Erat scoar

There is a tiny anteater in the back of this photo. (Photo: Getty)

Happy Friday! Hope you were able to dig out of the miserable, snow-flanked hut you spent all day Thursday in.

The mens Olympic tournament fielded four games today, starting at 3 am. The favored team won in each of the four games, though some teams struggled (Sweden) and others had to hold back in the third period to avoid looking unsportsmanlike (Canada).

Plus, while you were getting some delta-wave sleep, Martin Erat scored on a net that actually had a guy guarding it. That’s novel.

Join me, won’t you, in the recap?

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Olympic Hockey, Day Two: USA FTW

Carly et al

Photo: AP

Neither Martin Erat nor Nick Backstrom scored in the first day of the mens tournament, so Caps Olympians haven’t got a whole lot of highlight-reel time so far. That changed real early on Thursday as Alex Ovechkin scored on his very first shift and John Carlson started off a scoring explosion for Aaaaaaaaaaamerica.

Unless your loyalties lie with Milan Jurcina and the Slovenians, Caps fans probably enjoyed Thursday’s hockey. I didn’t exactly relish my five-screen experience (USA on the TV, RUS on the laptop, notes on the other laptop, social on the iPad, Flappy Bird on the iPhone), I think I’ve gotta call it a successful morning as well. Shaybu, y’all.

Let’s do the recap.

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Olympic Hockey, Day One: Women Rule, Czechs Drool

Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Though the women have been playing since the weekend, Wednesday marked my first day actually following the Olympic “ice hockey” tournaments. From now until USA wins gold (both men and women, obviously), I’ll be offering a daily digest of cool stuff that has happened on the ice and miscellaneous musings on the Games as a whole.

It ain’t a game recap, but I’ll try to keep it just as stupid.

Let’s get down to it.

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Caps beat Devils 3-0 and Marty Erat SCOAR!

no biscuits in the basket

The New Jersey Devils are the worst good team in hockey. For the last thousand years, they’ve mined success by sucking the fun out of hockey. If it feels like the game is less exciting when the Devils are playing, it’s not just you. The team’s style inhibits shooting by both teams– on average almost 20 fewer shot attempts per game. That’s part of why I was a bit mild heading into Saturday’s pre-Olympic finale between the Devs and the Washington Capitals.

The teams traded power plays in the first period without biscuit-basket despositage. The Devils owned the puck for the most the second period, but left the basket unbiscuited. The third period was more of the miserable same until rookie Julien Brouillette put the biscuit in the basket with ten minutes left. The Devils emptied their net and then Marty Erat finally brokered a biscuit-basket merger and then Troy Brouwer was like, “yeah, this basket can handle more biscuits.”

Caps beat Devils 3-0. Braden Holby’s third shutout!

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No Defense, No Problem: Caps beat Jets 4-2

Mojo smear Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

The Washington Capitals knew they needed points badly going into the Olympic break, and this game against the Winnipeg Jets seemed like a prime opportunity to get them. One problem: they didn’t really have the ingredients to make it happen. With Grabovski and Green out, Neuvirth sick, and a whole bunch of Hershey squirts filling out the blueline, the Caps had to get a little lucky to get two points out of this one.

Troy Brouwer put Marcus Johansson’s pass in the net about five minutes into the game, but a defensive-zone turnover tied it back up (Erat helped).

Dustin Byfuglien gave the Jets the lead in the second with a pretty goal allowed by some weak Capitals defense, but Tom Wilson evened it up in the third period by catching a rebound low in the slot. Alex Ovechkin recorded number 40 with a dirty one with 12 minutes left, and Troy Brouwer made it a two-goal game with a pretty sweet backhand move.

Caps beat Jets 4-2.

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Nabby Nabs the Shutout: Isles beat Caps 1-0

strachan martin - Patrick Smith

Strachan vs Martin (Photo: Patrick Smith)

They’re not all barnburners. Some games merely are. They start, sixty minutes pass, and then they’re over. Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game wasn’t completely free of drama, but it was a low-scoring, mostly sleepy affair. Every time something cool was about to happen, a countervailing uncool thing (whiff, penalty, Milbury) canceled it out. Worst of all, the Caps lost.

The game went scoreless for 42 minutes until Andrew MacDonald’s muffin floated past Neuvirth. Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. That’s dumb.

Isles beat Caps 1-0. Shut out for Evgeni Nabokov.

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Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, which means the Washington Capitals once again played a matinee game to set the stage for a whole lot of couch-sitting  by you all day. You’re gonna go through a lot of wings, chips, pretzels, assorted other fried things, and bad beer on your way to gridiron glory and hypertension. I shall join you, but not before we revisit the real big game: the Detroit Red Wings at Caps. With a national audience, two (or three) crucial standings points on the line, and a triad of Caps scratched to injury, this was a big one.

Jason Chimera got rewarded for some hard work in the opening minutes, recording the game’s first goal five minutes in.  Joel Ward caught a great pass from Nick Backstrom to score a powerplay goal and make it 2-0. The momentum shifted as the Wings got the puck more, resulting in a powerplay goal by Gustav Nyquist, but the Caps struck back with another PP marker– this time from John Carlson.

Tomas Tatar got a sneaky shot under Neuvirth’s shoulder to make it 3-2, but Joel Ward struck back nineteen seconds later. A two-handed slash (a greatslash?) by Troy Brouwer gave the Wings a power play and Nyquist’s second goal of the game.

Nyquist got the hat trick early in the third, obliterating the Caps’ lead, but Troy Brouwer crashed the net and created a new lead following a Wings turnover. That one didn’t last either. Justin Abdelkader was all up in the paint to score after a faceoff in the Caps zone. Into overtime we went.

Or shall we say… OVI TIME!?!?!

Caps beat Wings 6-5 (OT).

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neuvy

Photo: Luke Glendening

Editor’s Note: Peter and Chris are totally not here tonight. They’re at the Neutral Milk Hotel (who?) concert at DAR Constitutional Hall. Instead of having Ian recap the game poorly in English, we’re throwing a bone to our Russian readers tonight and letting Igor do the recap in Russian Machine’s native tongue! Please translate what we wrote in the comments below. If you’re nice, we’ll help.

Сегодня Кэпиталз привезли свой кошмарный Январь в Детройт. Десять поражений в течении первого календарного месяца нового года и предпоследнее место в таблице своего дивизиона – это уже довольно серьёзно, ну а то как команда проиграла вчера свой поединок в Коламбусе… перечень неприятных впечатлений довольно длинный – совершенно безалаберная игра в обороне, беззубая атака, невероятно “бесполезный” (аж -5!) Овечкин, потенциально серьёзная травма Грина – в общем ситуация хуже некуда. Всего одно очко отделяло Детройт от Кэпиталз  в таблице Восточной Конференции перед игрой, да и играли Ред Уингс в прошедшем месяце не намного лучше чем Вашингтон; если бы регулярный сезон закончился сегодня, обе команды вместо плэй оффс учасвовали бы в североамериканском варианте Кубка Надежды – на площадках для гольфа. А ведь Ред Уингс не пропускали борьбу за Кубок Стэнли уже почти четверть века! Смогут ли парни в белых свитерах с зимней классики закончить этот жуткий месяц на победной ноте – или Лорд Волан-де-Морт опять появится на нашей стартовой странице?

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craig j spearing

“Shoggoth” by Craig J. Spearing

It’s f@$&ing freezing here and I didn’t eat dinner. My dog is being an @%^$*. A water main exploded up the street from me, so there’s a river of ice outside my door that has its frozen heart set on shredding my #brittlegroin. Everything sucks and so do you.

Here’s my recap of the Washington Capitals at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Read it at your peril.

The first-period Caps gave up a pair of shorthanded breakaways, the second of which resulted in a Columbus goal. Then Ryan Johansen escaped some decidedly dainty defense to make it 2-0. Brandon Dubinsky’s softy on Braden Holtby early in the second period made it 3-0, and Ryan Johansen got his second goal a little after that.

I drifted into rage blackouts and delirium, but I came to momentarily as Joel Ward got a shorty of his own halfway through the middle frame. Eric Fehr tricked one past Bobrovsky to make it 4-2 and somewhat interesting, but Cam Atkinson extinguished the rally with a quick-response goal.

Blue Jackets beat Caps 5-2.

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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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