Digest: Holtby pulled again in Capitals' 5-1 loss to Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray fires a shot at Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the first period Feb. 26, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

Goaltender Braden Holtby was the last Washington Capitals player out of the locker room tunnel as the second period was about to start. His mask had been replaced with a baseball cap. Until a late empty-net goal, the scoreboard in front of him was frozen on the four goals he had allowed in the first period. The final was a 5-1 Washington loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets , an outcome that was decided in the opening frame.

Holtby was yanked from net early for the second time in his past four starts and a third time this month. Playing behind a team that has been plagued by inconsistency for the past two months, Holtby lost his sixth straight start, extending a career-worst personal stretch. With Philadelphia's shootout win over Montreal, the Flyers have now passed the Capitals for first in the Metropolitan Division.


With Philipp Grubauer in net, Washington couldn't muster any more offense to supplement Alex Ovechkin's power-play goal in the first period. The Capitals even had a three-minute power play to start the second period. Grubauer made 18 saves, not allowing a goal, and it's unclear which of the two goaltenders will get the start tonight when Washington hosts the Ottawa Senators .

"I've had him for four years; I have a lot of confidence in Braden," coach Barry Trotz said. "He's been a good goaltender for a long time."


This marked the Capitals' first game on trade deadline day since 2014, and while there was some speculation that Washington expressed interest in several marquee defensemen, the 3 p.m. deadline ultimately passed uneventfully.

But general manager Brian MacLellan said the team explored acquiring a "higher-end" defenseman. The asking prices were deemed too high; Ottawa's Erik Karlsson didn't get dealt, and the New York Rangers traded Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning .

Four hours after the trade deadline passed without the Capitals making any splashy moves, the team came out flat in Columbus, trailing 4-1 through 20 minutes, allowing the 30th-ranked Blue Jackets power play two goals on three man-advantage opportunities. After Artemi Panarin scored with a one-timer from the left faceoff circle just 5:31 into the game, Ovechkin countered with a nearly identical power-play goal less than two minutes later.

Ovechkin played the 984th game of his career Monday, passing Calle Johansson for the franchise record. His league-leading 39th goal of the season has him just three away from the 600th of his career.

— Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post

College basketball

UM's Cowan named to All-Big Ten third team and defensive team

Maryland sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr. was named Monday to the All-Big Ten third team and conference's defensive team by both the coaches and the media participating the selection. Cowan finished in the top 10 in several offensive and defensive categories, as well as leading the league in minutes played. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds in nearly 37 minutes a game. He was tied for third in the league in steals with 1.5 per game. Sophomore guard Kevin Huerter, who was second on the Terps to Cowan in both points (14.6) and assists (3.4) while being fourth in the Big Ten in minutes played (34.6), received honorable mention. Center Bruno Fernando was named to the freshman team. He was fifth in the conference in field-goal percentage (.585), 10th in blocked shots per game (1.2) and 13th in rebounds a game (6.4).


— Don Markus

More state men: Navy senior guard Shawn Anderson and Loyola Maryland senior guard Andre Walker were named to the All-Patriot League first team. Midshipmen senior guard Bryce Dulin and sophomore guard Andrew Kostecka were selected to the defensive team. ... Johns Hopkins will host La Roche (21-6), MIT (22-5) and Brockport (19-7) in an NCAA Division III Regional on March 2 and 3at Goldfarb Gym.

State women: Maryland sophomore Kaila Charles was named to the All-Big Ten first team by the league's coaches and the media, junior Eleanna Christinaki and senior Kristen Confroy earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors from the coaches and the media and fifth-year senior Ieshia Small was voted the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year by the coaches. The Terps (26-3, 12-4) are the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament and will play Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Indianapolis against either seventh-seeded Indiana (16-13, 9-7) or 10th-seeded Michigan State (17-12, 7-9), who play Thursday night. Maryland dropped to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll after splitting a pair of games with Michigan and Nebraska . It's the Terps' lowest ranking in eight years.


City to host National Black Marathoners Association

Baltimore has been selected to host the National Black Marathoners Association's 14th annual summit Oct. 21 and 22 during the 18th Baltimore Running Festival. An estimated 700 NBMA members from across the country will take part in the marathon and conference, to be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. A nonprofit organization, the NBMA raises funds for college scholarships and to promote distance running among inner-city residents. For details, go to


— Mike Klingaman

Et cetera

Former Ravens linebacker McPhee released by Bears

Three years after leaving the Ravens and signing a five-year, $38.75 million deal with the Chicago Bears, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is again looking for a new NFL home. McPhee, 29, was released by the Bears after two seasons in which he struggled with injuries. The move was expected as the pass rusher was due to make a $7.2 million salary in 2018 and the Bears are committing to younger players. In three seasons with Chicago, McPhee had 75 tackles, 14 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. However, he was hampered by persistent knee problems. McPhee missed 12 games over the past three seasons in Chicago.

— Jeff Zrebiec

Lacrosse fundraiser: CCBC Essex has partnered with Lace up with LAX and will hold a fundraiser March 20 during its men's and women's games to collect new children's shoes to be donated to Eastern Family Resource Center, a homeless shelter and transitional housing facility in Baltimore County. The men's lacrosse team will host Finger Lakes Community College at 4 p.m., followed by the women welcoming Frederick Community College at 6 p.m. Donations can be made at the gate or contact Rocco Geppi at to make other arrangements. Cash donations will also be accepted and will be used to purchase shoes.