Wes Johnson’s Epic Unleash The Fury (Video)

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Verizon Center was insanely loud tonight. Many players remarked about it after the game (more on that later). And according to friend of the blog Chris Gardner, the noise reached a maximum of 112.2 dB inside the arena, which came on some good ol’ fashioned organic cheering. You guys are crazy.

Caps PA Announcer Wes Johnson was also on top of his game tonight. Every game, Wes will try to pump up the crowd after the team runs it’s Unleash The Fury video on the jumbotron. The video package is played at a strategic time in the game where the Caps Game Entertainment crew thinks it will most help the players and lead them to victory. Tonight, after Karl Alzner scored to make the game 2-1 Isles, the video played.

Then Wes did his thing. It is magical.

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There was a point on Friday night when the Caps trailed the Islanders 3-1. All hope seemed lost. A 2-0 series deficit was on the horizon.

Then Alex Ovechkin scored. Nicklas Backstrom crashed the party next. And then, finally, Jason Chimera, last game’s goat (who probably should have been scratched tonight), gave the home team their first lead of the series.

4-3. Chimera’s tally would stand as the game winning goal. Series tied.

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Believe: Caps beat Isles 4-3!

File photo: You, while watching this game (Photo courtesy of You)

Without Holtby but not without hope, the Washington Capitals played desperate hockey on a thrilling Friday night duel with the New York Islanders. Down one game to none, the Caps started out without distinction. Into the two-goal hole they went …and then out again they came, furious and scoring.

If you believe in the Caps, this game is why.

Like last game, the Isles struck early– this time with Cal Clutterbuck scoring on a 2-on-1 rush just five minutes in. Ryan Strome’s second-period marker put the Caps in a two-goal hole, but Karl Alzner’s huge goal got the home team into the game. Kyle Okposo scored a seeming dagger shortly after, but a stellar rally by Washington led to Alex Ovechkin’s kanooblian goal just before the second intermission.

The Capitals drew their first penalty in the third period, so Nick Backstrom carved through the Isles defense to tie the game at three goals apiece. Jason Chimera, yes, Jason Chimera, gave the Caps the lead by conducting laser surgery on his own rebound after Nick Leddy choked up the puck.

Caps beat Isles 4-3! Series is tied 1-1!

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Nicklas Backstrom Ties The Game (GIF)

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Talking about this goal would be vulgar. Just know this: Nick Backstrom has tied the game at three with a power-play goal that will make you cry or high five or cry five, which is what you call it when you cry and high five at the same time.

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A New York Islander just broke another stick, and the Caps just scored another goal.

After Matt Niskanen unleashed a puck from his Niscannon towards Jaro Halak, captain Alex Ovechkin smacked the rebound emphatically into the net.

HUGE.

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alzner-goal

It might have felt the same, but it was nothing like 2010 except in the most superficial way: the Caps couldn’t score.

With a possession lead but in a two-goal hole, the Caps grew increasingly desperate in the second. Eventually the shots started getting on net, but none could be that damned Jaro Halak. And then, with a real offensive-zone presence, Mike Green executed a perfect pass to Karl Alzner. With Troy Brouwer’s big ass up front, Alzner hit the back of the net for the second time of his playoff career.

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At the trade deadline, the Washington Capitals traded for veteran defenseman Tim Gleason for his toughness. Paired with Mike Green since then, Gleason looked to Unleash The Glease in the first period on Isles center Brock Nelson.

Instead the Glease unleashed on veteran linesman David Brisebois.

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Caps vs Islanders Pregame: Down, Not Out

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None of these people is Braden Holtby (Photo: Capstagram)

“We got our asses kicked in the first quarter, but it’s time we get up off the mat.”

The Caps lost game one. That’s the past. This is game two.

One of the dozen shots Ovi fires will hit the back of the net. Nick Backstrom will be used to maximum effect. Karl and Niskanen will remind us all how great they were during the regular season. Holtby will be healthy enough to play.

Islanders lead the series 1-0.

7 PM. Verizon Center, CSN, NBCSCN. Do the thing.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Islanders 47-28-7 53.5% 99.1 18.7% 78.0%

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Photos: Amanda Bowen

If you watched game one of the Capitals’ first-round playoff series with the New York Islanders on Wednesday, you probably remember it as a miserable, stomach-turning experience. The Caps seemed to lack focus and determination as they fell to the Isles 4-1.

That’s why I was so surprised to see Amanda’s photos from the game. Her shots from pre-game warmups show a team full of steely reserve. The players appear focused on the task before them, fully aware of the game’s importance. The photos of Marcus Johansson’s first-period goal show a team, and a fan base, full of passion and fire — both of which went missing from the rest of the game, only to play a huge role in the media narratives that followed.

Let’s hope the Caps from these pictures are the ones who show up to play Game 2 tonight.

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Photo: Rob Carr

The morning after getting pwn’d by the Islanders in game one, the Capitals held an optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Barry Trotz said that many of the mistakes the Caps made the night before were ones the team had worked on all season long. They knew better, Troz said, so an actual practice on the ice would serve little purpose. That said, I’m sure Trotz reviewed a lot of game tape with the team, hopefully some from the Caps’ two failed power plays.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano had his penalty killers play in an aggressive box formation against the Caps’ top-ranked power play. Basically, the Isles player nearest the puck would skate out quickly to force a bad decision by the Caps. The Isles penalty kill, ranked 26th in the league during the regular season (76 percent), thrives on chaos created by their team speed. The Caps made long passes, turned the puck over, and were unable to set up Alex Ovechkin more than once in the left circle. On top of that, the Isles had scouted the Caps power play so much, it seemed as if they knew where the puck was going to go before the Caps did.

Watch how discombobulated the Caps were during their first man advantage.

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