On Sunday after the Caps closed out the Flyers, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth had a moment in the handshake line. Shaking his head in admiration, Holtby gave a big high-five and a pat on the shoulder to his former long-time teammate and rival. Neuvirth finished the series with a .981 save percentage, giving up only two goals in three games.
Caps defenseman John Carlson also had a moment with Neuvirth in the handshake line, though he had to do a lot of jersey tugging to get his attention. Carlson and Neuvirth grew up together in the AHL before both landing in the NHL.
During the third period of Game One, Flyers forward Brayden Schenn dispensed several questionable hits. Schenn launched himself into Mike Richards along the boards, knocked Evgeny Kuznetsov head-first into the crossbar, and hit Karl Alzner after the game ended.
Saturday night, the Caps delivered some humble pie to Schenn. Alex Ovechkin checked the forward into the Flyers bench during the first period. Then John Carlson sent the dude flying when Schenn tried to light him up as he skated out from behind the net.
Photo: Patrick Smith
Wednesday morning, Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was asked about the defensive pairing of Nate Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov. They were both set to make their NHL playoff debuts in Game One of the first round against the Philadelphia Flyers. He paused halfway through his answer.
“You know, I’m just thinking, laughing in my head about Schmitty,” Alzner said. “He’s always so excited for a regular season game, I can’t imagine what he’s gonna be like for a playoff game. It’ll be fun.”
The Caps let two power plays go by with no goals but a bunch of chances. Finally in the second, they broke through.
The Caps rode a wave of momentum after Alex Ovechkin nailed Sean Couturier with a big hit at center ice. Five minutes later, with Brandon Manning in the box for delay of game, John Carlson converted the PP and scored Washington’s first goal of the playoffs.
The Washington Capitals’ special teams units have been at or near the top of the league rankings all year. While the number of power-play chances certainly goes down once the playoffs begin, the relative rarity of goals and chances makes converting those opportunities all the more important. Look none other than to the last President’s Trophy run. In that playoffs first round match-up the Montreal Canadiens scored six PP goals to the Capitals one, the Canadiens prevailed. Last year in the first round, the Islanders did not score a PP goal while the Caps scored two. Then in the very next round the New York Rangers tallied three PP goals to the Capitals one.
Peter already shared RMNB’s Easter wishes for the Washington Capitals. Well Caps players and their adorable, precious, little babies have a wish for you too: Have a Happy Easter!
Let’s review what they’ve shared on Instagram.
Team Canada announced the first 16 players on its World Cup of Hockey roster. Among those first 16 was a very handsome, very excellent goaltender you might know. His name is Braden Holtby. Katie Brown touched on this very topic earlier this week.
This is the first World Cup of Hockey in 12 years. The last WCH was in 2004 and was won by Canada. Unlike the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the NHL, with NHL rules, and is timed to not overlap with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Capitals defenseman John Carlson will miss the next three to four weeks due to injury.
“He had a procedure just to take care of a lingering thing he’s had for a long time,” head coach Barry Troz said on Saturday.
Carlson, who missed all of January to injury, did not play in Friday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. On his current recovery timeline, Carlson will return to action in late March.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
Last year, the Capitals’ top defense pair was John Carlson and Brooks Orpik. This year, those two have missed a combined 43 games. Tonight, it was Carlson’s turn again.
“He probably saw the doctors tonight and we’ll probably have an update (Saturday) because I don’t really know yet,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s not 100 percent or he would have played tonight. It is a lingering of the old injury so we just want to have the opportunity to let’s get it settled down or fixed. Whatever we need to do let’s just do it so that it’s not lingering on.”
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