Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Oh god. Oh god. Oh. God.

I’m a bit wrapped up in the Washington Capitals this year. I thought I’d be cool, analyzing the game with the sober distance of an expert, but I’m not that at all. I’m a basket case, and I bet I’m not alone. It’s the gosh-darn playoffs, and the Caps are off to a hot start.

Washington bombarded NYR goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, but the Rangers somehow got the early lead anyway. The Caps didn’t change their style though and responded with three goals in the second period. Holtby withstood an enfilade in the third and earned a wonderful game-one win.

Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Caps lead series 1-0. Boom!

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Patrick McDermott

MVP. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

And so we said goodnight to the Southeast Division. With one last dance between the Washington Capitals and the Winnipeg Jets (née Atlanta Thrashers), the stakes were a division title and a guaranteed ticket to the postseason dance for the home team. It was a barn-burning good time, which doesn’t sound like a good time if you own a barn but you don’t so it was. The Capitals came out of the gates shooting and hardly stopped to catch their breath. All four lines were clicking, and that’s exactly the kind of hockey we want to see one week before the playoffs start.

Alex Ovechkin is the best.

Caps beat Jets 5-3. The Capitals make the playoffs. The Capitals are Southeast Division champions.

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Caps Smack Leafs 5-1; Don’t Hit Nicky!

Chimeragoal

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Looking to extend their season-high seven game win streak, the Washington Capitals hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. In a match-up of possible first-round opponents, the Caps came off a shaky ending to their last win and played a game that was anything but against a tired Leafs team.

Jack Hillen scored (when doesn’t he?), Nicky got boarded, the Caps got mad, Erat got his first in red, the Brouwitzer a nice backhand shot was unleashed, Ovi had a scoar, and MoJo hacked one in. Caps smack Leafs 5-1.

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PurcellGoal

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.

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Game Over Green: Caps Edge Bolts 6-5 (OT)

caps-beat-lightning

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Thursday night against the Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals continued their march up the Eastern Conference standings with some Ovi scoring and Brouwer yelling (what else is new) as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight, they looked to extend their six-game winning streak against another flailing Southeast Division team from more humid parts, the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did. It was fun ’cause the Caps scored a lot of goals, until Tampa did that too.

It started with a Brouwitzer, then a Hillen blast (just kidding), and then some Russian dude with a missing tooth. In the second it was JASON FREAKING CHIMERA, Panik for Tampa, Panik puns for people on Twitter, and a Fehr tap in. The third, as usual, was where the Caps screwed things up, with two St. Louis goals, another for Panik, and one for Purcell. However…

OVERTIME = GAME OVER GREEN.

In the end, there were wings for the people in the stands and two points for the people on the ice. Caps edge Bolts 6-5 (OT).

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jason-chimera-finally-scores

“Thank you, hockey gods!” (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Fifty-seven days and 28 games into the 2013 regular season, Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera finally scored his first goal on the year. And not a moment too soon.

A year ago, Chimera had a career best season tallying 20 goals and 39 points. This season, Chimera has bounced around the Caps line,up, seeing time with fourth-line grinders like Jay Beagle as well as second-line duty with playmakers like Mike Ribeiro. Regardless of who he played with, the goals didn’t come — until Sunday.

As Troy Brouwer skillfully forechecked behind the Sabres net midway through the second period, he sent a no-look backhand pass to the slot that found Chimera for a wide-open one-timer.

“It’s embarrassing to see a zero next to your goal column for that long,” Chimera told reporters after the game. “It was nice to get a goal for sure.”

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Back to Full Power: Caps Beat Sabres 5-3

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Nineteen seconds, one goal. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

The Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres are neck-and-neck in a battle for playoff position. The Caps are just one point behind the Sabres as the lockout shortened regular season begins to come to a close. One problem, though: the spot they’re fighting for is 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

This season has been pretty abhorrent for fans in Buffalo and Washington. The Caps, however, still have time to salvage this year. Playing in hockey’s weakest division, the Caps came into Sunday’s game nine points out the the Southeast-leading Winnipeg Jets with 21 games left to play. But if Washington want to be playing hockey in May, that drive has to start now. Maybe it did. Thirty hours after the start of their deflating but fight filled 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, Washington showed no St. Patrick’s Day hangover (I’m sorry).

Caps beat Sabres 5-3.

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The Bold and the Bloody: Bruins beat Caps 4-1

Brian Babineau

Photo credit: Brian Babineau

The Boston Bruins are the best team in the East. I think they’re the East’s best chance at winning the Cup this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for them or that I didn’t want the Washington Capitals to crush them on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen though. The Caps struggled on defense, and their offense needed help to get the puck behind Anton Khudobin. The game got a little wild in the second and third periods, which is just how the Bruins like it.

Bruins beat Caps 4-1.

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Caps Just Freaking Destroy Panthers 7-1

greg fiume

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.

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Braden Holtby meets Zach

Holtby skates Zachary around the ice. (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward)

Holtby skates Zachary around the ice. (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward)

Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward

The day before the Washington Capitals played their most inspired game of the season — a 5-0 shellacking of the Florida Panthers, some special guests invaded Kettler Capitals Iceplex and raised the spirits of three Caps in particular: Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera, and Tomas Kundratek. The Caps hosted Extreme Recess Hockey in conjunction with Dreams For Kids DC, a program which allows children with physical and developmental disabilities — as well as at-risk youth — to get out on the ice and skate with the pros.

The event had a profound impact on both the children and players involved.

“It’s making me feel unreal,” Kundratek told John Walton in a team-produced video. “Kids having smiles on their faces. That’s what this is all about. This is my first time and I’m really enjoying it.”

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