Glenn James

Photo: Glenn James

What do you make of a week like that one? The Caps split the week with two wins and two losses– winning over the bad teams and losing to the good teams. Are we to conclude that the Caps bullied the weak teams but couldn’t compete with the dominant possession teams?

And what about those defensive mistakes that cost the Caps both games this weekend? Matt Niskanen’s giveaway lost the game on Friday, and a half dozen blown assignments lost the game on Saturday. What even does “defense” means in a game like hockey where players transition from attacking to defending in the blink of an eye?

And what can we conclude about back-up goalie Justin Peters based on last night’s game?

In this week’s snapshot, we cut the game in half and question everything, because what do we really know anyway?

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Before tonight, back-up goaltender Justin Peters hadn’t played in an NHL game since November 29th. In 7 appearances which totaled just 401 minutes of ice time, Peters faced 172 shots and had an .872 save percentage.

Against Dallas on Saturday, Peter allowed five goals, including two back-breaking third period tallies within 16 seconds. Peters was not great. Karl Alzner summed it up pretty well post-game: “He did pretty good for not getting a start in a while.”

Long-time Caps back-up goaltender Brent Johnson had a distinct perspective on Peters’ performance during CSN’s post-game show. Remember, this is the same man who would sit for long stretches of time as Olie Kolzig handled the boatload of starts in Washington.

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Loss Weekend: Stars beat Caps 5-4

Glenn James

Photo: Glenn James

What were your expectations for Saturday’s Caps game? Seriously, I want to know. Two games in as many nights, a deflating loss against the league’s most winning team on night one, a backup goalie in night two facing one of the fastest improving teams– I can think of lots of reasons this one could have gone really badly, but here’s how it really went:

Badly, at first at least. Tyler Seguin scored a power-play goal after Brooks Orpik blew his assignment on Jason Spezza, then Erik Cole got a deflection in front of Justin Peters to make it 2-0 going into intermission.

Spezza converted a three-on-one before the Caps finally woke up. Eric Fehr responded with a goal assisted by Joel Ward, then Andre Burakovsky put a zipper of a shot behind Kari Lehtonen. Alex Ovechkin converted a breakaway to tie the game early in the third period, but then the wheels came off.

Within twenty seconds, Antoine Roussel and Jamie Benn scored– the former with a lucky bounce and a layup, the latter with a rush goal against a slower defense.

Nick Backstrom got a one-timer off a brilliant pass from Alex Ovechkin in the final four minutes to make it a one-goal game. The Caps had some fireworks in the final ticks, but couldn’t hit the back of the net.

Stars beat Caps 5-4.

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Wardo’s face.

Four minutes into the second period, the Capitals faced what seemed like an insurmountable three-goal deficit. Instead of giving up, they calmly chipped away at the Stars’ lead. Eric Fehr responded one minute after Jason Spezza’s goal ,then Andre Burakovsky tallied a sweet power-play goal ten minutes later to bring the Capitals within one.

It was a sick snipe.

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If you watched the Caps’ pre-game show tonight like I did, you saw some science. While Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin gave a preview of the Caps’ match-up with the Stars tonight, we saw some magic on live TV.

Craig Laughlin literally absorbed an entire Slurpee into his head.

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Before the Washington Capitals take on the Dallas Stars tonight, CSN Mid Atlantic will debut a new song. The country-tinged rock anthem is performed by the D.C.-based Morrison Brothers Band and will serve as the opening theme for the network’s hockey coverage. The news was first reported by my figurative brother at the DC Sports Bog, Scott Allen.

The music video for “Ice on Fire” features — and I know this is shocking — ice and fire. It was shot at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. I’m told no Capitals players were burned alive in the making of this film.

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Caps at Stars Pregame: Losing is a New Feeling

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From Hockey Fan Confessions, which, you guys, check that stuff out, because wow.

The Capitals lost last night, which I was surprised they were even capable of doing anymore. It was a generally good game at the Preds’ home cave, but a few bad bounces and a couple mistakes earned the team their first loss since December 23rd.

Now, on the back half of a full weekend, and playing against a quickly improving Stars team, the Caps risk doing something they’ve not done since the beginning of December: losing twice in a row.

8 PM on CSN proper. Meet you there. Bring snacks.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 24-12-8 52.1% 100.3 24.6% 79.3%
Dallas Stars 19-17-7 51.3% 100.3 14.9% 78.9%

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1/17 Update: Renaud Lavoie reports that Perreault’s arm was not fractured “but he’s injured.”

After scoring four goals in a single game earlier this week, Mathieu Perreault might just have had his season ended by Daniel Carcillo on Friday. In the waning seconds of the second period, Perreault slashed Duncan Keith’s stick out of his hands. Carcillo responded by cross-checking Perry from behind in the middle of the arm. Perreault’s arm appears to have been injured significantly.

Warning: This video is graphic and will make you feel very sad.

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Ovisplosion Not Enough: Preds beat Caps 4-3

Frederick Breedon

Photo: Frederick Breedon

The Caps had a spirited effort against the Nashville Predators, erasing a two-goal hole and gaining the lead, but James Neal– that jerk– got the best of the Caps twice, earning a W for the home team and ending Washington’s win streak at three.

The game was back-and-forth until Seth Jones’s shot after an offensive-zone faceoff win for the Predators beat Holtby’s glove side. James Neal found a good spot and got a better bounce to put the Preds up two goals in the second period, but hold up–

Ovi comin’.

Alex Ovechkin scored on monster shot from, like, no angle during 5v5 and then doubled it up with a power-play shot from the Ovi spot two and a half minutes later. That guy alone changed the game before you had time to go potty.

Marcus Johansson notched a PPG in the third before Mattias Ekholm tied it up on the power play late in the third. Then, with one hundred seconds late, Matt Niskanen choked the puck up to James Neal, who scored an unassisted layup.

Preds beat Caps 4-3. Stunned.

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During Alex Ovechkin‘s ten-year career as a Capital, there have been times when Washington simply did not deserve to win, but then Ovi would let his world-class talent shine, and he’d will the team back into games they should have lost.

Tonight is one of those nights.

Ovechkin scored two goals back to back in the second period to quickly and defiantly erase the Predators’ two-goal lead. After his second goal, Joe Beninati sarcastically cracked, “Kid’s got a future.”

He sure does.

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