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The Caps are out, but the drama continues.

Here’s how we did last round:

  1. Peter: 3 for 4
  2. Keith, a Coin: 2 for 4
  3. Ian: 4 for 4 oh bravo you special little snowflake you picked against the Caps aren’t you so clever hold on let me put an applause gif in here

Now for the Conference Finals.

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Sad Caps in Sad Photos

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He should of had that one. (Photo: Kathy Willens)

Once again, the Washington Capitals have been unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs in a gut-wrenching game seven after relinquishing a lead. It hurts. The coming days and weeks and months will be filled with chatter about what it all means and who’s a choker and who needs to step up and who’s a leader and other nonsense like that. For now, let’s just bask in the misery.

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Capitals Eliminated by Rangers in Overtime

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The Washington Capitals have been eliminated by the New York Rangers.

There was a moment around lunchtime when I had actually convinced myself game seven between the Capitals and Rangers might not be a low-scoring, one-goal game decided in overtime. Maybe you thought the same. If so, you’re a dummy too. This was always going to be tight. It was always going to be a goalie duel. This was always going to be excruciating. The only thing we didn’t know was that this was the end.

Alex Ovechkin scored in the first period, fighting to win a faceoff then driving to the net as Marcus Johansson dealt him the puck. A glut of penalties sucked up the second period, capped off by Kevin Hayes’ goal to knot the game heading into the third period. The Rangers pushed late, but some great work by the Caps forward depth and Braden Holtby held on for overtime, which is when Josh Groban said

and he was right. The Capitals were frenzied in OT, but a spat of icings gave the Rangers a chance to strike and strike they did. Derek Stepan ended it.

Rangers beat Caps 2-1 in overtime. That’s the end of the season.

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Caps at Rangers Pregame: Into the Breach

For the second time in as many rounds, the Washington Capitals’ season comes down to one game. Tied 3 games to 3 with the New York Rangers, the Caps must win to advance to the conference final for the first time since season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy had to kill Angel to stop Acathla from swallowing the Earth. If the Caps lose, it’ll probably feel about the same as when Buffy had to kill Angel to stop Acathla from swallowing the Earth.

7:30. MSG. NBC Sports. Crash the net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Rangers 53-22-7 50.6% 101.7 16.8% 84.3%

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Photo: Doug Mills

Your boy Chris Gordon is in The New York Times again, where they call it “Game 7″ instead of “game seven.”  This time, Chris writes about the would-be hero of Game 6 (see?), Joel Ward. Ward scored one goal and assisted on two more in Washington’s 4-3 loss to New York. He’s a big-game player, and games get no bigger than the one tonight. Read all about it.

Goodness, this certainly is a large link to the article.

Congrats again, Chris. Please tell Maureen Dowd and David Brooks I said hey.

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Sixty Minutes of Hockey

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

No one knows the agony of games seven like fans of the Washington Capitals. The Caps, we’ve been told, are a team uniquely terrible at playing Big Games, which are bigger than small games, which don’t even get uppercase letters. Washington, led– perhaps only nominally– by Alex Ovechkin, are choking dogs. Or maybe they’re cursed. Basically, they’re cursed, choking dogs who are also lazy and don’t care about team accomplishments and they’re probably all going to go to Russia soon anyw—

Shut. Up.

The past is not always prologue. Sometimes the past is just trivia. Maybe it’s just painful trivia that provides writers a convenient angle from which to cover hockey, but it’s still trivia.

Tonight is game seven, gay sev to us in the know. It’s not the culmination of a franchise or some grand denouement for a city that needs a winner. It’s just an hour of hockey with one winner and one loser, an hour of hockey to determine if this is the end or not. That’s all.

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Your favorite player might play in the biggest game of the season. Smiling god/defenseman Nate Schmidt has been recalled from the Hershey Bears. If he plays in game seven on Wednesday, he’ll be filling in for Tim Gleason, who was beleaguered and banged up in game six.

With Gleason out (but not necessarily because Gleason was out), the Capitals dominated the final ten minutes of that game.

When Nate Schmidt and Mike Green were on the ice together during 5v5 this season, the Capitals controlled 55.1 percent of the shot attempts.

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I Guarantee That This Does Not Matter

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There I was, getting Chipotle and listening to Bullseye, when I get the notification above. Apparently, Alex Ovechkin has guaranteed a win in game seven, and Barry Trotz loves it.

The second part is true. The first part is not.

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Rangers beat Caps 4-3, Force Game Seven

Hello, darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to play game seven again.

The Washington Capitals were designed by the Enemy to make your life unbearable. They get dominated by the Rangers, the fall in a three-goal hole, they mount a comeback, they almost do it but fall late.

Chris Krieder scored the first and second goals of the game in the first and last minute of the first period. Jason Chimera cleaned up a rebound to get the Caps in it in the second, but Rick Nash and Dan Boyle scored early in the third to put us in blowout territory, but hold on.

Joel Ward forced a turnover and Evgeny Kuznetsov sunk it to restore some vitality to Verizon Center, then Ward did it solo– crashing the net to make it a one-goal game. A huge push late yielded nothing except stress.

Caps lose. To game seven, good ol’ gay sev, we go once more.

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Not yet. Caps in six.

The New York Rangers have forced game six with some late-game drama. Caps in six.

No one scored in the first. No one scored in the second. No one scored until nine minutes left in the third, when Matt Niskanen set Curtis freaking Glencross loose in the offensive zone to score all alone. With 101 seconds left in #rego, goalie-hurter Chris Kreider converted on the rush to force overtime. Your playoff hero wore blue. It was Ryan McDonagh.

Rangers beat Caps 2-1 in overtime. The Caps lead the series 3-2. Caps in six.

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