The Nail: Devils Beat Caps 2-1

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday’s Caps game was ugly. The days that followed didn’t get much better. Adam Oates kinda sorta maybe called out Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday for being Alex Ovechkin. The national hockey media devoured it like it was some delicious Chipotle guac. Ovi wasn’t made available to reporters on Thursday to respond.

With six games left, everyone started to realize it would take divine intervention for the Capitals to make the playoffs. If they did make it, they didn’t deserve to be there — and the Capitals knew that.

The scoring got started tonight with an even-strength Alex Ovechkin tally, the first since we still cared about the Winter Olympics. Playing on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom, Ovi took a feed from Grabo in the near circle before flipping the puck past Cory Schneider.

During a second period in which the Devs dominated play, New Jersey tied the game up. Twelve minutes into the frame, Tuomo Ruutu tipped home a shot from D-man Eric Gelinas to make it one-one.

The Caps headed into the third with a man-advantage, needing their power play to once again save them from disaster. It didn’t happen.

Ryan Carter scored a late goal for New Jersey. Devils beat Caps 2-1.

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The Achilles Heel of the Capitals Power Play

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Photo: Patrick Smith

The Caps are bad at defense and give up a lot of odd-man breaks. Even when they win, Washington can’t hide that flaw. One aspect of that is particularly troubling: the amount of rushes they allow on their own power play.

The Capitals man-advantage has kept them afloat all year, generating about a third of their offense. However, against the Stars their PP could barely get going. Dallas had two breakaways on Washington’s opening power play, which was quickly negated by a John Carlson slash.

“Usually odd-man rushes are our breakdowns, not necessarily great plays by them,” Carlson said after the game. “We can’t let that happen. We’re too good of players.”

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Al Koken Calls Everybody Calle Johansson

Photo: Peter Hassett

Filling in for Joe B. has to be tough. It’s even harder when you have to do it on short notice, which Al Koken was forced to do on Sunday after Beninati fell ill. There are, after all, a lot of names to memorize in play-by-play. It seems Smokin’ Al, who flew into Nashville last night after doing yesterday’s game, remembered one name a little too well: Calle Johansson.

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Brouwer laughs at Ian. Seriously, that’s what’s happening in this photo. (Photo: Patrick Smith)

Ian Oland is a very stupid person. In the midst of Troy Brouwer’s poor start, Ian bet that the winger wouldn’t hit 20 goals this season. Because he lost, Ian had to dress up as a Brouwer Ranger during Saturday’s game. Since the beginning of February, however, Brouwer has 13 goals. He scored two against Nashville on Sunday, hitting a career high. With 23 goals, Brouwer is having his best season ever.

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Photo: Rob Carr

For 10 years, Jarome Iginla was the captain of the Calgary Flames. He was the franchise, in the same way Alex Ovechkin is now synonymous with the Washington Capitals. But in Iginla’s last few years with the team, the Flames got bad. Wanting to win a Cup before his career was over, Iginla engineered a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, spurring the Boston Bruins at the last second. The closest Iginla had ever come was a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2004.

Ironically, the Bruins headed to the Final against the Blackhawks last season, with another year ticking off on Iginla’s career. He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Bruins this offseason. At 36, Iginla is on the top team in the east. The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division by beating Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s been a fun year,” Iginla told reporters after the game. “It’s been fun to win games and battling at the top of the league, to be on some streaks as a group and see them go in too. It’s been fun.”

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Studs. Also, Troy gets Brouwer Bombed. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

The day has come. During warmups before today’s game against the Bruins, RMNB’s Ian Oland pressed his body against the Verizon Center glass in section 102 dressed only in spandex.

“I’m sorry for doubting you, Troy,” his sign read.

In November, Ian made a bet. It was somewhat accidental: if Troy Brouwer scored 20 goals this season, Ian would dress as a Brouwer Ranger. That looked unlikely for a while, but with a wacky 11-goal total in 15 games during February and March, Brouwer hit the milestone for the first time as a Capital. On Saturday, the #IanOlandApologyTour began. Ian, who wanted me to say he “looks pretty skinny” and is “definitely not fat,” wiggled into the famous unitard. He looked like an imbecile, but that’s the point. Brouwer agreed, coming over and giving a thumbs up to the newly expanded trio.

Ian will be watching the rest today’s game from section 402, right in front of the Brouwer Rangers. He’ll be very sweaty. Never make bets on Twitter.

Here’s how it went down.

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EvgenyKuznetsovCar (2 of 3)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Eight games into his NHL career, Evgeny Kuznetsov is settling in. And by “settling in,” I mean living a life of luxury none of us will ever attain. First he got himself an apartment. Now he’s got himself a brand new car. The ride: a customized 2014 Mercedes Benz S63 AMG, with a base price of $140,000. It’s got 577 horsepower. That’s a lot.

Kuzya will probably spend most of his time sitting still on 66, but if you’re going to buy a mobile lounge, the new S-Class is pure and total luxury.

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Photos by Igor Kleyner

The Capitals took their team photo on Thursday. It was perfectly normal, with players and coaches lining up at center ice to pose for photographers. Except for two exceptions: the Chick-fil-a cow and the Parking Panda. Anything for sponsors!

The cow was helped onto the ice by defenseman Karl Alzner before being led off by none other than Alex Ovechkin. No word on the whether the panda received any assistance. The team later took a normal photo.

Thanks to an accident on 50, I missed the biggest Caps cow-related photo-op since Jenn chopped the head off some rubber animals last year. However, RMNB spaceman and Kuyza-whisperer Igor Kleyner did leave on time. He snapped these photos.

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When I sat down to film my CRL segment on Jay Beagle’s flip phone, I thought he might be mildly annoyed. Maybe he was appearing at the behest of the Capitals PR department. We were, after all, making fun of him, if only in a lighthearted way. Instead, Beags played along. He talked about Flipper, guessed his teammates tweets, and sat through my flubbed intros.

When it came time to try out new phones with the Verizon guy, Beagle pretended not to know how anything worked.

“So how do I answer a call?” he asked regarding a touch screen phone, after “accidentally” turning on some music. “I can’t flip it!”

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RMNB on CRL: Jay Beagle’s Flip Phone

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Photo: Sarah Kogod

Jay Beagle is a simple guy. He drives a 2004 Chevy Silverado and likes to go muddin’ and shootin’ in the Canadian country during the offseason. Beags is unswayed by the flash and flourish of other professional athletes. He still has a flip phone.

“Flipper,” and it’s a she, has been with him for six years. Beags is protective of it, threating to break the phones of any teammates who hatch nefarious ideas to steal his beloved device. Perhaps even throw them off a balcony. That’s not all though.

Beagle has never been on Twitter. He doesn’t own a computer. He does not take pictures with his iPad. For our latest segment for Caps Red Line, we wanted to see if we could take Jay into the 21st century. I don’t think it worked.

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