: Capital One changes website logo to support Caps ahead of Stanley Cup finals

WNST: Caps Will Face a Strong and Confident Vegas Squad in the Stanley Cup Final

WNWO NBC 24: Capital One changes website logo to support Caps ahead of Stanley Cup finals

WTOP: Capitals have healthy swagger heading into Stanley Cup Final / Catch Caps’ Stanley Cup Final viewing parties at Capital One Arena

WUSA 9: The highs and lows of the Capitals' franchise / Hockey players who made the ultimate sacrifice

Yahoo! Canada Sports: 6 storylines that make the 2018 Stanley Cup Final so special

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Jay Beagle | May 27 / Nicklas Backstrom | May 27 / Matt Niskanen | May 27 / Evgeny Kuznetsov | May 27 / MacLellan and Trotz | May 27 / TJ Oshie | May 27 / Tom Wilson | May 27 / Alex Ovechkin | May 27

CBS Sports: Washington DC vs Las Vegas is a good thing for hockey

NBC Sports Washington: Barry Trotz does the hot lap in Vegas prior to Game 1

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Chandler Stephenson / NHL Tonight: Devante Smith-Pelly / NHL Tonight: Tom Wilson / NHL Tonight: Nicklas Backstrom / NHL Tonight: Matt Niskanen / NHL Tonight: Andre Burakovsky / Ovechkin on reaching Cup Final / Best of the Capitals at Media Day / Kuznetsov on Capitals' run / Orpik on Cup Final matchup / Oshie on preparing for Game 1 / Holtby on Capitals' growth / MacLellan, Trotz on Caps' run / McPhee on Fleury, time with Caps

Sports Capitol: Red Line: Live from Vegas with Capitals radio voice Joe Beninati

SportsNet: Carlson Cites Past Capitals Failures As Learning Experiences / Backstrom Talks About The Long Road To The Stanley Cup / Ovechkin Enjoying The Spotlight Ahead Of Game 1 / Holtby ‘Soaked In Knowledge’ During Unique Capitals' Season / Golden Knights Mindful Of Ovechkin Ahead Of Stanley Cup

TSN: Ovechkin jokes about phone call from Putin / The Panel: The 'George McPhee' Stanley Cup Final / Ovechkin: 'No one believed in us or Vegas, now we fight for Cup' / Was anyone betting on Capitals to make Cup Final? / Smith-Pelly: Trotz yelling was the turning point for Capitals' season / Holtby has taken positives from struggles early in the playoffs / The Panel: Two great storylines meet in the Stanley Cup Final / Trotz explains what changed for Washington over the last year / McPhee talks about building the Golden Knights and Capitals

TSN Toronto: McGuire: Golden Knights are very consistent in how they attack and defend

WFIR News Talk Radio: Stanley Cup Finals could result in more Dawgs fans

WNST: Kenny Albert Discusses Caps’ Stanley Cup Chances / Former Skipjacks coach Doug Maclean joins Nestor to discuss magic of Washington Caps / Smokin Al Koken of NBCS Washington joins Nestor to discuss Caps Stanley Cup run / Rob Carlin of NBC Washington joins Nestor from Las Vegas to talk Caps Fever / Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski of ESPN joins Nestor from Vegas to preview Caps and Golden Knights / Former Caps goalie Shawn Simpson joins Nestor from Ottawa to preview Stanley Cup Finals / Caps play by play voice Joe Beninati talks all things Stanley Cup Finals with Nestor

Golden Knights Clips:

The Athletic: Media Circus: Mike Emrick on the amazing Golden Knights, how much longer he wants to call games, and life away from the rink

The Hockey News: Fleury Is The Clear Conn Smythe Favorite, And He Could Win It Regardless Of Final Outcome

Knights on Ice:   Breaking down the best candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy / Journey to the Cup: How the Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final / Familiar Foes: Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Ovechkin meet again

NHL.com: Golden Knights focused ahead of Game 1 against Capitals / Schmidt set to lead Golden Knights against former teammates in Cup Final / Golden Knights form bond with first responders on way to Cup Final / Engelland at home with Golden Knights in Stanley Cup Final / Gallant plays huge role in Golden Knights' run to Stanley Cup Final / Stanley Cup Final blog: Ryan Carpenter / 'The Simpsons' predicted Stanley Cup would end up in Las Vegas / Las Vegas refusing to use capital letters during Stanley Cup Final

Las Vegas Review-Journal: George the Builder: McPhee constructed Stanley Cup Final teams / Golden Knights lean on James Neal’s postseason experience / Golden Knights look for ‘way to make game hard’ for Backstrom / Golden Knights, Capitals closely matched in Stanley Cup Final / Lagace steps up as Fleury’s backup for Stanley Cup Final / Knights swept Caps in regular season, but does it matter? / Golden Knights crush Capitals in Review-Journal opinion poll / At long last, Golden Knights’ Deryk Engelland set for Final act / Where does the Golden Knights’ season rank among all-time best? / Golden Knights hope Stanley Cup makes return trip to Las Vegas / golden knights supporters’ #nocaps campaign sweeps Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sun: Golden Knights storybook season culminates in personal matchup for GM McPhee / Column: A golden marriage between team and city in Las Vegas / VIDEO: Alex Tuch's unconventional journey to the Stanley Cup Final

USA Today: Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt rewards general manager's persistence to acquire him

GAME NOTES
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