Blow All the Leads! Caps beat Sabres 5-4 (OT)

Ovi Bill Wippert

That dude in the middle. (Photo: Bill Wippert)

Are the Capitals worse than the Buffalo Sabres? The Sabres might be the worst team the league has seen in a decade, and yet they’ve bested DC twice this season. This third and final game was a towel match. If Buffalo won, they would sweep the season series and Bob Backlund would have to retire. If the Caps won, they’d prove that their 5-0 slump-slaying win wasn’t a total fluke.

The Caps started their effort well, exploding for a pair of Ovi goals in the first period, but they couldn’t hold a lead to save their lives. They lifted the pressure and let Buffalo creep back in. So much for killer instinct. Here’s how it went down.

Alex Ovechkin did the power play thing in the first. No, not the thing where he scores from the Ovi spot. This was the other thing, the one where he scores right after the faceoff. But Ovi wasn’t done; he scored a minute later by deflecting Mike Green’s shot off his trousers. Christian Ehrhoff got Buffalo on the board as John Erskine and Ovechkin were unable to control a rebound.

The Sabres tied it up on the power play early in the second as Cory Hodgson finished off a nice passing sequence. Mike Green scored his 100th career goal with a sweet wraparound not long after. Philip Varone caught a loose puck wide of the net to record his first NHL goal and tie the game– yet another quick response goal against the Caps. No matter, as Alex Ovechkin started off a set play that Troy Brouwer aptly finished off from the crease, giving the Caps a 4-3 lead going into the third period.

Cory Hodgson drew a penalty from Jason Chimera  and kept working to tie it up with 13 minutes left in regulation. The score stayed like that through sixty, so– for the third freaking time– the Caps and Sabres went to overtime.

GAME OVER GREEN!

Caps beats Sabres 5-4! (OT)

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Francois Lacasse

How Russians ice fish. (Photo: Francois Lacasse)

The Washington Capitals hadn’t won a game since January 10th, and that was against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are barely a hockey team. I don’t know why, but the Capitals thought, “hey, maybe we can end this seven-game losing streak against the Montreal Canadiens.” The Habs are the rogues of the PDO world, the Bael the Bard of hockey, most famous for felling the dominant 2010 Capitals and ruining our precious franchise for years. This shouldn’t have been the game where the Caps come back around again, but nothing makes sense in this stupid sport. The Capitals exploded for four goals in the second period and Braden Holtby earned a shutout to end an infinite long streak, recapture the team’s confidence, and make a whole bunch of attendant fathers happy.

Alex Ovechkin opened up scoring right after a second-period power play expired with one of the most lacrostic, greasy-yet-skillalicious goals Hogwarts has seen these many years. Then a puck that John Erskine didn’t even mean to shoot somehow found the twine to make it 2-0 Caps early in the middle frame. Jay Beagle got his first goal of the year, hitting a wide-open net thanks to Tom Wilson’s pass. On the delayed penalty, John Carlson lofted a lazy puck towards the net, improbably beating Carey Price thanks to a deflection.

Carey Price got pulled. Peter Budaj took the spot. Alex Ovechkin set up AHL stud Casey Wellman for his first goal of the year midway through the third.

Caps beat Habs 5-0! Braden Holtby gets the shutout! Losing streak over!

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Standings Free Fall: Devils Top Caps 2-1

DevilsGoal

Ugh. (Photo: Andy Marlin)

Just like Alex Ovechkin, ya boy Peter was out with an injury tonight. Undisclosed for those asking. I’m nursing the flu. We’re sort of like the Caps of Caps blogs right now.

Embarking on five game road trip with their dads in tow, the Caps headed to newly Cory Booker-less Newark for date with the Devils. Allowing the fewest shots per game in the NHL and featuring the blue-hot Cory Schneider, New Jersey didn’t look like great opponent to get Washington’s hapless offense going. They weren’t. Yep, it’s gonna be one of those again.

As usual these days, the game got off to a horrid start. Five minutes in, Dmitry Orlov made another silly mistake, fumbling the puck in the Caps offensive zone. Steven Gionta and Ryan Carter went the other way on the odd-man break. Shockingly, Mike Green did not misplay the 2-on-1. It wasn’t enough. The puck snuck past Michal Neuvirth off the blade of Gionta.

Early in the second, Adam Henrique put the Devs up by two with Orlov in the box for holding. Jaromir Jagr made the play, fabulously skating through the Capitals defense before feeding the puck in front for his second assist of the game. Facing this Capitals offense, it looked like that was all New Jersey needed.

Jason Chimera, however, had other ideas. Midway through the third, he deflected a John Erskine shot from the point for his third goal in seven games. It wasn’t enough though.

Seven in a row. Devils top Caps 2-1.

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Scoared Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

It has been eleven long days since the Capitals won a game.  We’ve had like three or four completely different seasons of weather since the last time they added a point to the standings and after a sparsely attended sixty minutes in snowy Washington, D.C., that streak is gonna get even longer. You’ll be planting succulents and buying beach towels before these guys win again.

Skip this paragraph. After a scoreless first, Kyle Turris got past Karl Alzner and beat Holtby to put the Senators up 1-0. Jason Spezza scored a powerplay marker in the third while Erat was in the box.

That’s it. The Ottawa Senators beat the Caps 2-0. A shutout. That’s six straight losses for the Capitals.

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Not Again: Rangers Slam Caps 4-1

NashGoal

Photo: Scott Levy

Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the league’s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.

After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.

On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.

The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlov to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.

Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.

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Lumbus beats Caps 5-1

eeyore_depressed

The Washington Capitals needed a win on Friday to avoid their third four-game losing streak of the season. You’d think they could get it against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but you’d be wrong.

To make matters worse, I’m drinking Coors Light, which is a beer in the same way John Erskine is a pro hockey player. Barely.

Tom Wilson nullified a Caps’ powerplay to make it four-on-four, and soon after that, John Carlson’s trip made it four-on-three for the Jackets. James Wisniewski made the Caps pay for that, and then Cam Atkinson made it 2-0 before the first intermission after Dmitry Orlov was unable to clear the crease.

Ryan Johansen scored for Lumbus early in the second, chasing Grubauer from net and bringing in fresh-faced Braden Holtby. With the help of Martin Erat and some traffic up front, John Carlson got a long puck past Bobrovsky at the halfway point. The Caps had a flicker of life.

Mark Letestu extinguished that flicker with a snazzy near-side goal early in the third. Then Cam Atkinson peed on the embers.

Blue Jackets beat Caps 5-1. The Caps have lost four games in a row. This beer tastes awful.

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Playing Well and Losing Again? Ugh: Pens beat Caps 4-3

Ovi Gregory Shamus

Photo: Gregory Shamus

I pity people who can’t get up for a Penguins-Capitals game. I know intellectually that these games last just as long as a normal game and they have all the same rules and stuff, but it always feels to me like more happens when the Pens and the Caps face off. Maybe I’m just saying that because I didn’t have to watch the last one live or recap it. And maybe that’s why I was so optimistic heading into Thursday’s faceoff in Pittsburgh. The Capitals seemed to have mended their game during five-on-five, and it’s not like Oates gives his fourth line and bottom D-pair enough ice time to ruin games.

Oh wait.

Brooks Laich puts some hard work in to a hang a shorty on the Penguins in the first period. Kris Letang tied it up at the halfway point with a four-on-two rush that deflected off Carlson’s and Backstrom’s sticks. Jason Chimera took the lead back by finishing off a great tic-tac-toe from Orlov and Johansson. Taylor Pyatt snapped us back to a tie a minute and a half later.

Alex Ovechkin exploited some chaos during four-on-four to rip home his 34th, but this game was incapable of being easy so Jussi Jokinen got a tap-in from the back door. The Penguins confounded the Caps in their own zone to get the lead with under two minutes left courtesy of Olli Maata. Ovi broke all of the sticks and it was over.

Pens beat Caps 4-3. 

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Tight Game, Tough Loss: Shark beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

bl21 - Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

Gone are the days of the Sabres and Leafs. The Washington Capitals hosted the actually good San Jose Sharks on Tuesday to a fast-moving, low-scoring affair. The Caps came out of the gates strong, but the Sharks pushed back. We were treated to a tightly played, evenly matched game played mostly at five-on-five. Lucky us. It went to the shootout again. Less lucky us.

The Capitals owned the game’s first ten minutes, but the Sharks stole control back after that and Tyler Kennedy scored. Alex Ovechkin tied it up in the second with a zero-angle one-timer. The Sharks thought they got the lead back before the second intermission, but the buzzer went off a fraction of a second earlier. The third period was a back-and-forth affair but neither team was able to deposit the disc in the drapery. OT couldn’t make up its mind either, so…

Shootout recap!

  • Eric Fehr put it in the pads.
  • Joe Pavelski lost control.
  • Alex Ovechkin also lost control. He’s ice cold on the shootout.
  • Patrick Marleau scored on the forehand.
  • Nick Backstrom roofed it high. Bloop.

Sharks beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout)

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Grabo face Patrick McDermott

Grabo’s face (Photo: Patrick McDermott)

Those of you nursing a hangover on Sunday afternoon found yourself in good company as the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres played a sleepy game in which not much happened.  The Caps should have been able to dominate the worst team in the league, but that only kind of happened. Three Caps lines and four defenders seemed to be in control of this one, but the Sabres pwned the Caps depth enough to force overtime and win it in the gimmick. Take a whiff of some coffee grounds and follow me to the scoring summary.

Jason Chimera got on the board first as his centering pass went off a Sabres defenseman who was trying to stop Marcus Johansson’s net-crash. Tyler Ennis struck back for the Sabres with a rebound goal on the power play. The second period was uneventful aside from some penalties. Late in the third, Ryan Miller robbed Mikhail Grabovski and Karl Alzner’s go-ahead goal got undone by a tripping call.  Buffalo owned overtime but couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket, so here comes the shootout recap. Yey.

Shootout recap bullets!

  • Eric Fehr didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Matt Moulson didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Linus Omark didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Nick Backstrom didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Cody Hodgson put the biscuit in the basket.

Sabres beat Caps 2-1 (SO).

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Weekend at Bernier’s: Caps beat Leafs 3-2

Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

We’re not particularly happy with the Capitals this season, but compared to Maple Leafs fans we’re the freaking Huxtables. The richest team in the league spends its bullion on goons (plural) and grinders, they proclaim that they alone have cracked the secret of scoring without shooting, and their coach chased Mikhail Grabovski out of town for no discernible reason. If the Caps are ugly, the Leafs are Eric Stoltz in Mask.

And that means almost nothing on a per-game basis. The Leafs had the puck more than the Caps for most of Friday night, which is just silly. Anyway, here’s how scoring went.

Alex Ovechkin streaked onto the ice to score his 32nd of the year, nicely set up by Grabo almost halfway into the game. JVR returned fire by deflecting Phil Kessel’s shot on a power play around the halfway point.

Early in the third, Phil Kessel beat Neuvirth thanks to Karl Alzner’s deflection, but Nicklas Backstrom tied it right back up with trick shot off Jay McClement’s skate. Totally deliberate. Joel Ward occupied the slot to beat Bernier and win the game.

Caps beat Leafs 3-2!

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