Capitals Almost Back To Normal

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After a miserable eight-game losing streak, the Caps are finally starting to see some puck bounces go their way and are 5-0-1 in their last six. Good times ahead? We’ll see, but this is sure better than losing.

The scoring chances showed us this was just a matter of time. Remember, I use a specific definition of what I consider a scoring chance based on shot quality data and log everyone who is on the ice at the time using the script from Vic Ferrari. As always, you can find the spreadsheet online.

At even strength, the Caps put the scoring chances in their favor throughout the season, but when they failed to get the puck bounces to go their way it was a tough stretch of eight games. Once the bad luck started to even out, bringing their conversion percentage back to their season average, the Caps were able to right the ship:

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Varly Triumphs, Caps beat Habs 3-0

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

The Washington Capitals finally met their playoff pals, the Montreal Canadiens, for the first time since that awful, awful night. Recently de-Halak‘d, the Habs remain a formidable team and one that the Caps had no trouble getting amped up to face.

Hershey import Jay Beagle got on the big board first with a stunning no-look, behind-the-back, knick-knack, paddywack shot over Carey Price’s shoulder. Mike Green took a  freight train into a timing play to make it 2-0 off a Nicky Backstrom pass. The score was unchanged until Price abdicated his throne, which is like chumming the water to a shark like Alex Ovechkin. His empty netter finalized the score. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Caps beat Canes 3-2, Perreault’s Proboscis Pummeled

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Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck

Ouch. (Photo credit: John Carlson)

Ouch. (Photo credit: John Carlson)

The yuletide has receded, and the Washington Capitals have gotten back to work. Meeting the Carolina Hurricanes in snow-covered Raleigh, the Caps were out to test their mettle following that shootout loss to Pittsburgh on the 23rd.

Mathieu Perreault crashed the net in the first period, turning a sublime, unguarded puck from Alex Semin into the night’s first goal. In the second, Jussi Jokinen exploited a bad Caps line change to sneak one past Semyon Varlamov. Minutes later, Alex Ovechkin stormed through neutral ice and set up David Steckel to make the score 2-1. In the late second period, a bounce went finally went the right way for Ovi, who submitted the Caps third and final goal. The Canes attempted a comeback led by Jay Harrison/Tuomo Ruutu’s goal, but couldn’t get all the way. Caps beat Canes 3-2.

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Andrew Gordon Talks About His First NHL Goal

Editor’s note: Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps files this report on Andrew Gordon (no relation) and the first goal of his NHL career.

Capitals center Marcus Johansson raced down the left wing, picked up the loose puck and fired a cross-ice pass to Andrew Gordon, who jammed the puck past Devils goalie Martin Brodeur for his first career goal.

“When I first hit it, I didn’t know if it went in or not,” Gordon said after Wednesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “Once I saw [the red light], it was a real good feeling getting the first goal for the team and just knowing I contributed.”

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keith-jones

Sure. Tuesday was a fun night. Andrew Gordon scored his first NHL Goal, Marcus Johansson got his first NHL kiss, and the Capitals offense exploded in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. But not everything was rainbows and butterflies. Just ask former Capital and current Vesus analyst Keith Jones, who had this to say about Alex Semin’s play against the Devils on Versus’ post-game show.

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Caps beat Devils 5-1, Andrew Gordon Scores First NHL Goal

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First of many for Andrew Gordon. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

That is how you do it! The Washington Capitals have done the unthinkable: playing two smart games back to back.

Who better to get us started that Andrew Gordon? His goal-crashing shot off a speedy Marcus Johansson pass was the night’s first goal and the first of Andrew’s NHL career. (We knew you could do it!) The Devils responded with a Patrik Elias whizzer from above the circles, expertly screened by former Cap Danius Zubrus. Hershey’s own Jay Beagle returned fire with a chip-in up close. On a breakaway. Jason Chimera brushed off a hook and converted. Alex Ovechkin pulled an honest-to-goodness statue-of-liberty play with John Carlson, who launched a neutrino puck into Marty Brodeur’s net. Finally, Mike Knuble gingerly diverted a Tom Poti shot for the free wings. Caps beat Devils 5-1.

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TRUE BELIEVERS! Caps beat Sens 3-2

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Group hug for Fehrsie! (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)

The Capitals have ended their eight-game losing streak. Just take a moment to process that. Go ahead, put that dumb old grin on your face. We’ll wait.

There you go. Feel better? Me too!

The Sunday night tussle between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals had no shortage of extra meaning. The team’s mental state and possibly even careers hung in the balance. Game on.

Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon delivered a bang-bang puck over Neuvy’s left side to make it 1-0. Chris Kelly plopped in a pass from Chris Neil to give the Senators a two-goal lead in the first period. The Capitals could have deflated at that first intermission like usual, but they returned for the second ready to do work, son. Mathieu Perreault waited all of 34 seconds to score the Caps’ first goal, an ugly one. Eric Fehr allowed almost an entire minute to elapse before recording the second, also ugly. A powerplay opportunity found Perreault scoring again with another homely tally. The Caps held off a late-game man advantage to snap the slump: Caps beat Sens 3-2.

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Eight is Enough: Bruins beat Caps 3-2

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Matt Bradley is about to bleed. (Photo credit: Michael Dwyer)

The Washington Capitals mounted one of their largest offensive pushes ever to try and stop the Boston Bruins from extending  their losing streak to eight. Nope.

The Bruins scored the first three goals of the night all in the first period: a screened shot by Patrice Bergeron, a deflection off Scott Hannan by Andrew Ference (his first in 99 games), and a five-holer by Blake Wheeler. Matt Bradley responded early in the second with a dangle-and-wrist from a tight angle. Karl Alzner turned on hero mode, slapping one in off Tim Thomas’ shoulder to keep the Caps within striking distance. Despite a furious effort in the waning moments,  the Bruins felled the Caps 3-2.

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The Machinist: December 03, 2010

Let’s turn our world-weary eyes back to the week that found us emerging from tryptophan hangovers and beginning the festival of lights.

Can’t-miss: Point your browser over to our other selves at Sweetest Hockey on Earth, where Ian interviews Andrew Gordon, and many yucks are shared.

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Get over to our babyblog SHOE to watch Ian Oland’s interview with the Hershey Bear’s own Andrew Gordon. Last week, Ian cornered the AHL’s most prolific scorer in the locker room and forced him to answer questions about Sidney Crosby, not making the Capitals roster, Braden Holby’s eccentricities, and punishing AHL schedules.  Gordon, who contributed to RMNB this spring, was a very good sport.

Here’s your pullquote: “My skill-set is equal, or if not, better than [Sidney’s].” The kid’s a laugh riot.

How could you not click a link when it’s this big?

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