Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers celebrates after Michael Del Zotto #4 (not pictured) scored in the second period against Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.
(May 12, 2013 - Source: Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America)

Caps stand up for Holtby after devastating Game 7 blowout

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This wasn’t a bad series for Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, but he didn’t look particularly impressive Washington’s 5-0 loss in Game 7 against the New York Rangers.

Holtby didn’t try to hide from that after his team was eliminated.

“We didn’t put in the right effort for a Game 7 win. Everyone, especially myself,” Holtby told CSN Washington.

At the same time, it’s hard to criticize your netminder when you go two straight games without scoring a single goal. The Washington Capitals certainly tried to deflect the blame off of their 23-year-old goaltender.

“I think he’s been playing great the whole series and the whole season. He’s a young, talented goalie and without him we wouldn’t be here in the playoffs today,” said Nicklas Backstrom. “He’s not the reason we lost. It’s me, myself and the other players.”

24-year-old defenseman Karl Alzner added that Holtby “did everything we asked him to do.”

Holtby has already been in three Game 7s and through 21 career postseason contests, he has a 2.04 GAA and .931 save percentage. Perhaps these tough series early in his NHL tenure will help him down the road, but as a team the Capitals will need to do a lot of soul searching after this coming up short yet again in the playoffs.

Related:

Discuss: Rangers crush Capitals in Game 7

Capitals’ Green: ‘This is the best team we’ve been on’

Caps’ Backstrom: We need to learn how to play in the playoffs

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

(Check out video of the hit above.)

The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

(If you’re into that kind of thing.)

Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form:

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Capitals – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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Even with two games in hand, some might be surprised to see the Washington Capitals tied with the Boston Bruins in standings points in early December.

That’s the case on Wednesday Night Rivalry, as a somewhat up-and-down Capitals team (which is glad to welcome T.J. Oshie back) hosts a Bruins squad that’s riding a three-game winning streak.

It should be an interesting matchup on NBCSN, which you can also watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.