Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

With eight games left in the regular season and the Capitals struggling to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, every standings point matters. So when the Caps were unable to break a 1-1 tie with the Flyers after 60 minutes of regulation and a five-minute overtime, the shootout carried high stakes.

Enter Matt Hendricks.

Dale Hunter selected Hendy as the Capitals first shooter. The Blaine, Minnesota native did not disappoint. Hendricks used his patented move, this time baiting Ilya Bryzgalov to pokecheck. Bryz missed, allowing yet another highlight-reel shootout goal for the team’s leader in penalty minutes. Video is below the jump.

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The Hunger Games: Flyers beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The final game of the Washington Capitals’ ginormous road trip was a Thursday night date with the pylon-clad Philadelphia Flyers. Just like last game, the Caps came out hard, but faced a much more composed foe.

Alex Ovechkin was in hurry, scoring in the game’s first minute. Claude Giroux converted a breakaway in the second. Overtime came and went.  A coin was flipped, and the Caps lost. Flyers beat Caps 2-1 (shootout).

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Philadelphia Flyers Pregame: Bolshy Bratchny Flyers

Here’s Doug Johnson of the Puck Buddys with a spot of the ol’ superviolence. Pull up a chair at the milk bar and follow the Buddys on Twitter.

Here’s The Choodesny Pregamey: Viddy viddy, me droogies! Wellity wellity wellity well. A dorogoy game we face then, contra the Chepooka Flyers, is it? And in their gloopy domy on top, is it? Capsity-wapts fans, prepare to creetch yer yarbles biddy biddy well, and poddy thisity this: me droogs are well placed to land the tolchuks to the gulliwats and gullivers of any groody Flyer that skates with us.

To all the horrowshow krovvy to flow!

And Now Back To Sanity: So we – as in PuckBuddyCraig – were struck this morning, amid the fog and shadows, to invoke St. Stanley Kubrick and “A Clockwork Orange” for this pregame. ‘Cause, you know… orange. Flyers. Uh-huh.

So a dorogoy post – and game – it is. And yet, there may be wisdom here. O my brothers, cutter this well…

“But enough of words, actions speak louder than. Action now. Observe all.”

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With Evgeny Kuznetsov stating his desire to stay in the KHL but possibly switching teams, and Traktor management— well, disagreeing, we explored what Kuznetsov’s actual options are this Summer. Is being a restricted free agent in the KHL the same thing as being an RFA in the NHL? Can the KHL just dump buckets of cash at Kuznetsov’s front door? Do the Caps have any chance of landing him, especially considering the monetary limitations of the NHL’s entry-level contracts?

Below, I explain the rights of a restricted free agent according to the KHL’s Legal Regulations handbook (the league’s governing document), what Evgeny Kuznetsov’s options are, and if the Capitals still have any shot of bringing the talented winger over to North America.

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Dirty Goals: Caps beat Wings 5-3

Photo: Dave Reginek

What a game. If the Washington Capitals could play the Detroit Red Wings 82 times a year, we’d be happy campers. After that tremendous 7-1 thrashing back in October, the Caps’ fortunes shifted dramatically. But here we are again– late in the campaign– and the Caps have that spark. If only they could keep it glowing for a full hour of hockey.

Marcus Johansson delivered a perfect pass to Alex Ovechkin, who fired a perfect one-timer from the perfect spot. Mike Knuble made it 2-0 by finishing off a smart passing sequence with Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault. Ovechkin got another by skating around the trainwreck in front of Jimmy Howard and wristing it. Kyle Quincey got one back in the second period with a long bomb that rang iron, but Keith Aucoin nullified with a spin-o-rama made possible by Alex Semin.

Just half a minute into the third, Todd Bertuzzi beat Holtby’s slow glove hand to give Detroit some life. Danny Cleary crashed Holtby’s net to make it 4-3, and things got tense. Jason Chimera defused it with an empty netter. Caps beat Wings 5-3.

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Screengrab via @PuckBuddys

The Capitals’ big night in Detroit marked an important milestone for a player dear to this blog’s collective heart. Alex Semin recorded his 400th career point when he assisted Keith Aucoin’s spin-o-rama.

CSN-DC commemorated the moment by isolating Sasha on the bench, where he was deep in thought. About something. And to amp up the creepiness, they zoomed. Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present — straight from Peter Robbio’s Youtube page — the most absurd video we’ve ever seen.

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Video: Stubhub’s “I Love You, Ticket Oak” Commercial

We’re not getting paid for this or anything*, but this video is so demented it screams for a signal boost. StubHub’s Ticket Oak campaign ran a commercial during the Caps-Hawks game, which we’re mostly trying to forget. Something about the ticket hair, or the tree’s cheeseball voice, or the strabismus at the end– it just sticks with you.

Next time I’m looking for after-market tickets (which will also be the first time), this delightfully creepy memory will reassert itself and then StubHub will have their precious viewer-to-customer conversion. Damn them.

World: more weird stuff like this, please.

* NOTE: If you want to pay us or something, we’re like totally listening.


Detroit Red Wings Pregame: Vive Le Revolucion!

Here’s your pregame report from Doug of the PuckBuddys. Get thee to a twittery.

Pre-après-Game: PuckBuddy Craig sorta demolished me with his last post, mixing the most potent juvenile jeers (“You smell like butt“) with contemporary culture (The Godfather) and hockey insights in the juicerizer that yours truly has been refining for months.

Whaaa…butt why dat? Well, because Craig, unlike Doug, went hunting for a stick-tap from Uncle Ted on how brilliant his pregamer was. Nice. No matter that he stole from me for months – blogging versions of the Winnipeg Head-Crash – or that I’ve been telling our opponents they smell like ass since October. But , boohoo, what’s an obvious foul between frenemies?

I kid. And yet in seriouslyness, between these partners there is no other game that divides the PuckBuddys like Monday’s test of the Caps against the Wings. 

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Photo credit: Bill Smith

With the Capitals down 4-1 to the Blackhawks late in the second period, Alex Ovechkin carried the puck solo into the Blackhawks’ zone. With three defending players marking him, Ovechkin didn’t wait for his teammates; he did it Rambo-style. The Russian machine dipped his shoulder, slid the puck between his skates, and walked around one of the NHL’s best defensemen, Duncan Keith. He finished the sequence by putting the puck over Corey Crawford’s left pad to score.

Video is below the jump.

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Road Trip Gets Heavy, Hawks beat Caps 5-2

Photo credit: Bill Smith

This is it. We’ve had a big red circle around this week since the schedule was announced. Washington Capitals @ Chicago Blackhawks kicks off three very tough road games (Detroit and Philly are the other two). With the Eastern Conference standings as dense as they are, this game means a lot.

Duncan Keith caught a lucky rebound up the middle that Andrew Shaw tipped in, then Viktor Stalberg smoked Dmitry Orlov for a big breakaway goal. Mike Knuble scored a long-distance goal (okay, it was just 32 feet) early in the second. Patrick Kane restored the two-goal lead with an easy wrister after a series of defensive goofs. Wideman and Schultz let Shaw skate away with the puck, and his wraparound become the Hawks’ fourth goal. Alex Ovechkin got some open ice and roofed it. Chicago got the empty netter as soon as Neuvy cleared out. Hawks beat Caps 5-2.

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