Caps at Rangers Pregame: Get Over It

hank

Rough night for Hank (Photo: Jim Rogash)

I’ve got mixed feelings about yesterday’s loss to the Nashville Predators. The first period was genuinely awful, and the game was filled with all sorts of narrative wretchedness concerning former teams and abandoned prospects, but the Caps put up an honest comeback effort, and Troy Brouwer’s contributions shouldn’t be dismissed.

That said, it’s all in the past now. Barry Trotz made some noise about having no short-term memory in this final stretch. I see the virtue in that. As the Caps prepare to take on the Rangers, I hope they can leave their behinds in the past.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 40-25-10 51.9% 100.1 24.4% 81.5%
New York Rangers 47-20-7 51.2% 101.8 17.4% 84.2%

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Caps vs Preds Pregame: Win the Breakup

Photo: Chris Gordon

Now begins a tough weekend for the Washington Capitals. There’s the two early games against two very high-achieving teams, the Nashville Predators today and the New York Rangers tomorrow. There’s also the untidy narratives surrounding today’s game, specifically Barry Trotz playing his old team, who got better when he left, and the “return” of Filip Forsberg to Verizon Center, where he never really played as a Capital, but you know what I mean.

Puck drop at 12:30 PM on CSN. Pants optional.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 40-24-10 52.0% 100.2 24.8% 81.2%
Nashville Predators 46-21-8 53.1% 101.5 16.3% 81.4%

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Caps vs Devils Pregame: Two Points, Please

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The Devils, lacking a head coach but sporting Adam Oates behind the bench, will come to town tonight. So a Caps team looking to solidify their playoff position really ought to grab these two points. Remember earlier this season when Ovi scored an amazing goal against the Devils and then gave his stick to my nephew? That was cool.

The action starts at 7 PM on CSN. The Caps only have two more 7 PM starts after tonight.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 39-24-10 52.0% 100.2 24.9% 81.2%
New Jersey Devils 31-31-11 46.9%  101.2 19.0% 80.8%

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Splat goes Tom Wilson

Splat goes Tom Wilson

Every season it’s the same. It begins, invariably, with a euphoric burst of optimism that somehow, this year, this season, everything is going to work out. The team will be saved and we’ll all rejoice. Their journey will have come to an end, and the world will be a better place.

Sure, there will be lots of scrapes along the way. While the team that has sustained us for multiple seasons now will lose several beloved but under-performing members, the core players will remain. We’ll have some feels about saying goodbye to a few, but we’ll also pick up a few new members along the way. And, at least at the start, they’ll have a lot of promise.

But one thing never changes. Disaster, often from an unexpected source, will find a way to enter the narrative– you can be sure of that. And when it does, it will look and feel awful…perhaps even fatal.

Yet everyone will dig deep, deeper perhaps than they thought they could, and we’ll survive to fight again. We may not have found the promised land yet, but there’s always next season. What’s important is moving forward. Pressing on. It’s essential. It feels, in fact, like life or death.

Of course, I’m talking about The Walking Dead. What did you think I was going on about?

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Caps at Jets Pregame: It’s Party Time!

There are just ten games left in the regular season, and tonight we kick off that final stretch in style at #RMNBPartyGr8. As the Jets prepare to host our Capitals at 7 PM, you, me, and a bunch of other fans will meet at RFD in Chinatown for what should be a fun night.

Part starts at 6. Puck drops at 7. The game will be on the wall.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 39-23-10 51.9% 100.2 25.2% 80.9%
Winnipeg Jets 36-23-12 53.3% 99.9 18.4% 81.4%

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Caps at Wild Pregame: Are You Coming to the Party?

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Hello. Let’s do hockey.

Tonight in Minny the Caps take on the Wild. I don’t like singular collective nouns for sports teams. What do you call a member of the Wild (aside from “member of the Wild”)? They’re not “a Wild.” They’re not “a Wildling.” Same deal with the Lightning. I guess each one of those guys is “a Bolt” at least.

Those team names are stupid. Therefore the Capitals should beat them tonight.

8 PM, CSN, crash net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 38-23-10 51.3% 100.4 25.7% 81.1%
Minnesota Wild 39-24-7 51.6%  99.8 14.9% 86.9%

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Caps at Sabres Pregame: Stack the Pads, Pad the Stats

chime

That pic is from 2011 and it’s awesome. (Photo: Gary Wiepert)

The Capitals played terrifically last night en route to a shutout win over the rival Boston Bruins. That was a high-stakes game against a good foe. Tonight: not so much.

Tonight the Caps will pad their stats and hopefully not blow a solid chance at two points on the road in Buffalo.

Puck drops at 7 PM. The game’s on CSN Plus, so if I find out you watched the NBC Sports feed I will flip out on you.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 37-23-10 51.8% 100.3 25.0% 81.3%
Buffalo Sabres 19-43-6 36.6% 100.1 10.9% 74.7%

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Caps vs Bruins Pregame: The Big Game

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This might be the most important game of the season. The Bruins, on a hot streak, have surged from no-man’s land. The Capitals are injured and sick, they can’t score to save their lives right now, they’re basically out of the division race, and they’re barely holding onto a wild card spot.

This a four-point game, and it will factor large into who does what after April 11.

7:30 PM on NBC Sports. I’m going to puke.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 36-23-10 51.7% 100.3 24.6% 81.0%
Boston Bruins 36-22-10 52.3% 100.5 17.8% 82.1%

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Caps vs. Stars Pregame: Two Points Needed

Photo: LM OTERO/AP

The Caps are looking to bounce back from the 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday. Dallas is in town, a team who beat the Caps 5-4 back in January. The Stars are all but out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference and are playing their second game in as many nights. But don’t be fooled. The Stars are a top-ten possession team over the past six weeks, and if the Caps take them lightly, they’ll see another two points slip away on home ice.

Puck drop is at 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 36-22-10 51.8 100.4 25.0% 81.8%
Dallas Stars 31-27-10 51.9 99.3 17.8% 80.6%

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Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Photo: Alex Brandon / Associated Press

It’s “Rivalry Night”, kiddos, and there’s nearly no better rivalry in the NHL right now than the Capitals and the Rangers.

Last time around– can you believe we’ve only played them once this season? — didn’t go so hot. We were fumbling and they were ascending. Things have turned around a bit, but tonight’s match is really just the beginning of the end of regular season play. We’ve only got three chances to nail these guys, and chance one starts tonight.

Both teams are coming off wins, but very different ones at that. The Sabres’ face-plant against the Caps was hardly a meaningful test, unlike Tuesday’s Rangers’ win over the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders. Add in the Pens, and you’ve got a fairly tight bunch at the top between those four teams.

Every Rangers post must include a shot of Lundqvist. It's the law.

Every Rangers post must include a shot of Lundqvist. It’s the law.

We’re both playing well, although the Caps have been getting a might sloppy of late, and both squads are in relatively decent condition, considering how deep we are into the season. On the Rangers side, handsome ol’ Henrik Lundqvist is still out, healing his pretty, pretty face, but so, too, might be Mike Green and Brooks Orpik, who are two D-men we do not want to lose.

Less meaningful, but more irritating, will be the likely flood of Rags fans who will pollute Verizon tonight. Some things are simply, self-evidently, inescapable. Death and taxes. Daylight Savings Time is stupid. And right up there, Rangers fans are just awful.

We reached out to the decidedly non-awful Neill Fowler — writer, owner, operator and bottle-washer at New York Rangers Blog — for some insight about the Rangers, and the second of what we expect will be several more meetings before this whole thing is through. He was good enough to share his thoughts after a tense, but ultimately successful, evening for the Rangers last night.

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