One Down, Three to Go: Caps beat Ducks 3-2!

Debora Robinson

Photo: Debora Robinson

Alright, here we go.

The Caps’ Californian vacation is a crucible that will decide exactly of what this team is made. If the Caps can do the impossible and sweep these four games (the fourth at home against the Kings), they could once again make a late-season push for the postseason. With Tuesday’s narrow win over Bruce Boudreau and his Anaheim Ducks, those hopes are still alive.

Here’s how it all went down.

Joel Ward and the terrific third line did their thing again, crashing the net for the game’s first goal. The Ducks struck back as any Caps opponent would do: within the next minute. Before the first period was up, Troy Brouwer converted on the power play to give the Caps a one-goal lead.

The Caps survived a scoreless second period, but Mathieu Perreault found space and a screen to tie the game early in the third. That simply set the stage for Alex Ovechkin, who scored one of his cleanest Ovi shots from the Ovi spot. Halak fought off a late scramble by the Ducks.

Caps beat Ducks 3-2!

Continue Reading

perreault with kids

Any excuse to post a photo of Perreault (Photo courtesy of the Caps)

This California road trip comprises the most important week of Washington Capitals’ season. Tonight at 10 PM, the Caps will face Bruce Boudreau, Mathieu Perreault, and the Anaheim Ducks. When that happens, Jay Beagle will be on the first line and Dustin Penner will be on the fourth.

Here are the lines, per the inestimable Katie Carrera of the Washington Post:

Johansson – Beagle – Ovechkin
Kuznetsov – Backstrom – Brouwer
Chimera – Fehr – Ward
Penner – Wellman – Wilson

This is a bit odd, though maybe it’s not so dire.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

ovi-schultz

A Boston writer named Michael Hurley wrote an article about how Alex Ovechkin‘s plus-minus rating is really bad and therefore Alex Ovechkin is really bad. I’m going to link to it here because that’s the responsible thing to do, but please don’t read it. Hurley, who actually gets paid for this dreck, goes through some half-hearted apologia for plus-minus (“As everyone knows, plus-minus is a greatly flawed stat”), and then he uses it as the centerpiece of his argument (“Still, it’s not completely meaningless, as some would like you to believe.”)

He also uses a GIF as part of his proof. You know which one.

So, real quick, I’m just gonna bust out a couple reasons why a) Alex Ovechkin’s plus-minus is low, b) plus-minus is not an indicator of talent, and c) Michael Hurley’s column is bad and he should feel bad.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Brooks Laich Got Groin Surgery, Shut Down For Season

Photo: Chris Gordon

The Washington Capitals have announced that Brooks Laich has undergone surgery to alleviate his ongoing groin problems. His recovery is expected to take 4-6 weeks, effectively ending his 2013-14 season.

Laich’s injury has been nagging for over two years, costing him most of last season and portions of this one. Last week, Laich met with groin specialist Michael Brunt in St. Louis.

He did not travel with the team to California.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

laughlin-telestrator-oops

GIFs by Ian Oland, who is looking up spandex unitards on Amazon.com right now.

With a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, the Washington Capitals had a terrific start to Sunday’s game against the Leafs. Then stuff started going wrong. The Caps hardly had the puck in the second and let their two-goal lead slip away when Dion Phaneuf snuck a puck through traffic. The disorder wasn’t limited to the players either; Craig Laughlin had struggles of his own.

With ten minutes left in the game, Troy Brouwer laid a hit on Paul Ranger on neutral ice, sending the latter into Laughlin’s nest between the benches. The collision knocked Laughlin’s telestrator off its perch.

“Watch out, Locker!”  Joe B said.

“Down goes my telestrator. It’s down and out,” replied Locker.

Continue Reading

Caps beat Leafs 4-2! Next Up: California!

Evan Vucci

Photo: Evan Vucci

I hate St. Patrick’s Day. My family is Irish as Feakle and I like Irish writing and the Corrs and stuff, but I hate leprechauns and boiled potatoes and corned beef. I was really hoping Washington Capitals vs Toronto Maple Leafs would be a short reprieve from the holiday and a happy kickoff to a huge week on the road for a Caps team barely holding on to playoff hopes. While we got a fantastic first period out of the home team, the rest of the game was a little dreary. Like Ireland.

The Caps came out literally on fire. Troy Brouwer got his 19th of the year from right up front. Jason Chimera kicked in yet another goal for his line with Fehr and Ward. And then Ward nailed a layup set up by Kuzya and Penner. The Leafs got one before the period was up– a lucky bounce into the slot and onto Troy Bodie’s stick–  but it was a dominant twenty minutes for the home team.

The second was the opposite. Dion Phaneuf released a long bomb that snuck through the top line and Orlov-Carrick pairing. Then the Leafs got three consecutive power plays that the Caps desperately killed off.

The Caps survived the third and shut down the Leafs’ comeback attempt when Jason Chimera drew a penalty on a breakaway. Troy Brouwer got the empty netter.

Caps beat Leafs 4-2!

Continue Reading

Week 22 Snapshot: Wagons West!

Nick Wass

Photo: Nick Wass

For the second week in a row, the Capitals took just two standings points out of a possible six. The Caps are three points behind Philly for the wild-card spot, but Philly has two extra games holstered. Sports Club Stats puts the Caps’ chances of making the playoffs at 8.1%. For them to have a chance, they’d basically have to play like the best team in the league from here on out.

It doesn’t look good.

And then there’s the small matter of California. After Sunday’s date with the Leafs, the Caps go west. The way of Horatio Alger, Davy Crockett, the Donner Party for games against the Ducks, the Kings, and the Sharks. Wuh oh.

I’m trying over here to find a positive spin to put on the numbers, but I’m thinking if you’re looking for solace you might want to look elsewhere. I promise to keep this short and mildly interesting.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Peter Talkin’ Puck on Toronto Maple Leafs Hotstove

The fine gentlemen at Toronto Maple Leafs Hot Stove have invited me to join them again. We’ll be getting you prepped for Sunday’s game between the Leafs and the Caps. I bet we’ll be talking Kuznetsov and Grabovski and stuff at some point. Tune in and enjoy. I promise I won’t look like an Oompa Loompa like last time.

(Hopefully Georgia won’t ruin it.)

Tagged with:
 

Kuznetrick! Caps beat Canucks 4-3

Nick Wass

Photo: Nick Wass

The Washington Capitals have been taking it on the chin since the Olympic break. Friday’s game against the similarly struggling Vancouver Canucks was a primo opportunity to save face and play some thick and proud Caps hockey. Plus, the new guy was freaking superb.

The third line opened it up with a terrific shift. Eric Fehr drove the puck, but got bounced away by Eddie Lack. Luckily, Jason Chimera served it up to Joel Ward, who scored on his second swing. Jordan Schroeder tied it up for the Canucks on a broken play.

In the second, Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his first career NHL point on an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot and then set up Tom Wilson via a glorious slap pass to give the Caps a dreaded two-goal lead.

Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen tied it up in the third– erasing the Caps’ 12th two-goal lead of the season. No matter. Mike Green found the net three minutes later, set up by some nifty behind-the-net moves by Backstrom and Kuznetsov. Alexandre Burrows rang post with eight minutes left but found no twine.

Caps beat Canucks 4-3.

Continue Reading

rmnb-party-6

October 30, 1993. It was a Saturday. Clinton was President. Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” was in its final day as the number one song in the country. (Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love” would take over the next day.) Fox TV had just entered its first year broadcasting every day, airing The X-Files just one night earlier (a pretty meh episode if you ask me). That “Got Milk?” commercial with the guy with peanut-butter mouth aired for the first time a night before. The Nightmare Before Christmas had just debuted in theaters and Tim Burton had already begun hoarding credit. River Phoenix died.

And the Washington Capitals beat the Sharks for the last time in San Jose.

On Saturday, March 22nd, the Capitals will return to San Jose hoping to snap their 21-year slump. And we’ll be watching from RFD Washington. Won’t you join us?

That’s right: At long last, here comes #RMNBParty6!

Continue Reading