Caps at Penguins Pregame: Flip Two Coins


The spirit of ’09 (Photo: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals enjoyed their last elimination game, a 3-1 win on home ice, but there’s no time for congratulations. To keep their season alive, the Caps must now win on enemy territory against a very good opponent. It won’t be easy, but this is the freaking Capitals in May. It has never been easy.

Puck drops at 8 PM in Pittsburgh. Game’s on NBC Sports. I’m told the Chris From the Comments Liveblog will be back as well.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Barry Trotz Doesn’t Get Paid Enough


Photo: Monumental Network

It’s been a big weekend on the NHL coaching beat. Former Caps coach, former Ducks coach, and always awesome dude, Bruce Boudreau, immediately got a new gig with the Minnesota Wild, where he will be great. The other team courting Boudreau was the Ottawa Senators, who settled for Guy Boucher, former coach of the Lightning and architect of that team’s 2011 sweep of the Capitals.

Those new coaching deals come with cash. We know Boudreau will earn $12 million over the next four years. We suspect Boucher will earn, um, a lot less, but we don’t know the details. Of the disclosed data provided by Cap FriendlySean Tierney of Today’s Slapshot created a helpful visualization that makes one thing clear:

Barry Trotz is underpaid.

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Caps Fans Celebrate on Gallery Steps, Pens Fans MIA


Six days ago, the Penguins defeated the Capitals at Verizon Center and their fans got raucous on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery.

Saturday, after the Caps thumped the Penguins 3-1 in Game Five, a handful of Caps fans defended the steps with their own celebration. Pittsburgh fans were nowhere to be seen. Now that’s moar like it!

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Caps Trump Penguins 3-1, Make Hockey Great Again


Photo: Patrick Smith

How great are the Washington Capitals? I mean, how totally great are the Washington Capitals? Look at how the Capitals played in game five. They played great, so totally great, you will love how great they played. And the Penguins? Bad. So bad.

How’d the game start? Boom. Alex Ovechkin power play goal. But the Penguins came back, because the Penguins don’t respect us, they think we’re jokes, just like the rest of the world, and that’s why Chris Kunitz scored on a rebound.

But the Capitals are gorgeous so — and you’re going to love this — TJ Oshie scored a power-play goal and then Justin Williams put one in Matt Murray’s five-hole, really schlonged him there.

Caps beat Penguins 3-1.

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Caps vs Penguins Pregame: The Raggedy Edge

Alex Smile

Tonight at 7:15 PM in Verizon Center, our Washington Capitals will fight for their playoff lives. Backs against the wall, do or die, crap or get off the pot — choose your idiom; they all work.

I don’t have much to say. Talk is cheap, get pucks deep. Scoar moar goals. Crash the net.

The Penguins lead the series 3-1. I don’t want to write about breakdown day on Monday.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-18-8 52.0% 101.1 21.9% (5th) 85.2% (2nd)
Pittsburgh Penguins 48-26-8 53.0% 100.6 18.4% (16th) 84.4 % (5th)

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Chris Gordon NYT oh shit son

FREDERICK — RMNB’s favorite son, Chris Gordon, is published in today’s paper and web editions of The New York Times, where they do fancy datelines and type it as N.H.L. instead of NHL. Gordon writes about what tonight’s pivotal Game Five portends for the Capitals’ miserable habit of early playoff exits.

Today is also the Kentucky Derby, and today’s newspaper contains the betting lines, so I expect a lot of eyes on the Gray Lady and Chris’s article today. Like, millions.

Congratulations, Chris. Your success is hard-earned and well-deserved af. We love you.

Read Chris Gordon in the NYT!

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The Capitals are on the verge of playoff elimination again. For the second straight year, Barry Trotz’s Capitals team look unlikely to pass the second round, and it’s just not right.

Washington’s franchise goalie, Braden Holtby, has stopped 663 of 702 shots (all strengths) across 23 games. That is a stunning .944 save percentage, and yet Holtby has a losing record.

Washington’s penalty kill has been perfect since Game Four of the first round, shutting down 24 consecutive power plays. That is remarkable, and yet the Caps are still about to break down for the summer.

What the hell?!

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Auston Matthews - John Buccigross

First overall draft pick Auston Matthews (Photo via John Buccigross)

I don’t actually know who John Buccigross is. I know he does hockey coverage for ESPN, which sounds like a silly thing, but your boy Rob Vollman does it and he’s great. Maybe Bucci is great too, that’s what I thought when I clicked on today’s article about Maple Leafs prize prospect Auston Matthews.


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Penguins beat Caps 3-2: Nothing Feels Good


Urine (Photo: Tom Guilitti

Albert Camus portrayed existence as the mythical Sisyphus carrying a stone up a hill only to watch it fall once he reached the top. Sisyphus trudges down and starts over. He drags up the hill again, and again it drops. This story, Camus tells us, is just like life: meaningless, tedious, thoroughly absurd.

Just like Capitals playoff hockey!

Washington sure tried hard. They sorta dominated play in Game Three, but the universe is unconcerned with effort. The Caps lost. The rock rolled down the hill.

Patric Hornqvist got one first, scoring after a failed Caps clear. One minute later it was Tom Kuhnhackle’s turn, getting some lucky bounces to beat Braden Holtby.

The Caps were furious in the second period, but it was Carl Hagelin who struck, making it 3-0 after Nate Schmidt’s misplay in his own end.

In the third, Alex Ovechkin ripped one to the top corner to crack Matt Murray’s shutout. With a minute left, Justin Williams found an open net and scored. The Caps pushed hard in those final minutes, but the rock rolled back down the hill.

Penguins beat Caps 3-2. Penguins lead the series 2-1.

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The NHL has suspended Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik three games for his hit on Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta in Game Two. The hit was late and primarily targeted Maatta’s head.

Matta left the game and did not return. The Penguins said he is “obviously out.” Orpik had suffered a head injury of his own during the Philadelphia series.

On Sunday, Orpik had a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

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