ChimeraFall

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Washington Capitals were confident. With a new coach this year, they had turned into a crisp, well-structured team, generally controlling the puck and therefore the play. They finished the season tied for the eighth highest point total in the league.

“In the past we were maybe sort of a rush team,” forward Brooks Laich, a veteran of the light ‘em up Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals of 2010, said. “I don’t think we’re as high flying, high octane offense as we once were, but I think we’re a lot more difficult to play against this way. It should bode well for a sustained playoff run.”

“We’re gonna be ready,” Laich concluded.

They weren’t.

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Not a Good Start: Islanders beat Caps 4-1

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That feel. We know that feel.

In a disappointing effort, the Washington Capitals have dropped game one to the New York Islanders. The Isles played a nearly perfect game, and the Caps were on their heels from the game’s second shift.

Brock Nelson was all alone after a neutral-zone turnover, so he scored a quick one on Braden Holtby. Brooks Laich’s tenacious forecheck created a scoring opportunity for Marcus Johansson that he did not waste. But in the second period Ryan Strome scored a quick goal after John Tavares’ faceoff win, and Josh Bailey slapped a loose puck to put the Caps in a two-goal hole.

The third period had nothin’. Brock Nelson got an empty netter with 79 seconds left.

Isles beat Caps 4-1. Islanders lead the series 1-0.

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mojo-playoff-goal

The Washington Capitals were outgunned and out-hustled in the first period against the New York Islanders. It felt like every dangerous chance came off of an Isles player’s stick. And then, with under a minute to go in the period, good ol’ Canadian Boy Brooks Laich shook things up.

Laich chased Jay Beagle’s seemingly harmless dump-in and won a battle behind the net. Laich’s tenacious forecheck created chaos, then a turnover. Once he got to the puck, Laich threw a beautiful pass to Marcus Johansson, skating hard to the slot. Mojo buried it.

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JOE SAKIC

Winning the Stanley Cup is incredibly difficult. After a grueling, 82-game regular season, the top 16 teams then compete in a small sample-size lottery face off with the intensity ratcheted up approximately one hundred notches. The first team to 16 wins bring home The Cup.

The fact is– even the teams thought to be favorites to win it all have the deck stacked against them. A few bad bounces here, a couple bad calls there, and it’s easy to see why “the field” is the best pick of all over any one team when picking a Cup winner.

We’ve already discussed why the Caps won’t be having a parade in June, and we looked at what needs to go right for them to have a realistic shot at riding down F Street on a float. Now here’s the one or two glaring weakness that will prevent every playoff team from winning the Stanley Cup.

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Caps vs Islanders Pregame: Crash the Net

CAPS ISLES

Graphic by Ondrej T.

I don’t have much to say. The time has arrived.

Capitals versus Islanders. 7 PM. Verizon Center, CSN, and USA Network. First team to four wins advances.

Do it.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Islanders 47-28-7 53.5% 99.1 18.7% 78.0%

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight, so that means Ian and I have to do our usual, horrifyingly inaccurate predictions for the first round.

Below you’ll see the hottest of our hot takes and the most upsetting upset picks you’ll ever see, but we’re also bringing in an x-factor, who might defeat us both in predicting the outcome of this season’s race of the Stanley Cup.

Introducing: Keith, a Coin.

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RMNB Creates An Emoji for Every Caps Player

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For one week only you can buy RMNB’s Emoji poster for $15.

Late last week, Apple released the latest version of iOS. It was cool and all, but there was still one major problem.

Apple refuses to create emoji for the greatest sport in the world!

RMNB is here to fix all of that– at least for the Capitals. You can thank illustrator Rachel Cohen (and my crazy mind too).

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“That’s it! He shattered his phalanges!”

The big day is here! Tonight at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals take on the New York Islanders for the first game of the playoffs. There’s a ton going on in our world today, so we addressed a small portion of it and a whole lot of nonsense for an hour of RMNB podcast inanity.

We discuss Ian’s punk rock education, the Swedish national temperament, losing Grabo, Flipcup Forsberg, Barry Trotz’s retractable head, which ASOIAF house the Caps would be in, which songs the Beatles wrote on LSD, and taking scoarpik to the bank. We also talk our picks for the playoffs, how the Caps stack up against the Isles, what the future of this team is. It’s an hour of hockey power. Enjoy!

The RMNB Podcast is on iTunes. If you enjoy it, please subscribe and rate us.

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ovechkin-my-man

Photo: Alex Prewitt

After Tuesday’s practice, NHL.com beat writer Katie Brown noticed Karl Alzner and John Carlson wearing new playoff hats. Overlaid on a silhouette of Abe Lincoln (with a hole in its head*) read the text My Man. Naturally, no one really understood the significance of the phrase or what it was doing on a team-prepared hat. Sure, the Abe Lincoln silhouette was a nod to the Caps’ post-victory Honest Abe award. But what about the phrase?

Brown made Alzner spill the beans.

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Tom Wilson draws (and takes) a lot of penalties. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Throughout the season, the Washington Capitals have generated a lot of offense during four-on-four play. With Tom Wilson, who leads the Caps in penalties taken and drawn per 60 minutes of ice time, expected to return to the line-up, it’s not farfetched to think we may see some coincidental penalties doled in the first round series against the Islanders.

While four-on-four play only accounted for 178.5 of the 5002 minutes of the time Caps spent on the ice during the regular season, the Caps scored 13 goals (good for second in the league and among playoff teams) in those situations, meaning they scored at a rate roughly 57 percent higher than in all situations and almost twice as high as during the five-on-five play.

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