Hey Pat, Oshie Scored Twice: Caps beat Pens 4-1

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Oh, look. Holtby’s mask came off during play again. This is fine. I am fine.

I’ll get to the Penguins-Capitals game, and the debut of Mike Sullivan, and Oshie’s big performance and everything, but first: it happened again. Braden Holtby’s mask came off again. I’m not making too big a deal about this. This is literally a disaster in the making and no one is freaking out enough in my judgment.

But let’s talk about the scoring first.

Nick Backstrom scored early on, snatching a pass from Oshie to beat Marc-Andre Fleury up the gut. Three minutes later, John Carlson took his own rebound and turned it into a two-goal lead, which the Penguins began eroding with Evgeni Malkin’s tip-in through traffic. TJ Oshie put the Pens back in the two-goal hole where they belong with a dandy wraparound in the third period. The Penguins got busted late in the game for having cranky pants, so TJ Oshie got another goal. Woo!

Caps beat Pens 4-1. 21 wins and counting.

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Caps at Penguins Pregame: Coach Killer vs Coach Killers

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No one cares about this anymore.

The Capitals are in Pittsburgh today to face the Penguins and their new coach, Mike Sullivan. Having recently fired the guy who literally wrote the book on hockey strategy but whose on-ice strategies grew increasingly inane, the Penguins could be primed for a bounce back.

It’s also possible that their problems run deeper than tactics. I hope Jim Rutherford isn’t looking into long-term real-estate investments in Shadyside.

Puck drops at 7 PM on CSN. Peter Hassett, who is me, will have your recap service.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 20-6-2 52.1% 101.4 23.3% 83.5%
Pittsburgh Penguins 15-10-3 48.3% 100.3 15.6% 84.2%

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Caps at Lightning Pregame: Don’t Disappoint Dad

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Circa 2011.

The Capitals’ regulation loss to the Florida Panthers was their first since November 19. It was also probably their worst game of the season, or so I was told. I’ve heard that no shame is worse than shame from one’s father, so the Caps must redeem themselves tonight with a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, or else seppuku is the only option.

Puck drops at 7 PM. Until then, have a lovely December Saturday afternoon. Maybe go tanning by the pool or play frisbee.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 19-6-2 52.5% 101.0 23.9% 84.0%
Tampa Bay Lightning 14-12-3 51.6% 101.7 17.0% 77.5%

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Caps at Panthers Pregame: Dad Trip, Dad Jokes

A photo of Jaromir Jagr and his daddy

The Washington Capitals are one of the hottest teams in the league. The Florida Panthers, well, they are certainly a team in the NHL. Tonight they will play each other while you watch.

Puck drops in Florida, an actual place where they play hockey, at 7:30 PM. Game’s on CSN-DC, thank goodness.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 19-5-2 52.7% 101.1 25.3% 84.0%
Florida Panthers 13-11-4 46.9% 101.0 19.4% 79.8%

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Worry Not for Alex Ovechkin’s Offense

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Photo: Patrick McDermott

With a hard-nosed drive to the net on Tuesday, Alex Ovechkin ended a three-game goal-less slump in which he took just nine shots. Though Ovechkin recorded assists in two of those three games, that week without a goal, the league leader board, and the general seeming malaise of the Caps power play might have some people anxious about Alex Ovechkin’s production.

There’s no need. He’s fine. He’s better than fine. He’s great.

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Mike Green’s Homecoming: Caps beat Red Wings 3-2 (SO)

Mike Green by Amanda Bowen

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Mike Green returned to Verizon Center for the first time since, eh, I’d rather not talk about it. The Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals played another one of their agonizingly tight games, but it was actually pretty good hockey, so it was fun to watch. But if this game were played in May, I’d be vomiting my soul up right now.

The Capitals didn’t wait long to score. Justin Williams took advantage of a broken play by Detroit to score his 600th career point. A little later, a dumb icing call gave Dylan Larkin the opportunity to set up Henrik Zetterberg for a smooth-looking goal. Detroit took the lead in the second period with Tomas Jurco’s first goal of the season. The Caps drew two penalties in the third period, the second of which Alex Ovechkin converted by crashing the net. Tied at two, the game went to 3v3 overtime, which is basically just NBA Jam for hockey. The Caps had to kill a big penalty in the extra period to force the shootout.

Shootout bullets!

  • TJ Oshie put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Gustav Nyquist did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Pavel Datsyuk did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.

Caps beat Red Wings in the shootout!

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The Washington Capitals are up early against Mike Green’s Detroit Red Wings, and it’s all thanks to Justin William’s tap-in.

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End of the Streak: Jets beat Caps 2-1 (OT)

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^ From actual gameplay during a penalty kill with the clock running and everything

If I were a pro hockey player who was paid ludicrously well to play a silly game, I’d be in a good mood all the time. I’d be an unlimited high five dispenser. You’d get so many free drinks off me you’d develop cirrhosis. I definitely wouldn’t be a cranky piss-pants. And yet, Saturday’s game between the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals had a bunch of cranky piss-pants in it. From the first whistle players on both teams were already peeing pants. That led to a bunch of penalties early on, but no clear victor in rego and a very murky finish in overtime.

Andrew Ladd scored on a controversial power play late in the first period. Nick Backstrom even it up with a Nicky shot from the reverse-Ovi spot in the second period. No one scored in the third, so into overtime we went. The Caps fired a million shots, but Mark Scheifele finally beat Braden on a disputed but upheld OT goal.

Jets beat Caps 2-1 in overtime, eventually.

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Caps beat Canadiens 3-2: We Have a Holtby

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There’s a scene in Marvel’s Avengers where Iron Man and Loki are talking trash before the big fight. Iron Man plays his trump card, “we have a Hulk,” and then a long, exciting action sequence follows. The Capitals’ performance in Montreal on Thursday would be a bit like that if, instead of fighting for their lives, the Avengers just sorta chilled out and made their “Hulk” do all the work.

Tom Wilson scored on his first shift, a decent snipe after Brooks Laich did work along the boards. The Canadiens tied the game in the second with Lars Eller’s stuff-in goal, but the Caps took a lead to the second intermission thanks to TJ Oshie, ostensibly. The Habs tied it again early in the third with a shorthanded goal by Brian Flynn, but Oshie again restored the lead by being only barely involved in Karl Alzner’s long bomb.

Caps beat Habs 3-2. Seriously, they won that. I don’t know how. The six-game win streak continues!

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Twenty Games In: The RMNB Report Card

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As a team, the Capitals deserve glowing reviews through their first 22 games. I’m talking A- or B+ at the lowest. They’re tops in the Metro in points per game, they’re in the top five in most stats, and now even Vegas thinks they’re a contender.

We’re using this momentary lull between games to assess the team on an individual level. Every player is taking home a report card today, and mommy and daddy are hoping they get high marks.

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