Braden Holtby. He was simply incredible against the Bruins Thursday night — the only reason why the Caps aren’t down 3-1 heading into Boston. The 22-year-old netminder made 44 saves while allowing a single goal (on a 2-on-1) as the Caps squeaked out a 2-1 victory.
“That’s playoff hockey,” Holtby said after the game. “That’s why it’s so fun — the close games, the close battles. I hope it doesn’t change and I hope that we’re on the high end of it every time.”
After struggling somewhat Monday night (though not as much as the defense) in the Capitals 4-3 loss, this was a hell of a way to bounce back. Throughout the game Holtby was continuously peppered with shots but made save after save.
Brooks Laich set up Marcus Johansson for an odd-man rush to score in the first ninety seconds of the game. With Dennis Wideman overcommitted on offense, Rich Peverley had an easy time tying it up with an odd-man rush. Alex Semin beat Thomas with a surgical strike on a power play late in the second to give the Caps the lead. Caps beat Bruins 2-1.
Last season, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup with grit, a stiffing defense, and a big weirdo in net by the name of Tim Thomas. Thomas had an incredible 1.98 GAA, .940 Save Percentage, and 4 shutouts in last year’s playoffs. In the Finals, Thomas went into beast mode, giving up only 8 goals in 7 games, giving Boston its first Stanley Cup since 1971-72. Naturally, he was the Playoffs MVP.
Well the Bruins are back to defend their title and are trying to become the first team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup in back-to-back years. Standing in their way however, will be our 7th-seeded Caps, a rag-tag group of veterans, AHL’ers, and Russians that I’m pretty sure Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury still think are Eurotrash.
Unless he suffers a gruesome injury or chooses to skip out on a game because of an Obama appearance, the Capitals will have to find a way to consistently score on this Tea Partier from Flint, Michigan. And that, for them hasn’t been easy.
Timmay is a career 14-5-3 against Washington, which includes a save percentage north of .920. He’s consistently beaten the Caps in their own barn, winning 7 of 9 career games against them. While Thomas went 1-1-1 against the Capitals this year in 3 starts, he also stopped 82 of 89 Washington shots. He was nearly impenetrable, no matter how much we only want to remember his — um — poor performance in the March 29th shootout.
So on those 7 goals, how have the Caps beaten Thomas? Is there a particular place on the ice that the Caps have had more success shooting?
The Washington Capitals have been inspiring a lot lately: swearing, alcoholism, serious consideration of jumping off the 400 level rather than watching another moment of hockey. So inspirational are they in this way that you may not have noticed what good role models they really are for children, and how nice they might look with encouraging slogans across their chest.
The Capitals franchise has always made efforts to connect with younger generations in the local community, often visiting schools and running hockey clinics for kids. We’ve unearthed what seems to be a continuing effort towards this, a series of “Caps@School” postcards where their stars promote wholesome, inspiring messages. (Note: may also double as Valentines in a pinch.)
There doesn’t seem to be a card for if you’re wondering why you spent $75 dollars for terrible seats to see the Caps lose, but if you have questions about the power of your dreams, the Caps have answers.
If there was one moment that epitomized Tuesday’s game, it came in the waning moments of the second period. With the Capitals on the power play with chance to narrow the Sabres lead to one heading into the final intermission, Keith Aucoin chipped the puck along the boards to Alex Ovechkin, who was playing the point at the blueline. Ovi fumbled the slow moving puck, got out muscled by Jason Pominville and then stumbled to the ice. Pominville finished the sequence by deflating any hope there was on the Capitals bench when his shot hit the back of the net. Ovechkin smashed his stick against the goal post in frustration.
The Verizon Center with eight minutes left in the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
Losing to Buffalo, ugh. How could we lose to a team with such a beige, overpaid lineup? How could we lose to the team that employs Patrick Kaleta and pays Christian Ehrhoff $4 million?
Whatever, Buffalo. First one to a Stanley Cup gets the real bragging rights, which in your case will be in 2045 as the Kansas City Shortribs.
Holby gave the puck away to the Sabres and Cody McCormick was only too happy to give it back to start the scoring. Drew Stafford caught his own rebound just sitting there innocently in the crease to make it 2-0. Some person named Tropp deflected another huge rebound from from Holtby to put it in the net. Semin scored right of the faceoff and we wonder what Mike Milbury has to say about this? Pominville stole the puck from Ovechkin and scored shorthanded. Stafford destroyed what was left of our souls by scoring his second of the game. Caps lose, 5-1.
On March 23, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Rob Carr
Last time the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets met, Ovechkin got taunted and the Caps lost a slot in the standings. The Caps remembered and came out swinging this game. But then Dale Hunter enacted his formula for something, and everything went to hell.
Thanks to Jeff Halpern, Jason Chimera went cruising along in the O-zone, tucking the puck behind Pavelec with his backhand. Alex Ovechkin recorded two consecutive goals in the second– a subtle wristshot and a loud 6-on-5 one-timer. The Jets rallied back with goals from Maxwell and Little before the second intermission. The Caps had literally no offense (seriously, none) in third until Spencer Machacek tied it up.
Into overtime, where Stapleton won it. Jets beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
Heading into tonight’s game, there was no doubt that the Jets’ season was on the line. With a loss, they would fall six points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot — all but essentially eliminating them from the playoff race. “These are games that define your team,” Evander Kane told The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “And we’re going to see what we’re made of.” Sure are.
Predictably, the Jets came out fired-up and scored first. Andrew Ladd tallied his 24th goal of the season on literally a magical backhander. 22 seconds later, the Capitals responded, as Marcus Johansson perfectly placed a slap-pass onto Brooks Laich’s blade and watched him tip it in past a helpless Ondrej Pavelec.
Late in the second period, the Jets regained the lead as Nik Antropov out-worked Ovechkin to the front of the net to flip one past Vokoun. Mathieu “I’m teeny tiny like a leprechaun” Perrault managed to tie the game again on a third period power play. Unfortunately, Dustin Byfuglien and his big rear were too much to handle. Jets beat Caps, 3-2.
On March 11, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster
Sitting just one point behind the division-leading Florida Panthers, Sunday afternoon’s duel between the Washington Capitals and Toronto was a tremendous opportunity to climb the east.
Brooks Laich scored a shorthanded goal (just the team’s third and first by any player not named Chimera) to get on the board first. Mathieu Perreault caught a rebound off Alex Semin’s drive to make it 2-0. Caps beat Leafs.