The Hershey Bears won their first game of the 2016-17 AHL season, defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-2 at GIANT Center, Saturday night. Five different Bears scored including several top prospects. 2014 third-round pick Nathan Walker netted his first goal of the season after going one-on-one with a Sound Tiger defenseman and overpowering him to the net. Walker was shoved into goaltender Stephon Williams and the puck somehow went in. Meanwhile Madison Bowey also scored a spectacular empty-net goal in the game’s final minute from the Bears zone. The goal gave Bowey the team lead in points (1 goal, 2 assists). Paul Carey, Aaron Ness (PP), and Brad Malone also scored.
Before tonight’s blowout, the Bears (1-2-0) were outscored 8-4 during their opening two games of the season. They will play rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow night.
Special teams was key to the Washington Capitals’ success last season. The team has long been known for its vaunted power play, but the Caps captured the Presidents’ Trophy in large part due to their brilliant penalty kill, which stopped their opponents 85.2 percent of the time, second only to the Anaheim Ducks.
This year, however, the Caps PK is faltering. They are the fourth-worst unit in the NHL, allowing goals 28.6 percent of the time that their enemy has the man-advantage. Washington has allowed power play goals in four of the five games they’ve played, including a Jimmy Vesey tally Saturday night against the New York Rangers.
“I think it’s just little things here and there we need to work on and continue to get better on,” center Jay Beagle said. “We’re obviously not happy. That’s not good enough.”
The Washington Capitals hosted a pregame ceremony Saturday for longtime NHL Official Kelly Sutherland. The 45-year-old Sutherland was officiating in his 1000th career game.
Sutherland began his NHL career on December 19, 2000, when the Los Angeles Kings hosted the Atlanta Thrashers. The Richmond, British Columbia native has officiated 79 playoff games and three Stanley Cup Finals since then.
Both the Rangers and the Capitals presented Sutherland with gifts before his milestone game. Sutherland’s mother was in tears.
It was foam blinking thing night at Verizon Center. Fittingly, the Washington Capitals delivered a headache of a hockey game.
Things started auspiciously when Lars Eller scored his first goal with the Capitals just 93 seconds into the game after an excellent setup by Brooks Orpik! Alex Ovechkin added another one late in the period when his wrist shot went by a screened Henrik Lundqvist.
The second period was a disaster. First, Brandon Pirri scored from the high slot after a defensive misplay by the Caps. Then Jimmy Vesey netted his second and third career goals in quick succession. On just five shots, the Rangers scored three goals while controlling possession.
The Caps couldn’t mount a comeback in the third. Rick Nash got the empty netter. Rangers beat Caps 4-2.
Alex Ovechkin is the best, and his first period goal against the Rangers is reason #844 why.
In addition to being a pretty goal, it is a weird goal.
Lars Eller has scored his first goal as a Washington Capital. Early in the first period of Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers, Eller made a savvy deflection to beat Lundqvist.
The goal is noteworthy because it gives the Caps the lead and because it’s Eller’s first goal since joining Washington this summer, but mostly because — check out the great play by Brooks Orpik!
One of the most beloved superstars in hockey history, Teemu Selanne, was back in Winnipeg this weekend to participate in the Heritage Alumni Game between the Jets and Oilers. He had a great time.
“Two weeks training and I would be ready for the NHL,” Selanne quipped at the Jets’ alumni practice Friday, according to Finnish reporter Sami Hoffren.
While Selanne was not actually pondering a comeback, he did have some positive things to say about Patrik Laine, the Jets’ new face of the franchise. Selanne believes Laine could break his rookie record of 76 goals.
Shall we try for a fourth win? I think we should. Tonight, the Caps are facing the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center. You could consider this a fun little Metropolitan Division match up, or ‘Lundqvist vs. Holtby: The Battle of the Goalie Baes’. I hate saying ‘bae’, but this is really my only exception.
How are the Rangers looking these days? Fine. The Rangers are currently sitting third in the division at four standings points while we sit first with seven. You’ll want to tune in to keep an eye out for some entertaining Rangers line juggling as coach Alain Vigneault will be trying to break that .500 against your team. Defenseman Dan Girardi is not expected to play after his groin injury last Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.
After tonight, we won’t see the boys for a bit as they begin a week-long journey through Canada for some late night games. So soak in the regular start time and the VC rumble because you’ll never hear it again (until November 3). Puck drop is just past 7 pm on CSN, let’s party.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|New York Rangers||2-2-0||54.22%||99.1||14.3%||81.3%|
Thursday night, Daniel Winnik, in Barry Trotz’s words, was “missing a part of his ear” after blocking a shot from the point with his head. Winnik returned to the game after that scary moment and did not miss a shift. But his injury sounded nasty.
“He got chewed up a little bit,” Trotz said “Yeah, it’s just a small piece [that’s missing].”
On Friday, former Capitals forward Alex Semin, now a member of the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk, scored a spectacular goal against Amur Khabarovsk. Reminiscent of Ovechkin’s magical goal against the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006 (okay, we’re stretching things just a little bit), Semin completely befuddled Amur defensemen Jan Kolar before firing a shot past goaltender Juha Metsola while falling over.
It was brilliant.
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