The Washington Capitals finally got back to their winning ways. Well, at least three members of the team did.
The Capitals lost seven straight games before this weekend’s All-Star Game festivities in San Jose, but the Metropolitan Division team with Washington defenseman John Carlson, goaltender Braden Holtby and Coach Todd Reirden won the event’s three-on-three tournament, beating the Central Division, 10-5, in the championship game. The Metropolitan’s 11 players will divide the $1 million prize money.
Splitting time in net with New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Holtby saved 11 of 13 shots in the first game, then 12 of 17 in the second half of the championship game. Carlson tallied one assist. More importantly, both players got out of the weekend injury-free and will enjoy five days off as part of the Capitals' bye week before hosting the Calgary Flames on Friday.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had four goals and four assists in two games, was named the All-Star Game’s MVP.
Washington also tallied a victory in Friday night’s skills competition. With Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin not at the All-Star Game to defend his victory in the hardest shot competition from last season, it was on Carlson to ensure Washington went back-to-back in the event. Ovechkin won with a 101.3-mph shot, and Carlson topped that with his first try, registering 102.8 mph. He was the first of the field to shoot, and while San Jose’s Brent Burns also recorded a shot over 100 mph, no one got close to Carlson’s speed. His prize was $25,000.
“I didn’t have too much expectations, but I was excited to win. It was cool,” Carlson told reporters in San Jose. “I’ve never clocked it probably since I was a teenager, so I had no idea what to expect."
Asked whether the win gives him bragging rights over Ovechkin, Carlson said he’ll first have to do some research to make sure Ovechkin has never shot harder than 102.8 mph. Boston’s Zdeno Chara has the record with the 108.8-mph shot he recorded in 2012.
“I had some faith in myself, but I just didn’t know where it would land,” Carlson said.
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