The MVP in MSG: Caps beat Rangers 5-2

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The view from MSG’s bridge, from Caps Road Crew

Brutal weekend. Or at least it would have been without the best player in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin. The New York Rangers looked speedy and cohesive, whereas the Capitals looked discombobulated and panicky– but Alex Ovechkin grabbed this game by the horns and tamed it like a folk hero. Jason Chimera had a huge third period, and all of a sudden a nightmare weekend wasn’t so bad after all.

Alex Ovechkin started us off just four minutes in, carrying the puck into the Rangers zone and using the D as a screen to beat Cam Talbot. The next two goals belonged to New York: the first Kevin Hayes’ solo effort after John Carlson’s woeful turnover, the second Derek Brassard’s rush goal after Niskanen’s bad pinch.

Ovechkin struck again in the second period, using Joel Ward as a screen to knot the game heading into the final period.

Jason Chimera scored twice (I know, right?!) in the third period– both times by crashing the net and both times with the help of Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Marcus Johansson got the empty netter as soon as Cam Talbot left the crease.

Caps beat Rangers 5-2.

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Caps at Rangers Pregame: Get Over It

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Rough night for Hank (Photo: Jim Rogash)

I’ve got mixed feelings about yesterday’s loss to the Nashville Predators. The first period was genuinely awful, and the game was filled with all sorts of narrative wretchedness concerning former teams and abandoned prospects, but the Caps put up an honest comeback effort, and Troy Brouwer’s contributions shouldn’t be dismissed.

That said, it’s all in the past now. Barry Trotz made some noise about having no short-term memory in this final stretch. I see the virtue in that. As the Caps prepare to take on the Rangers, I hope they can leave their behinds in the past.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 40-25-10 51.9% 100.1 24.4% 81.5%
New York Rangers 47-20-7 51.2% 101.8 17.4% 84.2%

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Predators beat Caps 4-3: It’s McPhee’s McPhault

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Mike Green scored with one of your sticks. 

If you turned off Saturday’s Capitals-Predators game after twenty minutes, I’m worried for you. Yes, it was ugly at that point, but the Caps team of the game’s latter two-thirds wasn’t so bad. If you tuned out, you’d have missed Troy Brouwer’s hero pose and Mike Green’s Ovi spot routine. It was still a brutal loss, but it wasn’t such a bad game after all.

The Caps actually looked pretty good for ten minutes, but after failing to convert a 4v3, the Predators took over. First it was Mattias Ekholm, whose pretty backhand goal came right after the Caps power play expired. Then Mike Fisher took the wheel after Karl Alzner lost his stick and a battle in the crease to Filip Forsberg. Speaking of that dude, Forsberg broke our hearts and ended Holtby’s afternoon with a solo scoar.

That all happened in the first damn period.

The second found Troy Brouwer scoring twice, his 19th and 20th of the season, to put the Caps within striking distance. Things were looking up, but then Mike Ribeiro, who is probably a garbage human being, gave the Preds their fourth goal.

Mike Green put the Caps back within one just 20 seconds into the third, scoring on a Greenie shot from the Ovi spot with his Stealth. The Capitals ratcheted up the pressure late, but Pekka Rinne held onto the lead.

Preds beat Caps 4-3.

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Caps vs Preds Pregame: Win the Breakup

Photo: Chris Gordon

Now begins a tough weekend for the Washington Capitals. There’s the two early games against two very high-achieving teams, the Nashville Predators today and the New York Rangers tomorrow. There’s also the untidy narratives surrounding today’s game, specifically Barry Trotz playing his old team, who got better when he left, and the “return” of Filip Forsberg to Verizon Center, where he never really played as a Capital, but you know what I mean.

Puck drop at 12:30 PM on CSN. Pants optional.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 40-24-10 52.0% 100.2 24.8% 81.2%
Nashville Predators 46-21-8 53.1% 101.5 16.3% 81.4%

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Adam Oates Sucks: Caps beat Devils 3-2 (OT)

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The Capitals hadn’t played a game since the late 80s (okay, Saturday), so they looked rested and dialed-in for most of Thursday’s home game against Adam Oates and the New Jersey Devils. Then the third period happened, wherein the Capitals played a prevent defense, which is about as effective as the rhythm method is at birth control.

Inconceivably, Karl Alzner scored first, wandering deep in the offensive zone, where Oates did think him naughty for being there. Eric Fehr doubled down in the second period because he’s terrific, but then Travis “Pat” Zajac cashed in on one of the Caps’ many power-play turnovers. The Caps surrendered the possession game in the third period and relied way too much on Braden Holtby. Steve Bernier tied it up in the final thirty seconds to force overtime, but who cares– Matt Niskanen fired the niscannon to get the OTGWG. (Or maybe Kuznetsov tipped it? Doesn’t matter. CAPS WIN!)

Caps beat Oates 3-2 in overtime.

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Week 22 Snapshot: At Least We’ve Got Ovi

Lance Thomson

Photo: Lance Thomson

For me, the snapshot has been about opening up the analytic process on a micro level– adding transparency and immediacy to my journey to understanding of how the Caps play every week. In the interest of furthering that transparency and because I can’t stand being insincere here, lemme say this: my enthusiasm is waning.

Part of that is me not having enough time to do the in-depth research and number-crunching, and part of it is acknowledging that the Capitals merely are what they are: A marginal playoff team with good special teams and one very special player.

However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just goodThey’re a good team with a good coach.

Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.

In this week’s snapshot, which isn’t 36 hours late you’re just imagining it, it is what it is, but at least we’ve got Ovi.

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Pavelec’d: Jets beat Caps 3-0

The Washington Capitals didn’t play very well against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, but spirits at #RMNBPartyGr8 were high enough that we didn’t mind.

Mark Stuart converted in the first after a convenient puck dribbled across the slot.  Mark Scheifele scored in the second after a failed breakout pass allowed him a clear shot– again from the slot. Someone got an empty-better during a late-game Caps power play. Oh well. The Caps spent a few special moments in front of Pavelec’s net, but not a once did they hit its back.

Jets beats Caps 2-0. Shutout city. Share your feelings and analyses in the comments. Thanks to everyone who came out to the party. Sorry the boys couldn’t SCOAR moar for you.

 

Caps at Jets Pregame: It’s Party Time!

There are just ten games left in the regular season, and tonight we kick off that final stretch in style at #RMNBPartyGr8. As the Jets prepare to host our Capitals at 7 PM, you, me, and a bunch of other fans will meet at RFD in Chinatown for what should be a fun night.

Part starts at 6. Puck drops at 7. The game will be on the wall.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 39-23-10 51.9% 100.2 25.2% 80.9%
Winnipeg Jets 36-23-12 53.3% 99.9 18.4% 81.4%

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The Russians’ Revenge: Caps beat Wild 3-2

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Tommy Drama.

It took a while to get going, but the Capitals played a good road game against a good opponent to earn two huge points on Thursday night. It was game that, like so many others, serves to remind us how valuable Alex Ovechin is to this team. You might even say he’s the Most Valuable.

We waited with baited breath until past the halfway mark, when Zach Parise roughed up Tom Wilson and Wilson got a B.S. embellishment call. Alex Ovechkin responded with his 46th of the season, followed by Evgeny Kuznetsov’s snatch-and-score just 40 seconds later. Christian Folin extracted revenge right before the second intermission with a rush goal.

Ovechkin scored number 47 in the third period, which was amazing, and Jared Spurgeon hit a stand-up double on a late-game power play. Braden Holtby fended off a wild (get it?) attack in the final minute to win the game.

Caps beat Wild 3-2! The first time ever in Xcel!

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Caps at Wild Pregame: Are You Coming to the Party?

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Hello. Let’s do hockey.

Tonight in Minny the Caps take on the Wild. I don’t like singular collective nouns for sports teams. What do you call a member of the Wild (aside from “member of the Wild”)? They’re not “a Wild.” They’re not “a Wildling.” Same deal with the Lightning. I guess each one of those guys is “a Bolt” at least.

Those team names are stupid. Therefore the Capitals should beat them tonight.

8 PM, CSN, crash net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 38-23-10 51.3% 100.4 25.7% 81.1%
Minnesota Wild 39-24-7 51.6%  99.8 14.9% 86.9%

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