Caps Play Butthockey, Lose to Penguins 4-3

pierre-sucks

Stop smiling. Stop smiling. STOP SMILING. AHIGUEWOG

I didn’t like this game and I don’t like you. I like only my dog and tacos. Everything else sucks, starting with the Caps, then followed by the weather, and then back to the Caps again,. Let’s get this over with quickly.

Instead of sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the regular-season series, the Capitals played maybe their worst game of the season. There were glimmers of awesome, but they were islanded in a stream of suck.

It was all Pens early, and then Patrick Hornqvist finally made the Caps pay for their carelessness. The Pens got ornery after that, but the Caps didn’t convert on the penalties. Instead, Matt Niskanen made a bad drop to an out-of-position Andre Burakovsky, so Brendan Sutter secured a shorthanded goal. John Carlson gave us something to be proud of late in the period with a sweet shot, but we knew this game wasn’t going well.

It only got worse in the second period’s penalty parade. That frame featured seven Capitals penalties, though it resulted in only one goal: Sidney Crosby’s slick wrister. His first point against the Caps this season.

Chimera and Brouwer crashed the net early in the third to make it a one-goal game, but Chris Kunitz thoroughly outworked Evgeny Kuznetsov to deflate our balloon. Late, Alex Ovechkin showed a glimpse of life with an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. It wasn’t enough, but it was something not to hate about tonight.

Pens beat Caps 4-3. 

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wilson-big-hit

Tom Wilson has been whistled for three penalties tonight. His latest came after freight-training Christian Ehrhoff. The Pens defenseman, returning for the first time since suffering a concussion against the Caps on January 28, got floored twice by Wilson.

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caps-line-brawl

Mayhem.

We knew from the moment Tom Wilson shoved Evgeni Malkin during warm-ups that tonight’s game would be a cluster. Sure enough, eight minutes into the first period, everything went to hell.

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wilson-malkin

In the third period of their last game, the Pittsburgh Penguins took a bunch of cheap shots at the Washington Capitals. On Wednesday, as the Caps and Pens prepared to play the final game of their regular-season series, Tom Wilson approached Evgeni Malkin during warm-ups.

And gave him a shove.

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Goalie Controversy, Pt. 4 (Comic)

Shinny

We’re back after a couple weeks off (Rachel went out of town last week and got sick right before)! When we last left off, Abbie’s shootout test had started.

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Caps vs Penguins Pregame: Can They Sweep?

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Outgoing Caps reporter Adam Vingan (Photo by Monumental, modified by Prewitt)

In three meetings this season, the Capitals have outscored the Penguins 10-1. Inside the Metro, only Carolina has a worse intra-division record than the Penguins (7-11-4). Crosby’s reportedly having an off-year, and the fans are quite grumpy.

And none of that matters tonight.

The Penguins are still an excellent team. Crosby’s decline is mostly meaningless statistical noise; he’s still the best playmaker in the league, and the team’s record against the Metro doesn’t tell me much about who’s gonna win tonight. Like every game, this one will be decided by who’s got the better goalie and which team helps him out the most. I peeked at the Caps’ lines, and I think it’ll be the home team who wins this one and secures a regular-season sweep for the first time in five years.

8 PM on NBCSN. Do the thing.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 33-18-10 51.8% 100.3 23.7% 80.8%
Pittsburgh Penguins 34-17-9 52.9% 100.7 20.5% 85.6%

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All the Cheap Shots from the Last Caps-Pens Game

steve-downie-cheap-shot

The Washington Capitals need to beat the living bejesus out of the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Not only would a win push the Caps past their rivals in the standings and sweep them in their season series, a win would also send a message. Basically: We’re not putting up with your BS.

Eight days ago, Alex Ovechkin slashed Kris Letang in the ankles. Ovechkin claimed he was trying to shoot a loose puck at the net. Instead Letang fell dangerously into the end boards. Ovechkin was not whistled for a penalty and Letang left the game briefly.

The Penguins, rattled, lost focus on the two points. Instead, they spent the third period doling out cheap shots to Ovechkin and the Capitals, dispensing frontier justice rather than trying to win.

The fans followed their team’s lead. A Penguins fan poured beer on the Ovechkin and trainer Greg Smith during a stoppage in play.

The Capitals kept their eyes on the prize. They scored two goals in the third period, one from Joel Ward and an empty netter from John Carlson, to win 3-1.

I know you can’t print out GIFs and pin them to a bulletin board, but I hope the Caps remember how Pittsburgh played last week. Here’s a reminder.

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Mike Green, Kyle Clifford

Photo: Alex Brandon

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman released his latest 30 Thoughts article this morning. There are two big nuggets of news. First, he believes Mike Green will be staying in DC for the rest of the year, which corroborates recent quotes from Brian MacLellan and Barry Trotz. He also believes the team will try to add a veteran defenseman and a winger to play with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.

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barry-trotz-interview

On Tuesday, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz spoke to Sportsnet during their Hockey Central broadcast. In the interview Trotz gave an update on Mike Green’s future and shared his feelings on the coaching of Alex Ovechkin before last summer.

“I think there were some things that probably happened before I was here that led to certain things,” Trotz said, speaking in broad terms. “There was some bad advice given to Ovi at times in how they wanted him to play.”

“Ovi’s a guy that will do what you ask,” he continued. “He’s bluntly honest. It’s actually a strength, not a weakness.”

This year, Trotz has moved Ovechkin back to left wing and demanded more of him defensively. Ovechkin leads the league in goals, and the Capitals are challenging for the division lead.

“I made it pretty simple,” Trotz said. “When you have the puck do what you do. When you don’t have the puck, I want you to do what I want you to do. If you do that, you’ll have the puck more.”

The full transcription of his interview with Sportsnet is below.

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wilson-burakovsky-roommates

Photo: @tom_wilso

Late last week, sometime scratch/sometime first-line winger Andre Burakovsky left the warm Swedish confines of Nicklas Backstrom’s house to move in with Backstrom’s figurative children, Michael Latta and Tom Wilson. Burakovsky is reuniting with Wilson, the man who first introduced him to mac and cheese and “cinnamon rollers.” Burakovsky calls Wilson a “really good friend,” despite Wilson putting a bag over his head at Development Camp.

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