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Washington Capitals Weekly Update: February 18-24

Washington Capitals struggle

The Washington Capitals (26-21-9, 61 points) have earned points in four consecutive games but still sit just outside a Eastern Conference Wild Card playoff berth. The Capitals had a winning week (2-0-1) for the first time since January 7th-13th. This week they faced three Eastern Conference opponents and earned 5 points. Their three-game winning streak ended Saturday night with an overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. Washington had a lead in each game and scored the first goal in both wins. Fifteen different players had a point this week.

General Manager Brian MacLellan hasn’t yet made any trades. The Capitals only have five games before the 2024 NHL trade deadline. Two of those games are against Metropolitan Division opponents. The Capitals next two games will be a back-to-back set against the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. Here is the Washington Capitals weekly update for February 18th to 24th.

Washington Capitals Weekly Updates: February 18-24

On-Ice Results

Two Strong Wins

Washington started the week against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Connor McMichael opened the scoring less than a minute into the game, tying his career-high goal total. He scored again in the second period to put the Capitals up 2-1 after 40 minutes. Coach Spencer Carbery said his team “delivered in a big way” in the third period. Moreover, Washington added four goals in the final period, including two from Alex Ovechkin, to win 6-2. The Capitals scored five of their six goals within 10 feet of the net. Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for three different multi-point scorers in the win. It was the first multi-goal game of McMichael’s career. He followed it up with another two-goal performance on Thursday in Tampa Bay.

The Capitals led the Lightning 2-0 after the first period thanks to goals by Nicolas Aube-Kubel and McMichael. It was the fifth time in six games the Capitals scored the first goal. Both teams scored in the middle frame. Brandon Hagel beat Charlie Lindgren with a wrist shot between the faceoff circles, making the score 2-1. Three minutes later, Anthony Mantha restored Washington’s two-goal lead. Mantha has scored 17 five-on-five goals this season which leads the Capitals in even-strength scoring. The Lightning tied the game at three in the first five minutes of the final period. Rasmus Sandin scored his third goal of the season with five minutes remaining, and McMichael added an empty-net goal with 1:02 remaining in the game. Finally, Washington won 5-3, giving it a win streak of three games in which it scored at least four goals.

A Close Loss

On Saturday, the Capitals faced the team from South Florida, the Panthers, for the second time this month. Neither team scored in the first period, but Washington led 8-4 in shots on goal. Defenceman Nick Jensen left the ice in the middle of the first period after being tripped by Gustav Forsling. He returned to the game for the second period and finished the game with three hits and two penalty minutes in 17:39 of playing time. Florida scored the first goal early in the second period. Sonny Milano scored a power play goal to tie the game before second intermission, and Tom Wilson gave Washington the lead with a power-play strike of his own midway through the third period. Florida captain Aleksander Barkov answered on the power play six minutes later. The game went to overtime tied 2-2. In addition, both teams had rushes up-ice during overtime. Forsling won the game for Florida on a 3-on-1 play. Sam Bennett stripped the puck from Milano at the Florida blue line and carried it into the Capitals zone with Forsling and Carter Verhaeghe against Dylan Strome. Bennett passed over Strome’s stick to Forsling in the right circle for a one-time shot under Charlie Lindgren’s left arm.

Injury Updates

The Capitals had more bad luck with injuries this week. Defender Martin Fehervary, who twisted his leg early in the Capitals game last Saturday, is week to week with a lower-body injury. Three forwards joined him on the injured report this week. Nic Dowd left Tuesday’s game in the first period and did not return. His upper-body injury is considered day-to-day. Furthermore, the Capitals placed him on the injured reserve Tuesday night.

There is one more important news piece to mention before we end this weekly update on the Washington Capitals. Then on Thursday, T.J. Oshie dropped to his knees abruptly at the Tampa blue line late in the game. He was only able to crawl to the bench once play stopped and needed assistance to return to the dressing room. However, he has not yet been evaluated by team medical staff, but Spencer Carbery said the level of concern is “fairly high.” Anthony Mantha did not play the end of the game in Florida. Carbery confirmed postgame that Mantha is injured but the significance of the injury is uncertain. The Capitals have the third-highest total man-games lost to injury this season, according to NHLInjuryViz.

Main photo: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports


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