Photo: Eliot J. Schechter
Friday night’s game between the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals could have been an exciting reunion of two former division rivals. Instead, the Capitals put up an uneven effort, and relied on special teams to keep up with a Florida team that was curiously strong on the puck. Grubauer kept the Caps alive despite a lot of action, earning the team a point in sixty-five minutes, but not the decision.
Scoreless through twenty, Dylan Olsen (who?) finally hit the back of the net after unlimited zone time for the Cats. Nick Backstrom tied the game during 4v4, but– wait for it– Florida scored soon after thanks to a bad Mike Green turnover and bad Mike Green D coverage. Joel Ward crushed the nut to re-tie the game late in the second, though that one required video review.
The third was pointless, so everybody got a pity point and we headed into OT, but that never does anything, so…. again…
Panthers beat Caps 3-2 in the Shootout.
Bjugstad and Schmidt (right) bump fists before the 2012 West regional semifinal (Photo credit: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/St. Paul Pioneer Press)
After the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were upset by Yale during last spring’s regional semifinal, a few of Minnesota’s star players left the program to pursue professional careers.
Among them were defenseman Nate Schmidt, who signed with the Washington Capitals as an undrafted free agent, and Florida Panthers’ 2010 first-round pick center Nick Bjugstad. Both spent three years in college hockey, and both were all-stars in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The most excitable man in hockey. (Photo: Greg Fiume)
The horse show or whatever is gone from Verizon Center, and the Caps are finally back. Good thing too. Friday night’s curbstomp in Philly got really ugly at the end there, and the handsome faces of DC made things all better.
Nick Backstrom scored the game’s first goal in a low-shooting first period, which is pretty much exactly how last game started. Florida’s Jesse Winchester scored on a breakaway in the second, but John Carlson answered back 36 seconds later thanks a lovely saucer pass from Michael Latta. Tomas Fleischmann tied it on a 4v3 with under 3 minutes left because ugh. Into OT we came, and into the shootout we went.
Caps beat Panthers 3-2 in the shootout!
Tie Game. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
The Washington Capitals were leading the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Saturday night. They ended up winning 6-5 despite a pathetic third period collapse. Afterwards, the players were understandably upset, none moreso than Jason Chimera.
In response to an earnest question about how to mentally handle a late game blow up, Chimera got sassy.
“Sometimes you’re not your best at writing articles,” he said. “You gotta do better next game.”
After a quick back-and-forth, Chimera stormed off to the showers at Verizon Center. Ah, the joys of a winning locker room.
Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The Washington Capitals just freaking obliterated the Florida Panthers. I don’t know how else to say it. Any flowery language would make the point less elegant: this was a thrashing. One of these teams is the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the other one is the Washington Capitals.
We learned that early, as John Erskine’s muffinly dump-in baffled Jacob Markstrom. We were reminded soon after– when Wojtek Wolski caught a Steve Oleksy pass and made it 2-0 on the Caps’ second shot. That was enough for Markstrom, who got the hook in favor of Scott Clemmensen, who promptly gave up two more goals on the Caps’ next four shots– one from Carlson, one from Ribeiro.
That was all in the game’s first 10 minutes. I could go on, but you get the idea. This was all Caps. Even when the shooting slowed, Braden Holtby was so on top of his game that this was never really a contest.
Caps beat Panthers 7-1.
As regulation time expired in Tuesday’s Caps-Panthers game, one right honorable gentleman cheered the proceedings with impassioned, airborne pelvic thrusts. Start at the 12-second mark in the video above to see what I mean; the guy is at the top right.
All the air in Sunrise is now pregnant as this guy– despite the pleadings of his attendant and well-adjusted girlfriend– made ballistic and metaphorical love to anything and everything around him.
Seeing as the BB&T Center was chock full of about 120 fans, Airhump McGee here becomes the de facto Coors Light Fan of the Game. Drink Coors Light: The Silver Bullet! Taste the Rockies, Especially if You’re a Total Florida Dudebro.
Thanks to Andrew S. for the heads up!
Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter
The Washington Capitals schlepped down to that bustling metropolis of Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. It was classic Caps hockey: dumb penalties, tons of goals, a nominal interest in defense.
Mike Ribeiro found the puck on the weak side to score an early power play goal, but then Tomas Fleischmann banked a shot off John Erskine’s skates to even it up. Shawn Matthias knocked in a go-ahead goal for the Cats from high in the slot. Karl Alzner scored a nasty slapper off the faceoff to knot the score at 2. Let me repeat that: Karl Alzner scored a goal.
Peter Mueller Huberdeau bounced a flubbery puck past Braden Holtby, but then Matt Hendricks got a rebound of his own. Jonathan Huberdeau exploited some bad defense to make it 4-3 Florida. Holtby bobbled a loose puck to give Drew Shore his first NHL goal — after a review from Toronto. Eric Fehr finally made it onto the scoresheet with a tip-in just five minutes before the end of regulation. Alex Ovechkin ripped a tying goal off the faceoff during a late-game power play.
And then Troy Brouwer won it in OT on a breakaway. Cause that’s how this team gets down.
Caps beat Panthers 6-5 (OT).
Photo credit: Evan Vucci
Does Alex Semin Care? That was the dominant headline before training camp. On August 17th, former Cap Matt Bradley spoke candidly to an Ottawa radio station and questioned the Russian winger’s commitment to hockey and the team. “When you’ve got a guy like that, you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he doesn’t show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia.”
With a minute left in the third period of Thursday’s game and the Caps up only a goal, Alex Semin showed how much he loved DC by putting the Capitals back in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season with a dazzling individual play. As two Florida Panther defenders shadowed Brooks Laich along the boards, Sasha Minor — unguarded in the corner — took a pass, went strong to the net, and lifted a backhanded shot over Jose Theodore.
Video is below the jump.
Photo credit: Evan Vucci
This is it. The Caps nipping at the heels of the division-leading Panthers, playing to deny them the clinch and maybe snatch their crown.
Jay Beagle scored early, trapping a Troy Brouwer shot with his rump and firing from the sweet spot. Alex Ovechkin got on the board in the second, crashing the net and converting Marcus Johansson’s rebound. Brooks Laich piled on with a sniper shot from the high slot after a long session in the offensive zone. Mikael Samuelsson was all alone in the Caps zone, breaking the shutout with a high wrister. The Cats made it a one-goal game via Ed Jovanovski’s deflect goal early in the third. Alex Semin made it a four-goal night with a minute left. Caps beat Panthers 4-2. We’re playoff-bound, baby!
Early Morning Skate: Our doctor advises those of you with heart issues, temper problems, or who are prone to premature catastrophization to avoid watching the Capitals Thursday night. In fact, why not just turn the TV and iPad off and curl up into a little whimpering ball right now.
The rest of us? We few… we lucky few… are ready for, and this is no hyperbole, the single most cosmically important game for any team since the beginning of time. That said, will the Capitals be ready as well?
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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