Photo credit: Nick Wass
The Washington Capitals have won a hockey game. For the first time since April 9, 2012, the Caps defeated their opponent when they beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at Verizon Center. It had been over eight months since the team’s last victory, a May 9 win over the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs. After the summer and the lockout, the boys got off to an awful start in 2013. They were blown out in their first three games and dropped Friday’s in overtime.
Another thing that hasn’t happen in just about forever also occurred on Sunday. John Erskine, known for his rough hits and bruising fights, scored. A goal. In a hockey game.
It was Erskine’s first tally since the team’s final game of the 2010-11 season, a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. That’s 634 days for those who like a precise count.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Erskine, a defenseman, told reporters afterwards. “I just threw it at the net, and you never know what can happen. It can go off people and in the net. That’s the way goals are going in these days.”
“Whenever I score any goals, the boys get up and have a good little cheer,” he added with a wry smile.
Miss the media? “Not really,” says Ovechkin. (Photo credit: @SWhyno)
This morning, a bunch of Washington Capitals players jumped back on the ice for an informal practice. Those who skated include Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Mike Green, Mike Ribeiro, John Carlson, Michal Neuvirth, Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jack Hillen, and John Erskine.
At 11am, Caps general manager George McPhee then spoke to the press for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth. GMGM revealed that injured defenseman Dmitry Orlov is “improving” but questionable for opening night (but you already knew that), and side-stepped questions on Nicklas Backstrom’s health, acknowledging that the team can’t examine him until a new CBA is ratified. Hershey Bears defense prospect Cameron Schilling will also be given a shot to make the team out of training camp. McPhee’s full comments are below.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
What can we say about John Erskine, the forgotten man?
Sometimes bad seasons happen to good people. There, you have learned the meaning of life from hockey. Erskine took a step backwards in terms of development and role on the team, but we are rooting for him, because the Caps just wouldn’t be the same without that gap-toothed grin.
Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
After two noisy days without a game, the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins finally got into it again. After the feisty mess that was Game Three, the Capitals had something prove for the hometown crowd– and they had to do it without Nick Backstrom.
Brooks Laich set up Marcus Johansson for an odd-man rush to score in the first ninety seconds of the game. With Dennis Wideman overcommitted on offense, Rich Peverley had an easy time tying it up with an odd-man rush. Alex Semin beat Thomas with a surgical strike on a power play late in the second to give the Caps the lead. Caps beat Bruins 2-1.
Photo: Chris Gordon. Guy on TweetDeck: Adam Vingan
The Washington Capitals had only a 38% win percentage on the road this season, so getting the W Thursday night is crucial; they just can’t depend on victory away from Verizon Center. But Monday’s home loss to the Bruins was an ugly affair, and the once well composed team fell to shambles. To win Game Four, the Caps are gonna have to dig deep.
I have compiled a series of modest steps the Capitals should take to make it happen. And then we threw in the secret weapon. (Okay, we’ll tell you: more posters.)
Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz
The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed 16 shots to do it.
Hometown boy Mathieu Perreault ripped a wrist-shot high on Carey Price’s far side to score in the first five minutes. Marcus Johansson had to fence with Andrei Kostitsyn, but he got a shot off to make it 2-0. Alex Ovechkin’s puck slipped through a few legs during a supersized power play. Caps beat Habs 3-0.
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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.
Craig Anderson watches one go by. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)
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.
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.
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.
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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