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The Narrative: Closing Time, Special Teams and Schennanigans

Three things we're talking about today when we're talking about the Caps

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

1. The Caps will take the ice tonight for a second chance to try to close out the Flyers and, well, luckily history is history, because it's pretty much as ugly as you think it is:

But they're on it:

And if that fails...

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2. After playing the two most special-teams-heavy games of their season in the first three games of the series, Game 4 featured 56:16 of even-strength hockey, with each side team drawing just two minor penalties (a pair of which all but cancelled each other out). That's what happens when you get two teams full of choir boys together, apparently. The Flyers scored on their one opportunity that wasn't cut short by a make-up call, the Caps failed in their one chance that was more than 28 seconds long and wasn't split by an intermission, and what had been an area of utter domination for Washington through three games flipped to the Philly side of the ledger for Game 4.

That the whistles disappeared in Game 4 wasn't surprising, and the Caps know they need to be better than they were (at least through the first 40 minutes) at five-on-five:

They'll have plenty of chances to "do more" tonight... and if they let the series go any longer:

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3. And speaking of penalties (or, more specifically, the lack thereof), the Caps have had just about enough of Brayden Schenn's jackassery. First there was this in Game 1:

Duly noted by Tom Wilson (and well-respected former referee Kerry Fraser).

Oh, and this from Game 1:

And this flying check on Mike Richards (via our pals at Sons of Penn):

Schenn Richards

Again, noted by Wilson.

This too:

Just kidding (don't mess with the U.S., Brayden).

There was a brutal slash that thankfully only shattered Wilson's stick towards the end of Game 3, presumably other "gamesmanship" that has eluded cameras and/or eyes that would rather focus on actual hockey, and finally (though almost certainly not actually "finally"), this from Game 4:

The League has been made very much aware of the hit (and a similar Game 2 cheap shot by Wayne Simmonds) and it's on them to get this guy under control (don't hold your breath) before matters escalate. (For what it's worth, Schenn has acknowledged that this last crosscheck was "pretty dumb.") For now, all the Caps have is their health, discipline, and this suitable-for-framing (or full back tat) memory: