Worth Staying Up For: Kings beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

Mark J Terrill

Photo: Mark J. Terrill

Thursday night was the centerpiece of the Washington Capitals’ three-game trek through California: a crucial clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are the best team in the league (imho) and my pick, again, to win the Cup. The Caps would need to play above their heads and get a little lucky to best the best. They didn’t and they weren’t, so they didn’t. But they did pilfer a huge standings point, and that could mean a lot on at the end of the regular season.

The Kings struck first, with Anze Kopitar stuffing a puck dealt by Gaborik uncannily behind Halak’s pads. The scoring stifled after that until Evgeny Kuznetsov served up Joel Ward in the slot, who connected on his second stab. That took us into overtime, which was exciting as whoa, but yielded no decision.

Shootout bullets!

  • Kopitar spazzes out.
  • Kuznetsov nails it over Quick’s right pad.
  • Carter converts with speed and one deke.
  • Ovechkin gets lost in the five hole.
  • Gaborik roofs it all casual-like.
  • Backstrom blows it.

Kings beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout). Solid road game.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Gregory Shamus

Photo: Gregory Shamus

It was right around this time last year the Washington Capitals kicked off a hot streak that lofted them to the postseason. Losing twice in as many days to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Caps don’t look like liable to do that again.

The Penguins aren’t a great team. They’re way top-heavy on offense and somewhat disadvantaged on defense, but they’re still way way better than the Caps– both in composition and execution.

Evgeni Malkin sort of owned an offensive-zone shift against Orlov and the top line, releasing an actual perimeter shot that Jussi Jokinen delected in. That was all the goal-scoring we got until Crosby beat Orlov, Carrick, and Halak to make it 2-0 with five minutes left. The Caps mounted a little comeback attempt, but forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.

Shutout.

Pens beat Caps 2-0.

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High Tension in Kuzya’s Debut: Pens beat Caps 3-2

Nick Wass

One legged ant-eater (Photo: Nick Wass)

Caps-Pens! The biggest rivalry in DC sprots! With only 18 standings points between them–

Wait, really? The Pens are that far ahead? Oh golly. Lean times in the District.

Moving on… the Caps need to make up some ground in the eastern conference if they want to make the playoffs, but they’re gonna have to do better than what they did on Monday night. Giving up an early goal and Sidney Shot from the Sidney Spot gave Pittsburgh enough of a boost early on to fend off a Caps surge in the second.

Chris Kunitz scored all of 46 seconds in, taking a pass of Sidney Crosby and beating Mike Green on his way to the not-perimeter. Eric Fehr fought back with a nifty finish set up by Jason Chimera, but the Pens fired back with Crosby’s one timer on the power play.

The Caps tied it up in the second as Nicky Backstrom banked a pass of some poor Penguin in the paint. That was fun, but then Chris Kunitz restored the Penguins lead off a rebound off Halak’s pads a little after the halfway mark.

The Caps could not convert a late-game power play. Cram.

Pens beat Caps 3-2.

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The Comeback Caps beat Coyotes 3-2 in Rego!

Carolyn Kaster

Photo: Carolyn Kaster

The Washington Capitals wrapped up a week of tremendously unimpressive hockey with a stunning comeback win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

It started off great with Alex Ovechkin generating four shots in the game’s first six minutes, but the Caps couldn’t sustain the pressure, giving the Coyotes the puck and plenty of opportunity to pepper first-time Capitals Jaroslav Halak in goal. Down two goals with ten minutes to go, the Caps summoned up some magic they hadn’t used since last week: even-strength scoar.

Brandon McMillan struck first, catching Keith Yandle’s stretch pass while the Caps were making a line change. Radim Vrbata made it 2-0 with a power play goal that dwibblwed between Halak’s pads.

But then! Karl Alzner tallied goal number two of the season thanks to a feed from Eric Fehr, and then Brooks Laich tied it up thirty seconds later. Life back in Verizon Center, and then everyone’s head exploded as Backstrom gave Troy Brouwer a layup to put the Caps up from the Ovi spot.

This stupid team. This stupid, lovely team.

Caps beat Coyotes 3-2.

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Bruins beat Capszzz

Bruins beat Caps 3-0.

I don’t really have anything to say. The Caps aren’t good, and their game against the Boston Bruins was awful.

In hindsight, offense might have helped.

But Laich is hurt. So is Grabo. Erskine and Volpatti too. Plus Orlov is suspended. That left the Hershey Bears to fill the ranks: Carrick, Stoa, Brown, Schilling. I don’t want to do the math on if losing Ersk was a bad thing. Doesn’t matter. Even if the Caps didn’t suit up a bunch of sub-NHL players, the Caps aren’t a match for the Bruins.

The whole “let ‘em shoot, but keep those shots on the outside” plan failed again. Gregory Campbell got a deflection up front during a delayed penalty, and then Loui Eriksson scored on a turnover from like 0.00214 feet out. Those two goals did nothing to shake the Caps from their torpor. Brad Marchand got the empty netter.

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This is Not My Beautiful House: Flyers beat Caps 6-4

Vinny - Matt Slocum

Photo: Matt Slocum

This is the “game” recap. I’m putting game in scare quotes, because I don’t know what the cram happened during this Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals …event. The Caps looked like a clown trying to fight off a direwolf with a whiffle bat for the first 45 minutes. And then– and I have no idea how they did it– they started stabbing their way back. 

Here’s the part where I summarize the scoring. I don’t wanna do it. It’s like that episode where Josh Lyman is talking to Adam Arkin and he can’t differentiate music from gunshots. Okay, here goes (deep breath.)

Claude Giroux feasted on a puck stolen from Hillen for number one. Jakub Voracek snuck one through traffic. Claude got another, and then Adam Hall. Forgive me for not remembering how: rage blackouts. Joel Ward got the Caps on the board, followed by an Ovi goal from the Ovi spot and a dart from Troy Brouwer. All of a sudden, the blowout was a one-goal game.

But then Voracek got away from the Caps defense — namely Mike Green Eric Fehr– by using the rarely seen technique of skating. 5-3. Brooks Laich tapped a Mike Green shot to make it 5-4, but then Steve Downie got the empty-netter.

Flyers beat Caps 6-4.

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What a Waste: Flyers beat Caps 5-4 (OT)

orlov-scores

Photo: Rob Carr

The Washington Capitals wrapped up a weekend of early games by taking on the Philadelphia Flyers at noon on–

[NBC CHIMES DROWN OUT REST OF INTRODUCTION]

— my grandmother riding by on a bicycle giving me the finger, and a duck!

The Caps and Flyers are a resurgent rivalry that rarely leaves us lacking drama. This was no exception.

Dmitry Orlov capped off some great zone time by putting a one-timer past Steve Mason. Claude Giroux tied it up with an in-and-out goal that took 90 seconds of game time before the refs figured it out. Marcus Johansson got in the paint to deflect in Jason Chimera’s pass as a power play expired. Nick Backstrom won a scramble with Steve Mason, but the war room in Toronto didn’t have enough evidence to overturn the no-goal call.

Alex Ovechkin abandoned the puck behind the net during a power play, allowing Adam Hall to tie the game with a shorty, but no worries: Jay Beagle got a pass off Joel Ward to score from exactly zero feet out. Dmitry Orlov got his second goal with a nice little mudskipper of a shot from the blue line and through some traffic up front.

Jakub Voracek scored on a screened Holtby during Orlov’s five-minute major penalty and then set up Giroux for the game-tying goal with just over a minute left.

Vincent Lecavalier won it in overtime.

Flyers beat Caps 5-4.

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