Inherent Resolve: Penguins Beat Capitals 4-3 (OT)

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Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

It’s game 80 for the Washington Capitals this season. I cannot think of a more perfect time to go all Adam Oates and force new things down Caps fans’ throats. On our end, RMNB tried out a new in-game live blog, where you got to interact with Chris. But not me. I’m the actual Chris. His name is Chris From The Comments, because he doesn’t have the credentials to blow up the site at will. From the Caps, got some new lines and D-pairs from Barry Trotz, which might be the way the Capitals lineup looks when we start the playoffs. Braden Holtby was in net because you sure as hell know why Braden Holtby was in net. Pens had won 13 of 14. So let’s do this.

Well, on second thought, let’s not. Forty-four seconds into the game, the Capitals’ defense crumbled like a nomination before the Senate — except the Capitals were trying even less.

Early in the second, Matt Cullen scored yet another goal in the first minute of the period, His shorthanded goal seemingly crush the Caps’ hopes. Then the Caps killed a five-minute penalty (Tom Wilson, natch) only to surrender a five-hole goal to Connor Sheary on an odd-man rush soon after. Thank goodness for Marcus Johansson, who finally got the Caps on board late in the period.

In the third, Joe Hanson was money yet again, turning the rest of the third period into a grudge match against the league’s hottest team. Just over three minutes later, another perfect Swedish and adorable and awesome player named Andre Burakovsky CRASHED THE FREAKIN’ NET and tied the game. This is why you watch sports.

What happened later is why you never want to watch sports again. Sidney Crosby in the extra frame. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).

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Isles beat Caps 4-3 (OT): Holtby’s Record Deferred

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Our final week of regular season hockey began with Metro foes, the New York Islanders. Backstopped by a person who I can only assume is familiar with goaltending, the Isles were disadvantaged but not helpless.

Like all good hockey games, this one began with a goal by Alex Ovechkin, a wide shot following a faceoff. John Tavares tied it in the second period with a weird goal that escaped Braden Holtby’s glove hand.

The top line struck twice in the third period with goals by Oshie and Ovi, but Kyle Okposo got a gritty goal shortly after to keep it tense. A frenetic forecheck led to Anders Lee’s game-tying goal from the paint.

After a bunch of Caps chances, Thomas Hickey got the win for the Isles in overtime.

Islanders beat Caps 4-3 in OT.

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Bouncing Biscuits: Caps Shut Out By Coyotes 3-0

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The Caps played their second game in as many nights. They started good, but didn’t end so good.

The first period was a total snooze fest on TV (when my home had electricity). The Caps came out strong again, dominating in shot attempts. The second period featured a Schmidty fight but no goals. Then in the third period, the figurative dam broke in the desert. The Coyotes struck twice on deflections, 27 seconds apart. Later, Brad Richardson put a bow on it.

CAPS LOSE 3-0.

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Persistence Pays Off: Caps beat Avs 4-2!

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Pictured: A+ parenting.

The Avs, like the Caps, have speed. The Avs, unlike the Caps, do not have skill. This was evident early in the game–namely when the Caps set up shop in the defensive zone, and the home team was applauded for FINALLY getting the puck out of their own zone. Despite a torrent of shot attempts, the game remained scoreless throughout the first period.

Forever came and went, but the Caps finally unleashed the scoring in the second period. Semyon Varlamov prevented the game from ballooning into an epic shellacking. A few miscues allowed the Avs to begin mounting a comeback, but TJ Oshie sealed their fate with a late empty-netter. Alas, the better team prevailed.

Caps beat Avs 4-2!

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Days of Future Past: Flyers beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

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I had a vision of the Caps vs Flyers in round one, and it was ugly. The Caps and the Flyers are 60-something percent likely to match up in the first round of the playoffs, so Wednesday night’s rivalry night game was supposedly a preview of what we’ll see in a few weeks. If that’s the case, I feel mostly good about the Caps’ chances despite the gimmick loss, but I feel absolutely terrible about the stomach ulcer I’m already developing.

The game was agonizingly scoreless until early in the third period, when Evgeny Kuznetsov’s seam pass reached the Ovi spot. With five minutes left, the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn converted a power play, pushing us into overtime. The Flyers survived a Caps OTPP and pushed us all the way to the shootout, and you know what that means….

Shootout bullets!

  • Oshie did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Cousins put the biscuit in the basket. Five hole.
  • Kuznetsov did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ganer put the biscuit in the basket.

Flyers beat Caps 2-1 in the shootout. Blech.

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Best in the League: Caps beat Blue Jackets 4-1

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Hey, the Caps have the best record in the league. How bout that? They shook off their 5v5 funk against Lumbus, recording even-strength goals from the best and second best heads of hair on the Washington roster (you decide which is which) and locking it down late.

Sixteen minutes into the first period, Justin Williams cracked a long 5v5 goal slump with a second effort after John Carlson’s rebound. That was nifty, but Cam Atkinson leveled the score two minutes later.

The second period was silent, but Tom Wilson recorded his seventh goal in the third period, a backhander from the bottom six. The Caps added insurance with a power-play goal ostensibly by Matt Niskanen but tapped in by TJ Oshie. Nick Backstrom secured an empty netter to hit the 20-goal mark and make Swedish heritage night just a bit sweeter.

Caps beat Blue Jackets 4-1! The Caps have won the Presidents’ Trophy!

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Unpresidential: Blues Blank Caps 4-0

PatrickMcDermott:NHLI via Getty Images

Photo: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Friday night, the Capitals headed up to Newark. Absolutely nothing happened. Someone finally dented the twine when John Carlson, fresh off the injured list, unleashed a deadly slapped for the game-winner. Or so I’m told. I conked out in a clonidine-induced stupor with like four minutes left in the third. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to tangerine popsicles — thankfully wrapped — strewn around me as the Caps headed home with a 1-0 victory.

On Saturday night, however, the Capitals played an interesting hockey game. Unlike the Devils game, there were such pastimes as shots on goal — the Caps were the better team than the St. Louis Blues in the first too.

In the second, the Blues, in a fight with the Dallas Stars for the best record in the West, started to apply the heat on a team with little to play for. And guess what, the Caps allowed the first goal. Dmitry Orlov bumped the puck behind the puck after being pressured on the forecheck before Kyle Brodziak tapped a rebound into an empty net.

The second period carnage continued just from there when Colton Parayko beat Philipp Grubauer with a shot akin to a light breeze. One hundred seconds later Vladimir Tarasenko, now the NHL’s fourth leading goal scorer, made it a three goal game after Matt Niskanen left him unattended in the far circle.

YAWN. Somebody scored late in the third but I wasn’t paying attention. Blues blank Caps 4-0.

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Friday night is the best night of the week, unless you’re watching the Capitals play the Devils. New Jersey, who is six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, spent the entire game playing some dump-and-chase, low event hockey. They did this hoping that by slowing the pace down, they could catch the NHL’s best team snoozing and eek out a much-needed win.

It did not work. The Caps are just too darn good.

After 60 minutes of a 0-0 tie, John Carlson, in his first game since February 24, blasted a one-timer past Scott Wedgewood 2:17 into overtime. Like it was fate, the goal came on the six year anniversary of Carlson’s first NHL goal.

Caps win their 53rd game of the season, 1-0.

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Hot Start, Cool Finish: Caps beat Senators 4-2

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All of a sudden, I’ve got an idea for the plot of Taken 4.

The Capitals came into Canadian Tire Centre like a wrecking ball, recording a trio of goals in the opening frame and then holding on for the remaining forty. The Ottawa Senators, it turns out, aren’t very good.

First it was Mike Richards, seizing on a takeaway by Tom Wilson to record his second goal as a Capital. Alex Ovechkin came next, sweeping in a shot on the power play, followed by Nick Backstrom who backhanded a bobbler past Craig Anderson to give the Caps a 3-goal lead.

The sole goal of the second period came from Matt Wideman, an outside fluke obscured by Karl Alzner’s glove. The Senators snuck back into it with 90 seconds left off the stick of Mika Zibanejad, but TJ Oshie beat Karlsson to score the empty netter.

Caps beat Senators 4-2. The Caps have won the Eastern Conference.

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Sunday Evening Coming Down: Penguins beat Caps 6-2

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The Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins played a chaotic slobberknocker of hockey for an hour on Sunday night.

Bryan Rust and Trevor Daley put the Pens ahead in the first period. Jason Chimera and Andre Burakovsky tied the game in the second, but Tom Kuhnhackl gave Pittsburgh the lead after forty, which Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz extended in the third. Holtby got pulled, and then Justin Schultz welcomed Philipp Grubauer to the game.

Wow. That was brutal. Pens beat Caps 6-2.

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