Caps at Ducks Pregame: Everybody Plays!

Valentine’s Day didn’t work out well for the Caps, but they’re gonna have to get over it quickly. Reminds me of the Replacements’ song, “Valentine.”

Well if tonight belongs to you, tomorrow’s mine

I think Paul Westerberg meant something different by that, but last night certainly belonged to the Kings. Tonight at 8 PM on CSN, the Caps get a chance to own the day against the Ducks of Anaheim.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 29-17-10 52.0% 100.3 23.2% 80.3%
Anaheim Ducks 35-14-7 51.6% 100.1 18.3% 81.0%

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Caps at Kings Pregame: It’s Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, humans. I hope you’re blah blah insincere message goes here.

The Caps father-accompanied road trip through California continues tonight in Los Angeles. We last saw the Kings on February 3, when the Caps gave the reigning champions a 4-0 drubbing. I called that the best game of the season. If you’re willing to stay up late tonight, maybe the Caps try to top it.

If your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/special friend of any kind is willing to stay up late with you to watch, you know you’ve got a good one.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 29-16-10 52.2% 100.4 23.5% 80.0%
Los Angeles Kings 24-18-12 55.3% 99.5 19.2% 78.0%

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Caps at Sharks Pregame: Fathers’ Trip Begins

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Washington Capitals

Brown vs Volpatti, last season (Photo: Geoff Burke)

The Capitals have had two full days and then some to recover from that lowly effort against the Philadelphia Flyers. That loss capped off a successful but busy week for Washington, and now they start another busy week– this time in California, going up against some of the best teams in the league.

For starters: the San Jose Sharks, who the Capitals last year defeated on the road for the first time. Maybe they could do that again?

It’s a late game, so get all your homework done before you tune in. 10:30 PM on NBC Sports.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 28-16-10 52.4% 100.4 23.1% 80.4%
San Jose Sharks 28-20-7 51.9% 99.1 20.6% 81.5%

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Let’s hope this goes better this time around (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports)

Pity poor San Jose. So close to San Francisco, and yet so powerfully, profoundly uncool. So flooded with tech start-ups and venture capital money, yet unable to afford anything interesting downtown. So little meth, so much meh.

The exception that proves the rule in this case is the San Jose Sharks. Even before the era of the awesome Todd McLellan, the Sharks were and remain perennial challengers in the playoffs. Their roster isn’t exactly packed with brand-name star power, but that hasn’t held them back any– this year or those previous. Hey, any team that takes the ice through the mouth of a giant shark while Metallica blares is OK in our book.

Both the Sharks and the Caps might enter tonight’s game thinking they’ve got a little something to prove. For our part, Sunday’s smothering by the filthy Flyers at Verizon stung– at least, we hope it stung enough for the Caps to step up their game.

Today we have the treat of hearing from David Pollak, who covers the San Jose Sharks like a blanket for the San Jose Mercury News, with his views of Todd McLellan’s squad, and how things might shake out at the Shark Tank tonight.

Pollak is one of the sharpest hockey reporters around, and better still, he didn’t make fun of us for our lame questions.

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NHL: Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers

Photo: E Hartline 

I could use this space to talk about how Caps-Flyers games tend to devolve into nastiness and how Washington hasn’t really beaten Philadelphia yet as soundly as they should.

Instead, I want to talk about Al Koken, whose 30 years covering the Caps for CSN (and HTS) will be celebrated today. Is there anyone outside the team who knows them better than Al? He’s an institution; his voice has been a part of my experience with the Caps since the beginning. Before that even: Koken covered the Caps in their inaugural eight-win season.

A lot has changed, including the name of the network he works for. Also we eradicated smallpox somewhere in there.

Sunday’s broadcast will find Al in all sorts of roles: he’ll do play-by-play for one period, analysis for another, and ice-level reporting for the third. Game starts at 3 PM on the station formerly known as Home Team Sports.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 28-15-10 52.5% 100.8 23.4% 80.9%
Philadelphia Flyers 22-22-8 48.5% 100.6 23.3% 75.0%

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The Ducks are the most interesting team in the league. Using the validated, near-consensus measurement for small-sample 5v5 success– i.e. puck possession– the Ducks are nothing special. Their perch atop the league is perhaps due to their record in one-goal games, which all you thousands of Orioles fans know isn’t something you can sustain forever.

But there’s also this widespread belief that Bruce Boudreau is somehow making his team better at scoring without making them better at having the puck. I’m skeptical, but it’s undeniable that they’re a fun team to watch.

That’s exactly what we’ll do at 7 PM tonight on CSN. Go Caps.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 27-15-10 52.4% 100.8 23.5% 81.2%
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 34-12-6 51.5% 100.5 17.8% 81.5%

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Caps at Senators Pregame: In The Other Capital City


Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, and some other guys! The Ottawa Senators are competing hard for the team-I-care-about-least award, pulling way ahead of the Stars since the summer and going neck and neck with the Canucks right now.

Tonight at 7:30, on CSN Plus, the Caps will try to extend their amazing one-game winning streak.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 26-15-10 52.2% 100.5 23.7% 80.8%
Ottawa Senators 20-20-9 49.8% 100.6 16.8% 83.0%

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Caps vs Kings Pregame: The Lines! The Lines!


From Kings Insider, defaced by Adam Vingan

That win over Pittsburgh was fun, but it was the only victory the Caps have had in more than two weeks. Tonight won’t be easy either, as the Kings come to town with a Cup on their back and a chip on their shoulder– they’re not happy about their record so far.

In the Caps’ favor, however, are some bold new lines courtesy of Barry Trotz. This could be wild. We shall see at 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 25-15-10 52.3% 100.2 23.5% 80.7%
Los Angeles Kings 21-16-12 54.5% 99.9 19.5% 77.8%

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Caps at Habs Pregame: Back-to-Back Brunch Games


He’s still too pretty to be hurt.

Hoo boy, how much fun was that last game? I still can’t get over it.

But I need to get over it. Here comes the Montreal Canadiens, who are not good enough to deserve their number-two slot in the Atlantic Division. The Habs are on their way down, and with a little luck our Caps will help their along way.

Puck drops at– [checks watch]– wow, 1 PM. It’s on NHLN and CSN. Let’s do it.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 25-14-9 52.4% 100.3 24.1% 80.6%
Montreal Canadiens 31-13-3 48.8% 102.0 27.6% 84.9%

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Caps vs Pens Pregame: Desperate Much?


When you’re on a four-game losing slump, the very best thing you can do is play one of your biggest rivals on the second day of a back-to-back.

The Pens are pretty banged up, but the Capitals are full-on desperate right now. I’m expecting fireworks. It’s on that NBC Sports’ rivalry night thing at 8 PM.

Crash the net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 24-14-9 52.5% 100.1 23.9% 80.1%
Pittsburgh Penguins 27-12-8 52.3% 100.7 23.0% 87.1%

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