Pure Force of Will: Blackhawks Beat Caps 3-2

Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki

On Saturday, Caps fans stared into a space trying to figure what Brian MacLellan was doing. Twenty-four later, our brains were unscrambled as his team took to the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sunday NBC Game of the Week actually turned out to be the game of the week, with the enhanced defending champions taking on the NHL’s best team in a possible Stanley Cup Final preview.

Things got off to a great start for the Caps as the third line pounded the Blackhawks zone before Marcus Johansson whacked a line drive past Corey Crawford on the power play. On the next shift, however, the Capitals were too eager to exit the defensive zone and the Blackhawks jumped right on them, forcing Justin Williams to turn the puck over. Patrick Kane, the NHL’s leading point scorer, was alone in front of Braden Holtby to tie the game. The Capitals unleashed a torrent of shots on Crawford in the remaining minutes of the frame, but couldn’t regain the lead.

In the second, the script got flipped. The Blackhawks outshot the Capitals 14-4. Holtby stood tall for most of the period, but a late tripping call on Taylor Chorney gave the Blackhawks a power play. They converted when an excellent cross-ice pass from Teuvo Tervainen fooled the Capitals defense, leading to a wide open net for Jonathan Toews.

The third was a slow period, but Chicago was able to stretch their lead to two. After the Hawks took two penalties and Barry Trotz pulled Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps within one on a six-on-three with almost a full power play remaining afterwards. They couldn’t convert. Blackhawks beat Caps 3-2.

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Caps at Blackhawks Pregame: Corsi Central

Jan 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and center Jonathan Toews (19) shake hands with Washington Capitals players after the 2015 Winter Classic hockey game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Hold onto your hats because it’s the most hectic time of season. The trade deadline is tomorrow, but much craziness has already transpired. In other exciting news, the Caps are jetting off to face the very good Blackhawks. Take a shot whenever someone says this game is “a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview.”

Fun fact: Caps PR says the good guys have beat the Blackhawks four times in a row and won seven of the last nine matchups. A less exciting statistic: the Caps have played 13 games this month, and all but three were decided by a single goal.

The party starts at 12:30, and it’s on NBC.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-11-4 51.6% 102.1 23.3% (1st) 84.2% (4th)
Chicago Blackhawks 38-20-5 51.4% 99.5 22.5% (2nd) 80.0% (17th)

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Back on Track: Caps Beat Hawks 4-1

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The Capitals have had a tepid start to the season, with a lackluster home opener win against a terrible Devils team and a 5-0 massacre loss to the Sharks. To wake up the Capitals, head coach Barry Trotz shuffled the lineup by putting in two guys who shouldn’t be in the lineup. And it worked!

The Capitals dominated possession in the fast first period until Viktor Tikhonov took an interference penalty. That brought out the Capitals power play. There, TJ Oshie, the honorary Harlem Globetrotter and player with a fan club with a tragically oversized dinosaur head, scored his first goal with the Caps!

Early in the second, the Caps added some more when John Carlson, after collecting a pass from Stan Galiev whilst spinning like a dreidel, fired a prayer towards the net. The puck found its way past traffic before being caressed sweetly by the net.

In the third, Matt Niskanen added some insurance with little flip of the wrist from the point that beat Scott Darling. The Blackhawks got one back from Viktor Svedberg, who beat a screened Braden Holtby for his first career NHL goal. Meh. Late in the third, Alex Ovechkin made up for his oopsie on Monday with tip-in goal off pretty tac-toe from Evgeny Kuznetsov. A win! Caps beat Hawks 4-1!

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Caps vs Blackhawks Pregame: Ovi Returns

After missing Tuesday’s game against the Sharks, captain Alex Ovechkin will return to the lineup as the Caps take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Here’s to hoping the good guys come with a better effort than they did om Tuesday, as they played freaking horribly.

Is everyone ready for some Thursday night hockey action? If you’re a student of Rebecca Black’s poetry, you know that Thursday comes before Friday. If you like mediocre emo-type music, you may identify Thursday as when we seek Understanding in a Car Crash. Perhaps, like Robert Smith, you prefer to watch the walls instead of hockey on this particular day of the week. But if not, you can watch the game at 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 1-1-0 45.7% 97.8 22.2% 75%
Chicago Blackhawks 2-2-0 47.9 100.4 12.5% 90%

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Caps beat Blackhawks 3-2 in Winter Classic!

Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

It’s the Winter Classic! Hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park, the Washington Capitals played maybe their most important game since the 2013 playoffs. It was a terrific affair: Two great teams on a great sheet of ice, in front of 42,831 fans and one guy in a Crosby sweater, playing wide-open hockey punctuated by all the hockey nonsense that makes this game so compelling. The result of the game is almost secondary, but I bet you might care.

NHL outdoor goal-scoring leader Eric Fehr struck first, converting an early breakaway. Alex Ovechkin crashed the net, exploiting chaos to put the Caps up 2-0 in the first period. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: that lead did not hold. The Hawks won a power-play faceoff shortly before Patrick Sharp got a sun-drenched shot past Braden Holtby. John Carlson’s turnover in the second period led to Brandon Saad tying the game, which is how it stood after forty minutes.

Then, with twelve seconds left in regulation and the Capitals on the power play, Troy Brouwer swatted a loose puck behind Corey Crawford.

Caps beat Hawks 3-2! The Caps are undefeated outdoors!

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Caps vs Hawks Pregame: The Winter Classic

The Washington Capitals’ all-time outdoor scoring leader, Eric Fehr.

Let me start with this: Welcome to 2015, RMNB. I hope it’s a safe and happy one for you, and I hope you eat delicious food. That’s important.

In a few hours, or– if it’s sunny, a few hours after that– the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks will drop the puck at Nationals Park in DC for the Winter Classic. There’s gonna be pageantry, patriotism, and marked-up merchandise. There’s also going to be hockey. Let’s talk about that last part.

The game starts 1 PM on NBC, unless it starts later, which we don’t know yet.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 18-11-7 51.1% 100.3 22.9% 77.8%
Chicago Blackhawks 25-10-2 54.9% 100.7 18.7% 90.5%

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Winter Classic Pregame: A Hawk-Eye’s View

WinterClassicPractice7

It’s here, and there’s no use chirping at the other squad at this point. Except to say…we dare not say anything at the moment, actually. Other than the CSN-Chicago lady we ran into who told us how f*%#@ing cold Chicago is, we’re just not going there. That, and our contributor today actually likes DC, and so now we’re feeling like jerks to whizz all over Chicago…which is, in the end, a great city.

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis during an event last week in Southeast DC. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

It’s been 40 years since the Capitals first took the ice in the 1974-75 season. The team has been celebrating the occasion incessantly, honoring the franchise’s best players with video tributes that air every night at Verizon Center and when CSN+ doesn’t have anyone in studio for the late game.

Despite the trumpeting of their former players, the Capitals will not be hosting an alumni game prior to the 2015 Winter Classic, which heretofore had been a tradition. According to the NHL, this was a decision made by the Caps. Speaking to Capitals season ticket holders last week, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly suggested one possible reason for the move: the League didn’t agree to a deal with Nationals Park until September.

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Caps beat Hawks 3-2! The Capitals Won a Game!

Freaking great GIF by @myregularface

The Chicago Blackhawks were wayyyyy better than the Washington Capitals for the first half of Friday night. Like, it wasn’t even close. It was like David and Goliath except if Goliath mercilessly beat David to death with a club. But then the Caps herded a little big mo’ and got the bounces that had been eluding them for the last two weeks.

It was ugly at first. Get this. Marian Hossa beat Matt Niskanen along the boards and set up Brandon Saad for a lovely goal on a two-on-one. Then, Duncan Keith got a rebound for a power-play goal from the Ovi spot to make it 2-0.

Okay, now get THIS, ’cause this all happened inside five minutes. First,Andre Burakovsky called his own number on a breakaway late in the second, scoring with a dart to the high corner. Then, Marcus Johansson tied it up with a spinny shot that took some bounces. Finally, Matt Niskanen release a long b0mb from the blue line that had plenty of support up front– namely Joel Ward, who tipped it in.

The third period was all Hawks as the Caps played prevent defense in the same manner as your parents played prevent defense about nine months before you were born. Except this time it worked.

Caps beat Hawks 3-2! THE CAPITALS HAVE WON A GAME!

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Caps at Hawks Pregame: Crash the Net, Must the Win

green toque

Elite defenseman. Elite toque. (Photo: Caps Instagram)

October 25th. I remember it well. It was a simpler time, back when the Caps still won hockey games, children spoke only when spoken to, and women knew their place.

Since then everything has gone wrong. Personally, I blame Congress.

(And volatile shooting percentages endemic to small sample sizes, particularly for a team that is not sufficiently aggressive during 5v5 when leading.)

Alright. Road game against the Chicago Blackhawks, who might be the best team in the league (Neil has them fourth in his power rankings). After losing to the Coyotes and the Flames, it would only make sense for the Caps to beat these guys. right?

Late game. 8:30 PM on CSN Plus. Grab a beer and watch with me. From your couch. Alone. Forever alone.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-5-3 54.4% 97.8 29.3% 79.1%
Chicago Blackhawks 7-5-1 56.1% 99.5 18.9% 92.7%

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