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For Capitals, injury woes continue to mount with punishing loss in Calgary

Flames 5, Capitals 2

Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the ice late in the second period after being elbowed in the head. He did not return. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press via AP)

CALGARY — The Washington Capitals’ injury woes worsened Saturday night in a 5-2 loss to Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome, with starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Martin Fehervary leaving the game with upper-body injuries.

Kuemper exited the game with less than four minutes left in the second period after he took an elbow to the head from Tyler Toffoli. Kuemper and Toffoli exchanged slashes before Kuemper skated to the bench during stoppage. While it appeared Kuemper was initially pulled out of the game by a concussion spotter, the goaltender pulled himself out of the game because he didn’t feel 100 percent.

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Before Kuemper’s exit, Fehervary left the game midway through the second period and did not return after he was checked into the boards by Milan Lucic. Fehervary, who was ruled out for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury, appeared to favor his left arm/shoulder on his way to the locker room.

Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette said both Kuemper and Fehervary would be evaluated Sunday in Edmonton ahead of Monday’s clash with the Oilers. Fehervary was spotted sporting a sling on his left arm after the game.

Both injuries occurred with the Capitals (10-12-4) trailing 2-1 after Andrew Mangiapane put Calgary ahead 1:35 into the second period with his low shot from the circle. Washington had its chances in the third period to find the equalizer, but couldn’t find an opening against Flames netminder Dan Vladar (27 saves).

Instead, Adam Ruzicka put the Flames up 3-1 with a smooth breakaway past Capitals backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren (seven saves) with 6:21 left in the third. Mangiapane scored his second goal of the night less than a minute later for the Flames’ fourth goal of the night.

John Carlson scored with 1:06 remaining, but Washington’s late-game push was too little, too late. Elias Lindholm scored an empty-netter with less than four seconds left to produce the game’s final score.

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The Capitals are now 1-2-1 through four games of their six-game road trip. Washington finishes the trip Wednesday in Philadelphia.

“We’ve had a next man up mentality for a couple years now but when you have that you need everyone going, you need everyone picking it up for the guys that are out," T.J. Oshie said. “It seems like when we are not playing our best we do not have that full team effort.”

Blake Coleman put the Flames up 1-0 at 18:03 of the first period with his snipe from the right circle past Kuemper. It was the Flames’ first goal against Kuemper in 78 minutes this season.

Conor Sheary tied the game at 1 with 33.1 seconds left in the first period. Sheary sniped it from the right circle for his second power-play goal in as many games. He has nine goals this season.

Washington tinkered with its lineup, plugging young prospect Alex Alexeyev into the lineup in place of Matt Irwin. Irwin turned into an everyday player in the last month, filling in for Dmitry Orlov, who was injured in early November. Orlov, who is on injured reserve, has missed 12 straight games.

“It’s been a little struggle identifying and helping [Orlov] get through this injury,” Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said Saturday. “It’s lingered on a lot longer than anyone anticipated. Seems to be headed in a positive direction which is why he’s come out for the trip. We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days; hopefully we’ll get him in a game.”

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