Wes Johnson’s Epic Unleash The Fury (Video)

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Verizon Center was insanely loud tonight. Many players remarked about it after the game (more on that later). And according to friend of the blog Chris Gardner, the noise reached a maximum of 112.2 dB inside the arena, which came on some good ol’ fashioned organic cheering. You guys are crazy.

Caps PA Announcer Wes Johnson was also on top of his game tonight. Every game, Wes will try to pump up the crowd after the team runs it’s Unleash The Fury video on the jumbotron. The video package is played at a strategic time in the game where the Caps Game Entertainment crew thinks it will most help the players and lead them to victory. Tonight, after Karl Alzner scored to make the game 2-1 Isles, the video played.

Then Wes did his thing. It is magical.

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There was a point on Friday night when the Caps trailed the Islanders 3-1. All hope seemed lost. A 2-0 series deficit was on the horizon.

Then Alex Ovechkin scored. Nicklas Backstrom crashed the party next. And then, finally, Jason Chimera, last game’s goat (who probably should have been scratched tonight), gave the home team their first lead of the series.

4-3. Chimera’s tally would stand as the game winning goal. Series tied.

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Nicklas Backstrom Ties The Game (GIF)

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Talking about this goal would be vulgar. Just know this: Nick Backstrom has tied the game at three with a power-play goal that will make you cry or high five or cry five, which is what you call it when you cry and high five at the same time.

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A New York Islander just broke another stick, and the Caps just scored another goal.

After Matt Niskanen unleashed a puck from his Niscannon towards Jaro Halak, captain Alex Ovechkin smacked the rebound emphatically into the net.

HUGE.

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alzner-goal

It might have felt the same, but it was nothing like 2010 except in the most superficial way: the Caps couldn’t score.

With a possession lead but in a two-goal hole, the Caps grew increasingly desperate in the second. Eventually the shots started getting on net, but none could be that damned Jaro Halak. And then, with a real offensive-zone presence, Mike Green executed a perfect pass to Karl Alzner. With Troy Brouwer’s big ass up front, Alzner hit the back of the net for the second time of his playoff career.

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At the trade deadline, the Washington Capitals traded for veteran defenseman Tim Gleason for his toughness. Paired with Mike Green since then, Gleason looked to Unleash The Glease in the first period on Isles center Brock Nelson.

Instead the Glease unleashed on veteran linesman David Brisebois.

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Philipp Grubauer Will Start Game Two

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The Washington Capitals just announced that Philipp Grubauer will get the start tonight over Braden Holtby who is under the weather. Justin Peters will serve as the back-up. We knew something was up when the Holtbeast didn’t come out this evening for his pre-game visualization routine.

Around 6:45pm, Holtby arrived at Verizon Center according to CSN’s Jill Sorenson.

Alex Prewitt reports that the Caps will leave for New York immediately after the game and practice there Saturday.

So tonight should definitely be interesting with Grubi in goal!

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Photos: Amanda Bowen

If you watched game one of the Capitals’ first-round playoff series with the New York Islanders on Wednesday, you probably remember it as a miserable, stomach-turning experience. The Caps seemed to lack focus and determination as they fell to the Isles 4-1.

That’s why I was so surprised to see Amanda’s photos from the game. Her shots from pre-game warmups show a team full of steely reserve. The players appear focused on the task before them, fully aware of the game’s importance. The photos of Marcus Johansson’s first-period goal show a team, and a fan base, full of passion and fire — both of which went missing from the rest of the game, only to play a huge role in the media narratives that followed.

Let’s hope the Caps from these pictures are the ones who show up to play Game 2 tonight.

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Photo: Rob Carr

The morning after getting pwn’d by the Islanders in game one, the Capitals held an optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Barry Trotz said that many of the mistakes the Caps made the night before were ones the team had worked on all season long. They knew better, Troz said, so an actual practice on the ice would serve little purpose. That said, I’m sure Trotz reviewed a lot of game tape with the team, hopefully some from the Caps’ two failed power plays.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano had his penalty killers play in an aggressive box formation against the Caps’ top-ranked power play. Basically, the Isles player nearest the puck would skate out quickly to force a bad decision by the Caps. The Isles penalty kill, ranked 26th in the league during the regular season (76 percent), thrives on chaos created by their team speed. The Caps made long passes, turned the puck over, and were unable to set up Alex Ovechkin more than once in the left circle. On top of that, the Isles had scouted the Caps power play so much, it seemed as if they knew where the puck was going to go before the Caps did.

Watch how discombobulated the Caps were during their first man advantage.

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Photo: Brad Herson

The Caps got crushed in game one by the New York Islanders, and they did it in front of one of the greatest baseball players of all-time.

Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., the original Great 8, was at Verizon Center last night, sitting in the lower bowl. This was first reported on Twitter by Talk The Red’s Brad Herson.

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