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Capitals' Barry Trotz hopes NHL considers fining Nick Foligno for embellishment

Capitals' Barry Trotz hopes NHL considers fining Nick Foligno for embellishment

Nicklas Backstrom was having another one of those games. A goal in the first period. A sweet saucer pass to Alex Ovechkin for a power play tally in the second. Then...it all took a sharp turn for the worse late in the third.

Backstrom was whistled for high sticking Nick Foligno with 1:34 remaining in a tied game.

Except Backstrom’s stick did not appear to touch Foligno, who threw his head back, presumably to get the attention of the referees.

Alexander Wennberg and the NHL’s top-rated power play wasted no time potting the game winner, and the Blue Jackets escaped Verizon Center with a 3-2 win, their second over the Capitals in a span of six days.

As you might imagine, Backstrom and Coach Barry Trotz seethed afterward. Trotz, in fact, went as far as to say Foligno should face discipline from the NHL for embellishment.

“I hope the league looks at that,” Trotz said. “If you see the replay, he doesn’t really touch him. And his head pops up when Backy’s stick is on the way down.”

According to league rules, a player is subject to a warning on his first offense. After that, the league can hand out a fine of up to $5,000, depending on the number of priors.  

“The league will look at that,” Trotz said. “We have fines for that. I wouldn’t be too happy if I was a referee.”

Backstrom proclaimed his innocence, backing up what slow-mo replay showed in high definition: he went to lift the Columbus captain’s stick as he carried the puck out of the corner. And although Backstrom's stick came up high, it did not appear to make contact with Foligno’s visor.

“I didn’t touch him,” Backstrom said. “Last two minutes if you get a penalty that’s not a penalty, that’s tough. You guys seen the replay.”

Interestingly, Backstrom and Foligno were both sent off for matching roughing fouls in the second period after Backstrom took exception to a Foligno hit along the boards.

Although there was probably no connection between the two incidents, you can be certain of this much: the Caps cannot afford to have a point (or points) taken from them, particularly in the difficult Metropolitan Division. With the win, the Blue Jackets pulled to within two points of Washington in the standings.

“We should have got at least got one point out of this,” Backstrom said.

FROZEN MOMENTS: BEST IMAGES OF THE CAPITALS' SEASON THUS FAR

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Antti Raanta closes the door on the Caps and their win streak

Antti Raanta closes the door on the Caps and their win streak

WASHINGTON -- Antti Raanta's heroics were the difference as the Capitals saw their six-game win streak snapped on Monday in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Raanta made a number of incredible saves in the first period so as not to allow the Caps to take control. Evgeny Kuznetsov helped the team battle back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but they could not complete the comeback and ultimately fell in the shootout.

The loss snaps a six-game win streak for Washington. The point streak lives on, however, and was extended to 12 games. Here is how they lost.

Antti Raanta

This game could have gotten ugly early. The Caps’ offense was flying to start and generated a number of really nice plays, but Raanta was there each time with the great save.

Just over two minutes into the game, Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Jakub Vrana beautifully on the backdoor and it looked like he had nothing but net to shoot on. Raanta stretched out in the splits to get over in time to stop just enough of the puck to keep it out of the net. It squeaked by him, but Jakub Chychrun was there to take it off the goal line. Just a few minutes later, Raanta denied Tom Wilson on a 2-on-1 with the right pad. He denied Vrana again with a great glove save to push the puck wide.

In all, Raanta made 12 saves and Arizona walked away with a 1-0 lead in what was a dominant first period for the Caps. He finished the game with 31 saves on 34 shots and denied both shootout attempts he faced.

A definitive review

Just 10 seconds into the second period, Brad Richardson threw a puck to the front of the net that deflected off the skate of Christian Fischer and into the glove of Ilya Samsonov. It looked like nothing more than a decent save, but the play was reviewed to see if Samsonov's glove was over the goal line. From the initial views, it looked like there was no way to definitively tell if the puck was over the line or not. From an overhead view, however, the camera showed the puck through the webbing of Samsonov's glove and you could see the puck was in fact over the line. So instead of a faceoff off a Samsonov save, Arizona was awarded their second goal of the game.

Grabner's breakaway

Arizona pestered the Caps all night long and made sure that nothing Washington wanted to do came easy. 

In the second period as the Caps tried to break the puck up through the neutral zone, T.J. Oshie's pass was intercepted by Michael Grabner and he was off to the races. Grabner has the type of speed that if he has a breakaway, you are not going to catch him. He skated in on Samsonov and wristed the shot through the 5-hole of Samsonov to make it 3-0. It came just 35 seconds after Fischer's goal.

Eller draws Oshie offside

Oshie scored a phenomenal overtime goal to give the Caps the win, completing the 3-0 comeback and everyone lived happily ever after...but then the referees reviewed the goal.

As Oshie and Lars Eller broke into the offensive zone, Eller stumbled with the puck. That drew Oshie off who continued into the zone. The review showed that Oshie had indeed entered the zone before the puck and the goal was taken off the board.

Kuznetsov hits the post in the shootout

Kuznetsov would not be denied all night long. He was the best player on the ice for either team on Monday and scored twice to help the Caps rebound from a 3-0 deficit and force overtime. In the shootout, he took Washington's second shot. He showed some slick moves and had Raanta beat, but he struck the post. Seeing the Caps' best player come up empty-handed on the shootout was a poetic way for them to lose. Conor Garland came up next and scored on his attempt against Samsonov, thus ending the game.

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Commentator Don Cherry fired after 'divisive remarks'

Commentator Don Cherry fired after 'divisive remarks'

Don Cherry has been fired from Sportsnet after making controversial comments about immigrants on-air Saturday evening.

Cherry, 85, criticized the decreasing amount of Canadians wearing poppies to honor fallen Canadian soldiers on Remembrance Day, singling out Toronto immigrants. 

“You people . . . you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said on his show, Coach's Corner. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network, released a statement Monday announcing that Cherry would be stepping down.

Ron MacLean, Cherry's co-host, apologized Sunday on his own show, Hometown Hockey, for Cherry's comments.

“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory — which were flat out wrong," MacLean said.

Cherry, the host of Coach's Corner since 1982, has been a prominent hockey personality for decades.

He drew the ire of Caps fans last year when he called Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov a "jerk" for his bird-walk celebration.

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