Valentine’s Day didn’t work out well for the Caps, but they’re gonna have to get over it quickly. Reminds me of the Replacements’ song, “Valentine.”
Well if tonight belongs to you, tomorrow’s mine
I think Paul Westerberg meant something different by that, but last night certainly belonged to the Kings. Tonight at 8 PM on CSN, the Caps get a chance to own the day against the Ducks of Anaheim.
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Just got paid, Friday night
Party hoppin’, feelin right
Booties shakin’, all around
Pump that jam, while I’m gettin’ down
The Caps played host to the Ducks and played their second tight game in as many nights. I wanted a 7-5 mess with like 35 minutes in penalties and multiple pulled goalies, but instead I got this. I should start covering lacrosse.
We nearly went twenty minutes without a goal, but Ryan KESLER converted a power play while Alex Ovechkin was in the box. The Caps equalized in the second period after Troy Brouwer’s hero move. John Carlson shocked Bryzgalov to put the Caps ahead in the third. Corey Perry beat Hershey’s Philipp Grubauer at the post to even the score in the final ten minutes and force overtime. Overtime was useless, so let’s do the biscuits.
Caps beat Ducks 3-2 in the shootout!
The Ducks are the most interesting team in the league. Using the validated, near-consensus measurement for small-sample 5v5 success– i.e. puck possession– the Ducks are nothing special. Their perch atop the league is perhaps due to their record in one-goal games, which all you thousands of Orioles fans know isn’t something you can sustain forever.
But there’s also this widespread belief that Bruce Boudreau is somehow making his team better at scoring without making them better at having the puck. I’m skeptical, but it’s undeniable that they’re a fun team to watch.
That’s exactly what we’ll do at 7 PM tonight on CSN. Go Caps.
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Down 2-0 in their series against the Anaheim Ducks, the eighth-seeded Dallas Stars returned to American Airlines Center and had a freaking party. Led by goals from Jamie Benn, that other guy from Traktor Chelyabinsk, and Ryan best-name-in-the-league Garbutt, the Stars shut out the Ducks 3-0.
Not only did they trounce Boose, Perry, and #TeemuForever, the Star’s PA guy trolled the Ducks so very hard. After a third period timeout and the Stars up 2-0, this song came on the loudspeaker.
Photo: Debora Robinson
Alright, here we go.
The Caps’ Californian vacation is a crucible that will decide exactly of what this team is made. If the Caps can do the impossible and sweep these four games (the fourth at home against the Kings), they could once again make a late-season push for the postseason. With Tuesday’s narrow win over Bruce Boudreau and his Anaheim Ducks, those hopes are still alive.
Here’s how it all went down.
Joel Ward and the terrific third line did their thing again, crashing the net for the game’s first goal. The Ducks struck back as any Caps opponent would do: within the next minute. Before the first period was up, Troy Brouwer converted on the power play to give the Caps a one-goal lead.
The Caps survived a scoreless second period, but Mathieu Perreault found space and a screen to tie the game early in the third. That simply set the stage for Alex Ovechkin, who scored one of his cleanest Ovi shots from the Ovi spot. Halak fought off a late scramble by the Ducks.
Caps beat Ducks 3-2!
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
The Anaheim Ducks have the best record in the NHL. Their coach, Bruce Boudreau, seems to have fallen up when he was fired by the Washington Capitals in 2011. The team has won nine in row, led by offensive stars Ryan Getzlaf, number three in league in points, and Corey Perry, number three in the league in goals. They have a good chance to win their second Stanley Cup since 2007. Monday night, they extended their winning streak with a comeback victory in Boudreau’s, Bob Woods’s, and Mathieu Perreault’s return to Verizon Center.
“Nine in a row: that’s pretty cool,” Boudreau told reporters after the game. “They were trying hard for the guys that were in Washington.”
For Boudreau, it was a surreal experience, plucked from the AHL’s Hershey Bears to lead the Capitals in 2007. More than anyone save for Alex Ovechkin, Boudreau is responsible for putting hockey back on the map in Washington. Without him, the Capitals wouldn’t have had their 202nd consecutive sellout Monday night. Without him, the team wouldn’t become the talk of the NHL. Without him, there may not have been any banners.
“Four and a half years — the greatest years of my life,” Boudreau said. “They didn’t put me on the board! Oh well.”
Perreault and Beagle (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
I feel sorry for all the johnny-come-lately fans who never knew Bruce Boudreau’s Caps. You know who I’m talking about: all those fake fans who started following the Caps just because of the undeniable electricity of Hunter hockey. Those trendy, fairweather fans who only bought their first Caps shirsey because they saw Ovi pile on an inconceivable 38 goals back in 2011-2012. All they ever knew of the Caps was the unlimited delight of low puck possession and the benching of fan-hated Mike Knuble.
Okay, starting over.
If you were to make a list of things that turned this franchise around in the last decade, you’d see Bruce Boudreau’s name somewhere right underneath Alex Ovechkin and the return to the red uniforms. Now Boudreau is with the Ducks and positively killing it in the Western Conference. Boose brought his league-leading team to Verizon Center for his first game since getting fired more than two years ago. The crowd and the team seemed to appreciate the emotional dimension, and we fans got a decent, if uneven, game out of it.
Mikhail Grabovski got the Caps on the board first by tapping in a pass from Troy Brouwer (and helped along by Ben Lovejoy). Nicky Backstrom converted a power play four minutes later with a sneaky shot to Jonas Hiller’s shoulder. Andrew Cogliano got the Ducks into the game by sweeping up the shards of a broken Caps defense.
The second period was polluted by penalties, and Saiku Koivu tied it with a bang-bang in the waning seconds. Hampus Lindholm got a puck through a crowded shooting lane and well-screened Philipp Grubauer to put the Ducks up with five minutes left. Alex Ovechkin rang the post, and our hearts sank.
Ducks beat Caps 3-2.
Photo credit: Gary I. Rothstein
During Sunday’s game between the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, former Capitals player (and fan favorite) Matt Bradley suffered what appears to be a significant injury.
During the second period, Anaheim’s George Parros apparently leveled Bradley at center ice with a high shoulder hit. Bradley attempted to hit Parros into the boards in retaliation a few seconds later. Parros slowed to avoid the hit, causing Bradley to collide with the glass headfirst. Bradley was unable to continue playing and required help off the ice and into the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Photo credit: Mark J. Terrill
You couldn’t write a better script. After 24 games under head coach Randy Carlyle, Andrew Gordon had not scored a goal and the Ducks were among the worst teams in the NHL. Enter Bruce Boudreau. In the second period of Gabby’s coaching debut with the Ducks, Gordo netted his second career NHL goal — his first since December 21, 2010, which he celebrated by kissing Marcus Johansson — knocking in a rebound off of a Ben Maxwell shot past Ilya Bryzgalov. As NHL.com’s Dave Lozo observed, Gordon is probably the first player in NHL history to get his first career goals on two different teams with the same coach.
If you follow me past the jump, you can check out video of his goal.
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