Caps vs Panthers Pregame: Peters, Panthers, Puppies

I am a puddle. (Photo: Capitals)

The Capitals will wrap up their three-game homestand tonight at 7 PM by showing the Florida Panthers what a packed hockey arena looks like. Tune in to CSN-DC and get ready to welcome Justin Peters, scheduled to make his first start in net.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 2-0-2 51.40% 104.2 27.8% 93.3%
Florida Panthers 1-2-1 54.67% 97.8 5.6% 72.7%

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EightToFastToCatch getting a work in the slop

EightToFastToCatch getting a work in the slop (Photo: Anne Frederick / Maryland Million Ltd)

When we last left our four-legged equine hero, EightToFastToCatch, a local Thoroughbred named for Alex Ovechkin, he had just won the 2011 renewal of the Maryland Million Classic. Just ahead of puck drop against the Panthers at Verizon on Saturday, horsey Ovi will be looking to score his own hat trick, right up the road at Laurel Park.

Since 2011, ETFTC has had 19 races and found the winners’ circle 7 times, most notably with a repeat win in the 2013 Classic. Where was our coverage in those intervening years? Simple – in the 2012 Classic he ran 5th and we were so gripped by NHL lockout paralysis we could barely get out of bed, let alone play the races. I’m sure we have some other excuse for 2013… maybe we blame Oates, but that’s a bad horse pun.

Now an EIGHT year-old, this gelding (don’t ask!), is wrapping up his career, and has one more race on his schedule after today’s mile-and-an-EIGHTH Classic. And if his engine and the Racing Gods have their way, he’ll cross the finish line first on Saturday, ahead of his EIGHT rivals, and get his 3rd Classic win, a rare racing hat trick. The track odds-maker installed his as the prohibitive 3-5 favorite. It may not make dollars and sense to bet on him at such a low price, but we’re going to cheer for him just as loud (and obnoxiously) as we do his namesake.

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That Weird Moment When the Devils Forgot How to Hockey

Vine by @recordsANDradio

At times on Thursday night, it looked like someone put a hex on the New Jersey Devils. The defense-first team surrendered six goals to the Capitals, took a bunch of undisciplined penalties, and didn’t seem like themselves. Then there’s this strange play.

As 23-year-old defenseman Eric Gelinas takes a shot from the point, his attempt is blocked by his own teammate. As the puck dribbles back to him, Gelinas tries dishing it to his defensive partner. He falls over too.

It’s a catastrophe.

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alex-ovechkin-with-puppy

Photo: MSE Foundation

Last year, Washington Capitals players wore silly props for a Dog Calendar, which raised a bunch of money for Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. The Caps organization is producing the calendar again this year, and the photoshoot is being held at the Potomac Regional Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia.

Players scheduled to attend include Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters, Aaron Volpatti, and Joel Ward. They will will be posing with their own dogs. Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson will be photographed with shelter dogs and puppies.

We’ll be updating this article all day with photos. It should be a blast.

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brooks-orpik-washington-shirt

I’m always looking for reasons to fall in love with this team. One email in particular gave me fuzzy feelings this week.

Marissa R. took her son and his friend to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to watch a morning skate. Afterwards, they ran into new Caps Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

It was a notable experience for a few reasons, but look at what Orpik is wearing. Someone’s been shopping.

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joel-ward-chimera-laugh

After the Capitals were defeated by the Sharks, head coach Barry Trotz switched up his forward lines for Thursday night. Eric Fehr, the one true love of hockey bloggers, was moved off the first line and reunited with forever linemates Jason Chimera and Joel Ward. It paid off with a 6-2 win. The new third trio was Washington’s best all night.

It looked as if they weren’t going to come away with anything to show for it against the Devils, but that’s when Cory Schineder capped off his awful night with a gift.

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All Three Caps Swedes Scored Tonight (GIF)

all-swede-goals

The Washington Capitals destroyed the New Jersey Devils 6-2 on Thursday, and they owe half of those goals to a country “where the moose is king, Pippi Longstocking is a hero and innovation rules.” ALL THREE SWEDES SCOARED. That’s worth a fancy photoshop and some fancy GIFs, amirite?

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Everybody Scoar: Caps beat Devils 6-2!

Patrick McDermott

Sad Devils, happy Mojo (Photo: Patrick McDermott)

A game against the New Jersey Devils is supposed to be a subdued, low-scoring slough. Instead, the Washington Capitals came out hot, withstood an assault, and then came back even hotter. This team is really good.

Alex Ovechkin needed just half a minute to get on the scoresheet, wristing a rebounder for his fifth goal of the season. The Devils mostly owned that period thanks to two goals by youngblood Damon Severson (both heavily screened), but another newbie, Chris Brown, got one of his own for the Caps.

Marcus Johansson scored during even strength in the second period, which is baffling to me. Nick Backstrom deflected a muffin from Matt Niskanen to put the Devils in a two-goal hole early in the third. The Twins made that even deeper when Joel Ward banked a shot hard off the back boards, then off Cory Schneider’s skates, nothing but net. And then Burakovsky extended his ridiculous goal-scoring streak on the power play.

Caps beat Devils 6-2!

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holtby-save-jagr

In the first period, the Washington Capitals defense was about as holey as my fifth grade gym socks, which I should really throw out. No worries though; Braden Holtby was on the case.

The Holtbeast made his slickest save of the season, robbing future hall-of-famer Jaromir Jagr from point-blank right at the end of the period.

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ovechkin-carly

Don’t look now, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has goals in three straight. Just 34 seconds into the first period, Barry Trotz’s newly configured top line paid dividends. After Troy Brouwer ripped a shot on Cory Schneider, Ovechkin snatched the tasty rebound, skated to the right circle, and wristed the shot stick-side.

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