Photo: Geoff Burke
“Imploded,” “epic tantrum,” “baby stuff”: that’s what the New York tabloids looked like after the Rangers’ 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers wondered aloud how they were going stuff the NHL’s best team the following night, the same one that leads them by 18 points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Capitals made it pretty easy for them in the first. Less than six minutes into the game, Braden Holtby turned the puck over before Ryan McDonagh fired a shot from the point that took down Jesper Fast and Brooks Orpik. Dan Girardi then launched the loose puck towards the net. Fast shoveled it past Braden Holtby before Orpik even knew what was going on. Later in the period, the Rangers camped in the Capitals’ zone after a Karl Alzner tripping penalty. After New York hit two posts, Keith Yandle unleash a bullet past Holtby.
In the second, the Capitals began to turn things around, taking the lead in shots on goal and shot attempts on Jay Beagle’s first goal since returning to the lineup after the Capitals poked Antti Raanta like your they were your grandma on Facebook and you were you. The Caps continued to press the pace in the second, drawing a late period penalty. On the ensuing power play, T.J. Oshie flew into the zone, scored his 19th goal of the season, and busted his face to tie the game.
In the third, a sloppy turnover by Dmitry Orlov gave New York the lead. The Caps came close, but couldn’t come back from the early hole. No more of these guys until seven game playoff series that ends in disaster. Rangers beat Caps 3-2.
Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports
It is 2016, and the only trend worse than man buns is the Caps looking deader than dead in the first period. Whether the Caps were playing at even-strength, on the power play, or on the penalty kill, they were hardly a dominant force throughout the game.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine months or have absolutely no prior knowledge of hockey, guess what? According to the standings, the Caps are the NHL’s best team, and the Leafs are amongst its dregs. After tonight, though, who’d have thunk?
The Caps made an already-iffy first period even worse by taking three penalties (and giving the Leafs’ league-worst power play a chance to climb the rankings.) The Caps’ penalty kill was equally disappointing; the same can’t be said of their first-period offensive outburst. Thanks to a sweet assist by TJ Oshie, Taylor Chorney scored the game’s first goal–and his first since 2011. Not to be outdone, Nicklas Backstrom capitalized on a Leafs turnover to set up Alex Ovechkin with a perfect pass. If you kept watching, good for you.
The cast of Veep was in the house (Photo: Matt Walsh)
The Pittsburgh Penguins had won the last three games at Verizon Center, but that’s over now. A certain former Penguin defenseman scored a big power-play goal to send the Pens out of town disappointed.
Evgeny Malkin had the lone goal of the first period, the result of a strong drive by him and the Thrill. Patric Hornqvist made it 2-0 in the second, but Mike Richards (aided by Tom Wilson) scrambled effectively in the offensive zone to get the Caps on the board. Before the second period was up, Evgeny Kuznetsov added his contribution, tying the game 2-2 entering the third period.
With Evgeni Malkin in the box for high-sticking, former Penguin Matt Niskanen gave the Caps the lead with six minutes remaining. Oshie did not score the empty netter, gosh darn it.
Caps beat Pens 3-2!
Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki
On Saturday, Caps fans stared into a space trying to figure what Brian MacLellan was doing. Twenty-four later, our brains were unscrambled as his team took to the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sunday NBC Game of the Week actually turned out to be the game of the week, with the enhanced defending champions taking on the NHL’s best team in a possible Stanley Cup Final preview.
Things got off to a great start for the Caps as the third line pounded the Blackhawks zone before Marcus Johansson whacked a line drive past Corey Crawford on the power play. On the next shift, however, the Capitals were too eager to exit the defensive zone and the Blackhawks jumped right on them, forcing Justin Williams to turn the puck over. Patrick Kane, the NHL’s leading point scorer, was alone in front of Braden Holtby to tie the game. The Capitals unleashed a torrent of shots on Crawford in the remaining minutes of the frame, but couldn’t regain the lead.
In the second, the script got flipped. The Blackhawks outshot the Capitals 14-4. Holtby stood tall for most of the period, but a late tripping call on Taylor Chorney gave the Blackhawks a power play. They converted when an excellent cross-ice pass from Teuvo Tervainen fooled the Capitals defense, leading to a wide open net for Jonathan Toews.
The third was a slow period, but Chicago was able to stretch their lead to two. After the Hawks took two penalties and Barry Trotz pulled Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps within one on a six-on-three with almost a full power play remaining afterwards. They couldn’t convert. Blackhawks beat Caps 3-2.
Wednesday night, we saw our best impression of the 2009 Capitals since Monday: don’t try for 40 minutes, score goals, and see what happens. With Adam Oates in the house, the Caps decided to suck some more, getting outside 9-2 at the midway point of the first period. It got worse. Mikko Koivu scored a power play marker with just 42 seconds left in the feckless frame. In the end, the Wild outshot the Caps 12-3. Shot attempts were 23-8 in Minnesota’s favor.
In the second, BROOKS ORPIK SCORED BECAUSE HE IS INFALLIBLE EVERYDAY.
Later in the period, Nino Niederreiter took a machete to the Caps defense like it was a Top Gear special. Things looked bleak.
Sometime in the third, the Caps decided to try to win, which is something that can be pretty good at. Alex Ovechkin promptly tied the game with his fortieth goal of the season on the you know what from the you know where. He’s the Marco Rubio of goals.
Dmitry Orlov made some Euro softie moves and scored a goal that went in somehow, as if placed in the net by Oates’s divine hand. Caps beat Wild 3-2.
Alright, everybody. Here it is: the garbage game. Caps vs Habs was an unflushed toilet of hockey for fifty minutes, then fun for ten, and then it was over and now we can move on. But please read this recap first.
So this game was unbearable for 25 minutes. The Canadiens struck three times (Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Flash) before the Capitals offense even woke up, spurred by Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson’s net-front effort to put the Caps on the board. Before the second intermission the Habs scored yet again, Galchenyuk’s second of the night.
The Caps rallied in the third. Dmitry Orlov scored a top-shelf wrister with seven minutes left, and Andre Burakovsky threaded the needle in the final three. Exciting finish to a stinker.
Habs beat Caps 4-3.
Photo: Evan Vucci
The Capitals are mediocre when tied. It is most evident early in the game. You may have noticed this in the first half of Monday’s game against the Coyotes, when they sucked. The Coyotes controlled possession for the first 25 minutes during which Justin Williams kept hitting people in the face and Kevin Connauton, apparently a person who plays hockey, scored for Phoenix Arizona. It was the 11th time in 15 games the Caps have allowed the first goal.
Washington, however, is brilliant when trailing. After the enemy goal, the Capitals’ possession chart looked like an escalator when the Coyotes’ looked like a piddling moving walkway. Two and a half minutes Connauton scored, Evgeny Kuznetsov finger twirled his way to a tie game. The Caps continued to pressure the ‘Yotes, missing a few chances at some gaping nets.
In the third period, Ovechkin added a perfect snipe to give Washington the lead. Later that same minute, Mike Richards added his first goal with the Capitals. Baby faced Connor Murphy got one back for Arizona, which made us very nervous, but eventually very happy. Caps beat Coyotes, 3-2.
Photo: Nass Wass
The day got off to a glorious start for the Washington Capitals with Jay Beagle making everyone feel warm and fuzzy and free of scar tissue. The day only got better as the sun pierced the clouds and temperatures reached 66 degrees.
Things got dreary, however, when the Caps took to the ice against the New Jersey Devils. The Devs had a flurry of chances early, outshooting the Washington 11-6, and testing Braden Holtby until he cracked. After Braden went down early on a play in front, Travis Zajac capitalized on some clueless and static defense in the crease by Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, TJ Oshie, and Nicklas Backstrom to put the Devils on the board first. But less than two minutes later, Washington’s pitching machine on cocaine, Alex Ovechkin, was able to even the score with a laser-like wrist shot from the near circle after Dmitry Orlov found him alone in front. The Devils, though, soon retook the lead, with Holtby failing to cover the near post on a sharp angle shot from Kyle Palmieri.
For the first 10 minutes of the second period, things were much the same as Washington looked listless against a mediocre team that played the night before. Things changed, however, when Brooks Laich and Michael Latta cycled the puck before Latta severed around two Devils defenders to find Evengy Kuznetsov wide open for the game-tying tally. Washington dominated play after the goal, keeping the Devils to just four shots in period while nearly scoring a few go-ahead goals.
In the third, Reid Boucher scored for the Devils. The Capitals, though, would soon tie the game for the third time as TJ Oshie played pinball to make it 3-3.
THEN BROOKS ORPIK SCORED A GOAL. Caps beat Devils 4-3.
Photo: Chris Gordon
The more Metro, the merrier. After defeating the Islanders in OT, the Caps are playing yet another division rival on Saturday. This time it’s the Devils, who are an incredibly unexciting team and one the Caps really should take two points from.
Fun fact: the Caps have slayed (slain? slew?) their division rivals on the way to the top. Yup, they’ve posted a 15-1-4 record against other Metro teams. The race for the division title is hardly close, but keep those points coming like they’re unlimited popcorn at a Star Trek marathon.
Puck drops at 7 PM(ish.) Tune into CSN-DC.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|New Jersey Devils||29-23-7||46.4%||100.4||21.1%||82.5%|
Coming off a thrilling win on Tuesday, the Caps looked to get back on a winning streak after Saturday’s loss to Dallas. The day got off to an inauspicious start when the Capitals didn’t skate this morning, which is basically throwing in the towel. Washington indeed got off to a slow start with the Islanders taking the first six shots of the night. Later in the period, John Tavares put the moves on Nate Schmidt and Braden Holtby to open the period.
In the second, the Caps titled the ice like an hourglass, outshooting the Islanders 14-4. Alex Ovechkin tied the game up for the Caps, setup by a brilliant behind the net pass from first line center Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ovi added another less than two minutes later on the power play, this time assisted by the demoted and pathetic Nicklas Backstrom.
The Capitals continued to control play in the third, but couldn’t dent Thomas Greiss, winner of five of his last six, for an insurance goal. And sure enough, Frans Nielsen beat Braden Holtby with a minute and 44 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
J-Will with the slapper for the ballgame. Caps beat Isles 3-2 (OT)!
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