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

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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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bman1

On Wednesday night, a six-year-old boy was critically injured after sledding into a passing car in McLean, VA. It’s that particularly excruciating kind of accident where a child gets hurt doing what kids do best: playing.

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ovechkin-ice-dogs

Photo: Mike Hickey

After Sunday’s All-Star Game, Alex Ovechkin made a sweet gesture by teaming up with Honda to donate a car to Ann Schaab and her hockey team, the Washington Ice Dogs. A few days later, after the Capitals shut out the Pens, Ovechkin met up with Ann and a few of her teammates in the Capitals locker room. They took photos together. It was cute.

What makes it even cuter is Ann’s stern words for Ovi. According to team president Mike Hickey, while Ann was happy to see her date again, she was not so happy with Ovi starting a nine-player scrum late in the Pens game.

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Ovi-carry

Photo: Patrick McDermott

The Caps’ power play is rightfully considered one of the most dangerous in the NHL. As of the All-Star break, the Caps sat third in the league with a 24.4 percent conversion rate when up a man and they generate more unblocked shot attempts than just about any team on record.

But that’s not to say that the PP doesn’t have its cold spells. In December, the team went just 6 for 43 during the man advantage. Japers’ Rink touched on some of the possible explanations for the December PP struggles, primarily focusing on how the Caps’ lack of PP face-off success related to the lack of PP conversions.

Another important aspect of a power play is zone entries– that is, how a team enters the offensive zone. This generally happens in one of two ways:

  1. a controlled entry, when a player crosses the offensive blue line with control of the puck, or
  2. an uncontrolled entry, dump-and-chase style.

The Caps’ recent hot and cold streaks have had a lot to do with how they enter the zone.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

We’re 31 days out from the NHL trade deadline on Monday, March 2, 2015, which is also Method Man’s birthday.

This Washington team is pretty good, and they’re likely to secure a playoff spot, but they could always be better. Their defense corps is solid for the first time in decades, but they’re one injury away from disaster. And the high price tag on that defense has left the forward lines a bit shallow.

With just $2.5 million of cap space (according to NHL numbers), the Capitals don’t have a lot of room with which to get better. That might cause Brian MacLellan, heading into his first trade deadline as general manager, to make some deals. With seven Capitals heading into unrestricted free agency this summer and another eight looking to negotiate new deals as restricted free agents, there’s a lot of potential moves that could be made.

With all that in mind, I’ve asked Ian and Pat to join me in playing thumbs-up/thumbs-down on every Caps free agent.

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Utter Domination: Caps beat Pens 4-0!

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

RIP The Great Losing Streak of 2015. Early on, the Caps played an even game against the Penguins, but Washington had a secret weapon in its captain. Alex Ovechkin positively lit up Marc Andre Fleury in the first and second periods, which was way more than Pittsburgh and their erstwhile star player could offer.

Ovi’s first-period goal came at even strength, deflecting Alzner’s shot with a little net-front presence. Ovi’s second-period goal came on the power play, set up by Mike Green.

Eric Fehr and Mike Green interrupted Ovi’s party in the third, crashing the net for Fehr’s goal and scoring Green’s while on the rush. The game dissolved into chaos late as Holtby helped kill penalties to secure the shutout.

Caps beat Pens 4-0! Losing streak over! Two shutouts in a row against the Pens! BAILAMOS!

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JK, Ovi is Now the NHL League Leader in Goals (GIFs)

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Our earlier post is already out of date. With his power-play goal in the second period, Alex Ovechkin is now sole occupant of the NHL’s goal-scoring lead.

That goal was the second of the game. It’s also the second by Ovi in this game. He’s the only thing that matters tonight.

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Alex Ovechkin Is Tied for the League Lead with 28 Goals

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.32.00 PM

Like most of you, we were skeptical of Jay Beagle‘s spot on the top line, but darned if Beags didn’t make it happen for the Caps on the game’s first goal, a deflection by Alex Ovechkin off Karl Alzner‘s shot.

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Caps vs Pens Pregame: Desperate Much?

gross-downie

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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Crosby Ovechkin

Another day, another chance at redemption.

First off, nobody’s panicking here. I said NOBODY’S PANICKING HERE but maybe just a teensy and perhaps a little urgency might be good?

Last night, playing against the Blue Jackets and their preposterous annoying cannons (can we dump those in a river pleeeease), we didn’t see as much of the sloppy play visited upon us since mid-January. Still, we did see too many penalties and overall our game still isn’t looking as tight as it had been looking. Time for a little more yelling we think, Coach Trotz.

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