In his seventh game as a Washington Capital, Dustin Penner finally earned his first point. Penner sent a dandy of a pass to Joel Ward to put the Caps up 3-0 in the first period.
During a first period power play, Penner occupied the low-man spot. Evgeny Kuznetsov hit him up from the right halfboard. Penner put those soft hands to use, sending a sneaky backhand pass to Joel Ward on the other side of the slot.
Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals held their fourth annual Casino Night at the Pentagon City Sheraton. Fans had the opportunity blow fake money gambling with their favorite players, as well as dishing out real money on a live auction featuring big-ticket experiences, a silent auction on equipment and memorabilia, and a raffle. The money made from Casino Night will benefit the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The team has raised nearly $1 million on past Casino Nights, and the live auction this year took in over $40,000.
“We did a got of research on craps,” Karl Alzner, who was there with his wife Mandy as well as her mom and grandparents, told me. “The correct throw and the technique and all that.”
“Even though it’s play money it’s still a lot of fun,” Alzner added. “We get to dress up.”
When I talked to Tom Wilson about the night, he had one main takeaway.
“Ovi’s pretty risky,” Wilson said.
Below, take a look at some of my photos from the night.
Eric Fehr celebrates his goal on Monday. (Photo: Rob Carr)
The Capitals have scored 185 goals this season. Alex Ovechkin has 44 of them. For most of the season, the team has struggled with secondary scoring. Lately, however, some of their complementary players are coming alive.
Troy Brouwer has eight goals in 11 games. Brooks Laich had goals in two straight games coming into Monday. Though Laich has being missing practices and morning skates due to a lingering groin injury, he played great against the Penguins, scoring a goal that was later credited to Nick Backstrom. Laich did register an assist, marking his third straight game with a point.
Monday, the third line of Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, and Joel Ward provided half of the Capitals’ offense in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. They greatly titled the ice in their favor, scoring the Caps’ first goal early in the game.
“I thought Fehrsie’s line might’ve had the best game they’ve had all year,” head coach Adam Oates said. “You feel it on the bench. You hear the guys talking on the bench. Your job is to try to have the next line follow and keep it going.”
Before Saturday’s game, I visited Kettler Capitals Iceplex and asked players for their Olympic picks. With the Caps sending five players to Sochi (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Martin Erat, and John Carlson), I wondered where Washington’s non-Olympians would place their allegiances.
The third line celebrates Chimera’s goal. (Photo: Greg Fiume)
Photo: Patrick McDermott
After Alex Ovechkin the Capitals goal scoring list takes a dip. Coming into Sunday’s game, Ovi had 38 goals. Joel Ward, the second-leading scorer, had 15. Ward continues to do his part. The 33-year-old added three more points to a remarkable season, scoring twice and assisting once in Washington’s 5-4 6-5 victory over Detroit.
“Since last year we’ve asked him to play more involved,” Caps coach Adam Oates said after the game. “He’s a good hockey player. He can’t just come to the rink and be complacent that ‘Oh, I’m gonna play third-line minutes and do the job.’ No. We need production. We need you to help the other guys out. … We need you to be a goal scoring threat.”
After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.
On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.
The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlovto put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.
Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.
Let’s be honest, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the league’s worst team there are few good moments to focus on. But as the Washington Capitals came out for the third period tied with the Buffalo Sabres 1-1, CSN accidentally caught the most fun-loving of fun-lovingest moments on the Caps bench.
As Joe B. discussed responses to CSN’s #CapitalsTalk question of the night, jokester Jason Chimera shoved Joel Ward and then whacked him in the face.