Last season, the Washington Capitals used their western Canadian road trip to jump start their Presidents’ Trophy winning season.
Now it’s time for take two. The Caps headed into the brand new Rogers Place in Edmonton looking to find their “killer instinct,” according to Karl Alzner, after an inconsistent start to the season.
Despite the referees doling out eight PIMs in the first period, the game was scoreless after 20.
The Caps controlled the first 10 minutes of the second frame, outshooting the Oilers 7-0 in the second. Then the Edmonton fired their first shot on goal of the period. It went in. Ryan Nugget-Hopkins’s shot went off Benoit Pouliot, giving Edmonton a 1-nil lead. Less than 10 minutes later, Pouliot got another lucky goal when he banked the puck off Braden Holtby’s back.
Just nine seconds into the third, the Capitals had lift when Alex Ovechkin went from sniper to jackhammer in front of the net, scoring his a goal in his fourth straight game. Just over a minute later, however, the Caps got caught shadowing McDavid and Patrick Maroon gave the Oilers a two goal lead once again. Milan Lucic added — wait for it — another power play goal against the Caps. Oilers beat Caps 4-1.
It was foam blinking thing night at Verizon Center. Fittingly, the Washington Capitals delivered a headache of a hockey game.
Things started auspiciously when Lars Eller scored his first goal with the Capitals just 93 seconds into the game after an excellent setup by Brooks Orpik! Alex Ovechkin added another one late in the period when his wrist shot went by a screened Henrik Lundqvist.
The second period was a disaster. First, Brandon Pirri scored from the high slot after a defensive misplay by the Caps. Then Jimmy Vesey netted his second and third career goals in quick succession. On just five shots, the Rangers scored three goals while controlling possession.
The Caps couldn’t mount a comeback in the third. Rick Nash got the empty netter. Rangers beat Caps 4-2.
The Washington Capitals headed down to the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area for a hockey match. Or maybe it was the Kazakhstan desert. Either way, no one was there.
The Capitals got the scoring started after a great play by the love of my life Nate Schmidt, who fed the puck in front to a waiting Justin Williams, ever whacking until he scored his first goal of the season. Less than two minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov got his first regular-season goal since March 1 when he tipped in a shot from Matt Niskanen. Before the period was up, however, Michael Matheson surprised Braden Holtby with a quick shot from the half board.
The second period landed with a flop like this year’s Al Smith dinner, with the Panthers outshooting the Caps 14-4 and Jaromir Jagr netting his 750th career goal. The joke is in reference to something that was on TV during the game, which I turned off because it was too boring.
In the third, Alex Ovechkin deflected another Niskanen point drive. The Caps flipped the script on the second period, only allowing a handful of shots in the closing 20. Marcus Johansson added one late. Caps beat Panthers 4-2.
Hoo boy we have a team here ladies and gents. The Caps got the upper hand on the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday, largely in part to the power play waking up from its early season slumber to provide the damage necessary to down Jared Bednar’s boys.
First was Ovi’s first of the season from his spot. Second was Timothy Leif Oshie from the slot. Both with a man advantage. Oshie then added another 5v5 off of a rebound from an Ovechkin shot that was sprung by a great play by Dmitry Orlov.
Caps beat Avalanche 3-0. The Caps are now 2-0-1 on the young season.
The Capitals hosted their home opener on Saturday night. Rather than a 22-minute ceremony, the festivities were more muted. There was no mention of last season’s President’s Trophy. Instead, the coach, training and equipment staff, and the team’s roster were introduced to the fans after a super-dramatic Will Over Skill video narrated by Mike Knuble. The game start was delayed only nine minutes for the right to bear witness to all this.
Washington dominated the early portion of the first period, with the Islanders taking over seven minutes to get a shot on goal. The game continued going Washington’s way when John Carlson finished off an excellent shift by firing a puck towards the net that Daniel Winnik deflected past Thomas Greiss.
The Islanders took to the power play thanks to a holding call on Karl Alzner. Brooks Orpik came to the rescue, scoring an own goal off his skates.
The second frame was pretty boring. The Caps got two power plays but couldn’t convert. The only action came when Orpik and Alzner went D-to-D, before Karl made a long breakout pass to Winnik. Travis Hamonic fell on his tushy and Washington’s grinder took the puck all the way to house. Then some people on Twitter made terrible puns. That was all. Caps beat Islanders 2-1.
An early deficit, sent spiraling by a terrible penalty, then a stirring, unlikely comeback, sudden defeat. Game Six was the height of Caps playoff chaos. If you emotionally checked out early, I can’t blame you. If, late in the game, you didn’t high-five until your hands got all red and stingy, I can’t understand you. If you’re reeling right now, you are my people.
Penguins beat Capitals 4-3 in overtime. Penguins win the series 4-2.
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.
The absences of Kris Letang and Olli Maata (and Eric Fehr) gave the Caps a major advantage in Game Four. And then Barry Trotz played Mike Weber instead of Nate Schmidt. You know how this ends. Let’s move onto discussing the game itself, shall we?
This game had a little bit of everything, including a tragic denouement. Jay Beagle got a certified puck luck goal, but Sidney Crosby got his first point (and temper tantrum) in the series. Overall, there wasn’t much suggesting that the Caps were taking advantage of the absences of the Pens’ two best defensemen.
The second period was a vomit fest. Spoiler alert: so was overtime. For a time, the Pens
eventually mercifully faltered, and the Justin Williams Postseason Redemption Campaign continued. A fabulous shift by Williams and Andre Burakovsky led to John Carlson’s game-tying goal. As expected, the Caps stepped up their game for the third. A scoreless period resulted in overtime, to the chagrin of early risers everywhere.
Penguins beat the Caps 3-2 in OT. Penguins lead the series 3-1.
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.
That was brutal. The Washington Capitals played badly and poorly against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two. I mean poorly in the sense that they did not perform well. I mean badly in the sense that they did some stuff that wasn’t exactly gallant. And yet, thanks to the singularly stellar performance of a certain Saskatchewanian stud in net, the Caps kept the score close.
The Penguins had little to show for their possession dominance until Nick Bonino won a board battle and set up Carl Hagelin for the opening goal.
In the third, Marcus Johansson, that notorious softy, tied the game with a power play goal earned from the paint. But with five minutes left, former Capital Eric Fehr caught a puck from Evgeni Malkin and tapped home the game-winner.
Pens beat Caps 2-1. The series is tied 1-1.
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