Caps at Hawks Pregame: Crash the Net, Must the Win

green toque

Elite defenseman. Elite toque. (Photo: Caps Instagram)

October 25th. I remember it well. It was a simpler time, back when the Caps still won hockey games, children spoke only when spoken to, and women knew their place.

Since then everything has gone wrong. Personally, I blame Congress.

(And volatile shooting percentages endemic to small sample sizes, particularly for a team that is not sufficiently aggressive during 5v5 when leading.)

Alright. Road game against the Chicago Blackhawks, who might be the best team in the league (Neil has them fourth in his power rankings). After losing to the Coyotes and the Flames, it would only make sense for the Caps to beat these guys. right?

Late game. 8:30 PM on CSN Plus. Grab a beer and watch with me. From your couch. Alone. Forever alone.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-5-3 54.4% 97.8 29.3% 79.1%
Chicago Blackhawks 7-5-1 56.1% 99.5 18.9% 92.7%

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Ovechkin Toews

On any given night, there’s a fanboy somewhere, watching a hockey game and saying “Well, we shoulda won that, it was just a fluke we didn’t.”

Caps fans have been saying that a lot lately. Weird puck squirts. Dominating play but no points. Mystical karmic forces aligned against Washington until its NFL team changes its name, or some such.

Point is, if you find yourself resorting to the fluke argument too often, chances are pretty solid you’re really not talking about flukes, but something else. Fixing that something else is starting to become an issue now, and seeing as we’re going up against our Winter Classic rivals tonight, this game needs to provide clues as to what, exactly, needs fixing.

Chicago is a dominating team with a corps of dominating players, despite some of their early going this season. I’d like to say something rude about all those young punks like Toews, Kane, Van Riemsdyk (which always makes me think of hipsters with funny little beards), and even some of the elders, but I can’t. They’re just that good.

Chicago itself is another story.

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Capitals vs Flames Pregame: Appealing to the Hockey Gods

Trotz

No high-minded introduction today. Just listen to Barry Trotz: “If you keep doing the right things over and over, I think the hockey gods recognize that, and they allow you to win hockey games. It all evens out.”

Caps vs Flames at 7 PM tonight at Verizon Center. Joe B and Locker will call it on CSN-DC. The Caps gotta win this one.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-5-2 54.2% 98.3 29.0% 78.6%
Calgary Flames 7-4-2 45.7% 103.5 20.0% 75.7%

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Caps vs Coyotes Pregame: The Turning Point? Please?

ribs and yandle

The Caps keep losing, but so do the Coyotes. It’s a stoppable force versus a movable object tonight at 7 PM on CSN proper. From home at Verizon Center, I think this is the moment when the Caps right the ship, but we shall see.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-4-2 54.7% 99.8 25.7% 80.6%
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes 3-6-1 50.9% 94.8 24.3% 78.1%

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Caps at Lightning Pregame: Ovi’s Gotta Score, Or Else

stamkos (1)

I don’t like the Capitals’ record so far, but I’m like cosmically certain they’re a really good team. They’ll have another chance to prove it with tonight’s match-up against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are also a really good team. Holtby’s in net versus Ben Bishop. Tune in at 7 PM on CSN+.

(Yeah, it’s on the plus.)

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-3-2 54.4% 100.8 24.2% 79.4%
Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3-1 54.0% 100.0 26.2% 87.1%

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Caps vs Red Wings Pregame: Fehr or Wilson?

pierre2

With a disappointing road trip through western Canada in the rear view, Barry Trotz and the Caps hope to recapture the magic with a home game against Detroit. The Caps’ lines are all-new, and a familiar face might be returning to action. There’s a lot to look forward to, but the game is on NBCSN, so… uh… Pierre McGuire is back? Puck drop a little after 7:30.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-2-2 54.0% 102.3 25.9% 80.0%
Detroit Red Wings 4-2-2 52.3% 98.9 6.7% 96.2%

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Swede-on-Swede

A little Swede on Swede action at last year’s Caps Wings match

About that recent little jaunt to the land of moose and Anne Murray that was supposed to be a skip through the daisies? Exactly. And let us never speak of it again.

For the most part, the Caps are still playing their best in several seasons, we’re seeing skill from young and old alike, and our goaltending worries appear to be over. But tonight we face a team that’s also resurgent, skilled, and with new blood in the net.

The Red Wings should worry you.

They’re older than us by nearly five decades, they’re Cuppier than us by about everything, they’re Swede-ier than us av en skit belastning, their unis are hands-down the best anywhere, and they’ve got octopi. We’ve got Winger.

But they do have to live in Detroit, so there’s that.

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Caps at Canucks Pregame: Justin Peters vs Ryan Miller

vancouver-riot

The Caps beat the Flames early this morning and are ready to do the same tonight to the Vancouver Canucks. Expect Braden Holtby to get a break, so it might be Justin Peters vs Ryan Miller in net. Puck drops a little after 9:30 on CSN-DC, and then your sleep schedule can finally return to normal.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-1-2 55.2% 102.0 28.0% 84.0%
Vancouver Canucks 4-3-0 51.1% 97.6 17.9% 83.9%

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Caps at Flames Pregame: Top-Line Fehr is Back!

burke-hair

Which service does Brian Burke use less: statisticians or hair stylists?

Wednesday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers didn’t “sit well” with the Washington Capitals. With all the puck possession but not enough scoarage, they’ll be trying to right that wrong with a late game against the Calgary Flames. No, seriously, it’s super late. This game is going to run your Saturday night. 10 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 3-1-2 55.03% 101.15 27.3% 86.4%
Calgary Flames 5-3-1 44.22% 105.74 18.5% 75.9%

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Caps at Oilers Pregame: Hi Hendy! Hi Boyd!

So begins the Capitals’ sojourn through western Canada, home of mostly bad hockey teams. We start with the Edmonton Oilers, a team who are probably a lot better than their record seems. It’ll be a late game– puck drops after 9:30 PM, so make sure you do all your homework first.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 3-0-2 52.92% 103.6 25.0% 90.0%
Edmonton Oilers 1-4-1 50.93% 90.80 17.6% 76.2%

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