Caps beat Sens 5-3, Can We Play Them Every Game?

????? (Photo credit: Jana Chytilova)

The Washington Capitals’ only win under Coach Hunter came from the Ottawa Senators, whom they met again on Wednesday. It was their second meeting in a week, and it was freaking terrific.

Jeff Halpern recovered Dennis Wideman’s rebound to make it 1-0. With Vokoun and Erskine bobbling the puck, Erik Condra took a stab and tied it up.  Nick Foligno combined speed and patience to score just as the power play expired. Brooks Laich set up Nick Backstrom, who roofed the tying goal on the power play. Alex Ovechkin looped around the Ottawa net, suckered his defender, and loosed the go-ahead goal. Troy Brouwer piled on 15 seconds later with his Gordie Howe Hat Trick goal. Milan Michalek needed like 5 milliseconds to score on a late-game power play. John Carlson sniped the empty netter. Caps beat Sens 5-3.

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Ottawa Senators Pregame: Rocky 3 – Adrian’s Revenge

Craig Anderson watches one go by. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys offers this pregame dispatch. Follow Puck Buddys on Twitter.

The Pre-Game: We hear through the Twitters that perhaps we went just a weee bit overboard with our preview of Saturday’s Ottawa game, and shameless self-promotion of teh PuckBuddy’s Big Gay Night Out. Whoops! Curiously: among the critics was Donald Trump, who should know a thing or two about the line between gleeful self-promotion and villainous sociopathy, so we take that to heart. So that, plus Peter’s epic stat-tastic data set analysis matrix (or whatever) have convinced us today we’re going to play it down the line.Yup, right… directly, down that… unbending line. Directly… forward, in a non-curvilinear fashion. And that’s as close as we’re ever going to come to saying it, so get over it.

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Cats beat Caps 5-4, Realignment is Happening

Eliot J. Schechter

Alex Ovechkin does nothing in particular. (Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter)

Apparently it had been too long since a mortifying loss. The Washington Capitals’ pummeling at the paws of the Florida Panthers fixed that– despite a strong effort in the closing minutes. We don’t care. The realignment thing is happening, so let’s talk about that instead.

Goals went like this: Weiss deflects off Wideman on the PP. 13 seconds later, Santorelli goes 7-hole on Neuvy. Kulikov gets one on the PP. Mike Knuble slaps one under Clemmenson. Bergenheim converts on the PP when Neuvy can’t cover the puck.  Weiss gets a layup when Flash draws 4 Caps and the 5th one (Ovechkin) can’t be bothered to play D. Eakin scores thanks to a huge Knuble screen and Perreault assist. Brooks Laich topshelfed it from traffic. Jason Chimera deflected a John Carlson shot. Big flurry at the end, but ran outta time. Cats beat Caps 5-4.

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Pens beat Caps 2-1, John Erskine vs Arron Asham

Rob Carr

Hit em for Beagle: John Erskine vs Arron Asham (Photo credit: Rob Carr)

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ first appointment in D.C. might also mark the beginning of drastic reformulation for the Washington Capitals. This was also the first meeting between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in 335 days and Crosby’s first date in D.C. since his concussion. Lots of hype, very little offense. Here’s how it went down:

Arron Asham hooked up Craig Adams for a lay up made even easier by some bad D from Orlov and Schultz. Chimera tied it up in the second with a blind backhand. Chris Kunitz beat everyone to give the Pens the go-ahead goal. The Caps just didn’t shoot. Pens beat Caps 2-1.

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Sharpen Your Knives, Jets beat Caps 4-1

Marianne Helm

Fittingly, the most awkward photo of Ovechkin available. (Photo credit: Marianne Helm)

The last time the Washington Capitals played hockey in Manitoba, Steve Konowalchuk scored a hat trick. Tonight’s game with the reformed Winnipeg Jets had a lot of fanfare preceding it, which makes what happened even sadder.

Off Brooks Laich’s pass, Alex Semin wristed the game’s first goal from a harsh angle. Evander Kane used two quick touches to beat a trio of Caps and tie it up. Joel Ward didn’t clear the defensive zone, turning over to Kane who potted his second of the night with a lightning fast shot. Brooks Laich missed on his shorthanded chance, leading to Blake Wheeler’s goal and a 3-1 lead for the ‘Peg. Hot-hand Kyle Wellwood tapped in the Jets’ 4th goal on the powerplay. Jets beat Caps 4-1.

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A Game to Forget: Stars beat Caps 5-2

Mitchell Layton

(Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

The Washington Capitals had the opportunity to prove national dominance against the best-in-the-west Dallas Stars. That didn’t happen.

Michael Ryder took a second chance, banked it off one or two Caps top-liners and past an unsuspecting Michal Neuvirth. On the power play, Nick Backstrom gave a blind feed to Alex Semin, who fired hard from 15 feet out. Neuvirth’s teammates abandoned him to another Michael Ryder goal. Then came John Carlson, who fired an ICBM over Lehtonen’s pads after the faceoff. Adam Burish deked Backstrom and Neuvy to give Dallas the edge early in the third. Hotshot Jamie Benn made it a two-goal lead on the power play. And Eric Nystrom netted off a nice rebound to make it a three-spot. Stars beat Caps 5-2.

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Winter is Coming in 8 Days

Eric Fehr

Editor’s note: To get you properly revved up for the season, each member of the RMNB crew will take a longing look back at some of our favorite goals from days gone by. You can call it nostalgia or cheap summer content, but it’s really a reminder: WINTER IS COMING.

I wasn’t always a huge hockey fan. My family were Hartford Whalers season-ticket holders, and they took me to an event down at the old Civic Center when I was 4. I would have gone skating but the goal siren frightened me away. I refused to skate and spent the rest of the night sitting on the bench with my hands on my ears. When I finally saw a game at age 12, I was an instant convert.

So: January 1st, 2011. The Winter Classic. Maybe the biggest game of the regular season and my first away from Home Sweet Verizon Center and in Pittsburgh, home of our nemeses. I wanted the win badly.

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John Erskine and Snooki

John and Kari Erskine pose with Snooki (via @johnerskine04′s Twitter feed).

Saturday night, Richmond International Raceway hosted NASCAR’s 26th race of the year, the final contest before the 2011 Chase field or “playoff” is set. Naturally with such a big race on hand, there needed to be some A-List talent to wave the green flag. So NASCAR trudged out the Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to be the Honorary Starter of the Wonderful Pistachios 400. Really? You can’t make this stuff up.

However, Snooki, the daughter of a New York City firefighter, decided to pass the duties on to Frank Siller, founder of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity committed to “doing good” in memory of Frank’s brother Stephen, a member of the FDNY killed on 9/11.

The Capitals’ John Erskine, both a huge NASCAR and Jersey Shore fan, made the two-hour drive down to Richmond with his beautiful wife Kari to root on five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, whom he met a few months ago in Pocono. After getting a tour of the raceway and the chance to pose with the Wonderful Pistachios trophy, Ersk went on a mission to find the Jersey Shore star. And succeed he did. Above, you can check out the photo.

Incredibly, Snooki now becomes the third Jersey Shore reality-star that a Caps player has either met or been photographed with. Let’s do the recap thing.

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Video: Caps Up 2-0, but Far From Satisfied

Russ Thaler had a report for CSN Washington from Kettler Capitals IcePlex Saturday. The video is above. The best quote of the day came from Bruce Boudreau. “When you’re up 2-0 on a really good team, everybody is playing good,” Boudreau said. “The defense is playing good. The forwards are playing good. The question is: can you sustain it? And that’s our question. Hopefully, we can.”

The last two series the Capitals have played in the playoffs, the Capitals have had 2-0 and 3-1 series leads, only to see both the Penguins and the Canadiens come back and win. When asked about losing those seven-game match-ups in the past, Alex Ovechkin had this to say. “Right now we stay focused and right now this team is different. Again that kind of experience from the last couple of years will help us.” Can the Capitals ride out the early momentum that the New York crowd will supply to the Rangers? Will the Capitals take what could be an insurmountable 3-0 series lead headed into Wednesday’s Game Four at Madison Square Gardens? We’ll see tomorrow at 3pm.

Also, make sure to check out these other fine Capitals stories from today: Capitals Insider: Capitals could have a different set of top two lines for Game 3 | Dump N’ Chase: Arnott Producing In The Clutch | Ted’s Take: Good and Bad

Is Arnott happy or angry he scored? (Photo credit: AP)

Thanks to tallies authored by the two Alexes Wednesday, the Capitals opened up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime victory. Who would pot the goals in game two? Um, obviously the Jasons.

After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich decided to hold a forechecking clinic at 2:11 of the second period, taking on towering Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy. After being knocked to his keister not once — but twice — Laich pushed the biscuit with only one hand on his stick to Marcus Johansson. Mojo — acutely aware of all of his surroundings — immediately sent a tape-to-tape pass to Jason Chimera, who roofed the puck high and glove side past a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.

1:57 later while on the power play, Jason Arnott would win a face-off. Alex Semin then passed it back to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovechkin, when pressured by a Ranger penalty-killer, skated across the blue line with the puck and fed Mike Green who was rotating down to the slot. Green then wound up to the sky with all his fury and released a slap shot. Gilroy blocked the attempt both with his skate and stick. Unfortunately for him, the muffed puck then deflected across the ice directly onto the blade of Jason Arnott’s twig, who was skating towards the net already looking for a rebound. As Lundqvist panicked and made a quick move to block the right corner of the net, Arnott made a veteran move and waited as he fell down and then shot the puck past. ANGRY SCOAR FACE.

That would be all she wrote. Michal Neuvirth would get his first career playoff shutout. Caps beat Rangers, 2-0!

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