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.
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:
Ovi tackles his teammates after Mike Knuble's second period goal. (Photo credit: Dave Sandford)
Photo credit: Gregory Shamus
After a year of build-up and three glorious episodes of HBO’s 24/7, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins finally met at Heinz Field in front of 68,111 loud, screaming fans to compete in the 2011 Winter Classic. Much like the 39 games before and the 42 games to follow, this game counted the exact same amount in the standings: two points.
But both you and I know it meant waaaaaay more than that. You could see it in how the Caps played, celebrated and spoke after the game. This was the biggest game they had ever played in their NHL careers. And it showed.
At 8:17pm the first puck dropped. It would then take over twenty-two compelling game minutes to see the 2011 Classic’s first goal. In the second period, Marc-Andre Fleury made a routine stick save along the ice on Alex Ovechkin. Kris Letang then took the rebound and alertly flung the puck up ice where he found a streaking Evgeny Malkin. The Capitals’ defense, caught on a bad change, allowed Malkin to go in all alone on Semyon Varlamov. Malkin went five-hole and the the Penguins took a 1-0 lead.
On December 28, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
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.
On December 19, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
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.
On December 18, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
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.
Let’s get the hell out of town. The Washington Capitals have lost five games in a row, four of them at home base. The Colorado Avalanche brought their fast-paced offense to town as Washington tried to re-awake theirs. Despite showing more effort than in recent games, the Caps failed to stop, drop, shut em’ down, open up shop.
Kevin Shattenkirk got lucky with an early goal that Michal Neuvirth should have stopped. Mike Knuble responded with his 250th career goal, a typical Knuble score from inches out. Tom Poi was woefully out of position, allowing Ryan Wilson to waltz in and score the go-ahead goal. Piling on was Paul Stasny, who converted on the powerplay. Matt Hendricks launched a comeback with a no-looker from the crease, but the home team ran out of time. Avs beat Caps 3-2.
On December 9, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Slumber party. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)
There’s no way the Capitals can lose four in a row, especially if three of the four are held in the friendly climes of Chinatown. Against the Florida Panthers– improbable. With eight powerplay opportunities– inconceivable. Shut out– should be impossible.
Prepare to have your minds blown.
We were scoreless until one second remained in the second period. Michael Frolik plopped a loose puck into a wide-open net. Halfway into the third period, Steve Bernier shoved in another loose puck after two failed attempts. Mike Santorelli converted on a late-game powerplay in a similar breakdown. That’s it. That’s the whole dang scoring recap. You didn’t even see a Capitals player in this paragraph, did you? Panthers beat Caps 3-0.
On December 3, 2010, In Guest Post, By Russian Machine Never Breaks
Editor’s note: November was a remarkable for the Washington Capitals. Not only because of the team’s success (10 wins in 14 games), but also the mustaches some team members grew. Movember, as it is called, is a month-long charity event to raise awareness for men’s health. Reader Jessica M. shares her story of the Movember party held at Lyon Hall this past Sunday night.
John Carlson poses with Jessica.
Well, this past year has been pretty crappy for me. At 36, I was diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer and underwent four surgeries (including the one that led to the first diagnosis). Thankfully, both tumors were caught early and I am now cancer-free. So I decided to celebrate the hell out of my birthday this year.
My husband Kevin and I had already bought tickets to the Caps/Canes game on the 28th, my birthday– we splurged and got seats four rows off the ice. Now seems like a good time to add that I’ve only once seen a game live that the Caps lost, and that was seven years ago in the pre-Ovi era (I remember because it was on my 30th birthday). So unlike Peter, I have a pretty good record for seeing Caps wins. I have to admit, I was afraid that record was about to go down in flames after the score was tied with 2.2 seconds left to go, but the boys pulled out a win on my birthday! That was present enough right there.
But I had more celebrating to do. We decided at the last minute to get tickets to the Movember party at Lyon Hall. Since I’ve survived cancer this year, it’s become a cause near and dear to my heart. My grandfather died of prostate cancer; my father-in-law thankfully did not, though he did undergo treatment for it. I think it’s really important to raise awareness of certain cancers, both men’s and women’s, that don’t get a lot of attention, so I’m grateful to the Caps for participating in Movember this year. And thanks also to Lyon Hall for hosting the event!
On November 28, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The Washington Capitals hosted the Carolina Hurricanes in a pleasant matinee of stick’n'puck and HOLY WOW I SAW THE CAPS WIN IN PERSON FOR THE FIRST TIME EVAR!!!
Marcus Johansson got it started early with a crease-borne knock-in set up by Eric Fehr. A 2-on-1 breakway by the Alexes led to a picturesque second tally (Minor scored, Major gets the assist). Erik Cole made the Caps pay for not clearing the zone and put the Canes on the board early in the second period. There the score sat until only 2.2 seconds remained in regulation. With Cam Ward on the bench and an extra attacker up in our face, Eric Staal tied the game, earned the Canes a well deserved point in the standings, and sent us all the way to the shootout. Where Ovi and Varly totally dominated. Caps beat Canes 3-2 (SO).
On November 20, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Marcus Johansson records the night’s first goal. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals are designed by a higher power to elevate your blood pressure, and you will thank them for it. If last night’s flustercluck with the Thrashers turned you into an Eeyore, tonight’s bout with the Philadelphia Flyers rendered you manic. Peppered with a generous helping of penalties, the Caps fought a pitched battle with the east coast brutes that defied convention. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like the outcome.
Marcus Johansson opened up with a swat from the slot as expertly set up by Jason Chimera. The Flyers responded with three consecutive goals (two in the second period alone) from Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, and Jeff Carter. Nicky Backstrom and Jason Chimera mounted a comeback in a wild third period, but Andreas Nodl put the Flyers ahead with only six minutes remaining. After fighting through an excruciating penalty kill, Eric Fehr re-awoke his offensive instincts at the perfect time (i.e. 45 seconds left in regulation). After a teeth-clinching overtime period, the teams lined up their shootout squads. Brian Boucher declined offers from Backstrom and Ovechkin, and Danny Briere beat Neuvirth via the five hole. It was down to Alex Semin. He beat Boucher cleanly and released the puck… CLANG!Flyers beat Caps 5-4 (SO). Continue Reading