Alex Ovechkin celebrates with Jose Theodore after the Capitals beat Columbus 3-2.

We’ve dwindled down to the final five games of the season, but despite the doldrums, the Capitals showed up to play tonight. Even if most of the viewing audience was busied with the NCAA basketball tournament, this rare meeting of the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets was solid hockey. Columbus came out extremely hard, seemingly ignorant of the fact that the team was gutted at the trade deadline, their head coach has been fired, key players are hurt and the team is 12 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

The “Blazers” as Joe Beninatii constantly referred to them as, had odd man rushes all night long, but failed to convert almost every time because of solid goaltending from Jose Theodore or generally poor execution. Columbus’ wealth of penalties seemed to doom any chance for them to reach a crucial early lead. And despite the Capitals giving up a third period tally – which forced Bruce Boudreau to call a timeout and have an expletive-filled dress down of the team – the Blue Jackets could not force Overtime. Thus leading to the Capitals making history.

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taylor-price-varlamov-drawing

We here at RMNB are creative. Peter Hassett is an incredibly gifted musician (here’s one of my favorite songs), Fedor stays up and watches Caps Games live in Moscow at 3am even when he has school a few hours later, Neil is a master of the English language, Stevie K. has a weird fascination with numbers and I’m marginally unterrible at what I do. The point being we love, love, love creativity.

So naturally, when Taylor P. sent us an email with all of her beautiful Capital Player artwork attached, we had to put it up. Check out the rest of her work below the jump and make sure to let her know what you think in the comments. Here, we’ll start you off: “Wow, Taylor you’re awesome.”

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First period choke. Flames beat Caps 5-3.

In my foosball house rules, this goal doesn't count. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

In my foosball house rules, this goal doesn’t count. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Two things tend to bug the Caps: early games and Canadian teams. Up against both in today’s match with the Calgary Flames, the Washington Capitals dug themselves a hole in the first period and failed to climb out. The Flames scored four goals in the first period –a  dominating performance that the Caps have not seen in a long time. The home team woke up in the third period, but the distance was too great. In a rare regulation loss, the Caps lose to the Flames 5-3.

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I Love This Team! Caps Beat Pens 4-3 (SO).

Mike Knuble wins the game on a shootout goal. Caps Beat The Pens 4-3.

Mike Knuble all up in yo grill. Photos by Nick Wass/AP

Marc-Andre Fleury's dreams will be haunted by Mike Knuble tonight. Photos by Nick Wass.

Wow. Before we begin, I need a cup of apple juice and a good cry.

Okay.  Better now.

The debate prefacing tonight’s game between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was whether or not this was “just another game”, but that’s just silly. In hindsight we know that any time these two forces meet, something remarkable will happen.

Tonight we rode an emotional rollercoaster through 60 minutes of regulation hockey, another five of overtime, and four shootout rounds before the decision was made. We saw the best and worst of Capitals hockey tonight. But thanks to Old Man Mike Knuble and the Macedonian monster Jose Theodore, the Caps were victorious. Caps beat Pens 4-3 (OT).

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Ovie’s Back! Caps Beat Bolts 3-1!

Alex Ovechkin Scores on a Breakaway, Beats Antero Niittymaki

Alex Ovechkin's gonna eat yo face! (Photos by Mike Carlson)

Alex Ovechkin's gonna eat yo face! (Photos by Mike Carlson)

Some of the Caps’ best games this season have been against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and tonight was no exception. Marking Captain Alexander Ovechkin‘s return after suspension, tonight’s bout with the Bolts gave us hits, goals, fights, and — for once– a team that looked truly solid.

Goals from Tomas Fleischmann, the Russian Machine himself, and Alex Semin lifted the Caps above the Tampa Bay team, but the glory of the win must belong to the most excellent Jose Theodore. Stopping all but one of the 34 shots aimed at his net, Jose made tonight’s 3-1 victory possible.

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Florida Panthers lose to the Washington Capitals 7-3

Alex Semin Getting Some With Cory Stillman (Both Photos by: Eliot J. Schechter)

Above: Alex Semin Getting Nasty With Cory Stillman, Top: Tomas Vokoun Getting Some Love From The Florida Fans (Both Photos by: Eliot J. Schechter)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been more bored by a drubbing than tonight’s 7-3 Caps victory over the Florida Panthers. Maybe it was because Japers Rink’s FREE ALEX signs got more facetime than the Russian Machine did. Maybe it was because the hundreds of people who WERE in attendance at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, were practically comatose during the entire game. Or maybe it was because Florida’s team defense was so bad that every member of it could have been replaced by a lawn chair and no one would have noticed a difference.

Oh well! A win’s a win, right?

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Oops. Russian Machine made a boo boo. (AP Photo)

Oops. Russian Machine screw up big time. (AP Photo)

At around 2:00pm, after Alex Ovechkin was tossed and Chicago was starting the third period with a 3-0 lead, I got a call from RMNB lead writer Peter Hassett who’s currently spending his last day in California for a weekend wedding. He said and I quote:

“I thought the Tampa Bay Game was the disaster game of the season. I guess it’s this one now.”

I reminded him that there was still 1 full period of play left- which is a lot of time for the Capitals even without Ovechkin – and that Chicago blew a similar 3-0 lead to the Flyers the day before. Undeterred, Peter replied “Dude, It’s Over.”

So of course, the Capitals were victorious and won in Overtime over a stunned Chicago Blackhawks team, 4-3. SORRY PETER. We’re just going to warn you now, we’re not in the mood for happy bullets.

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Caps Shut Out Rangers 2-0! But Where’s Ovie?

(Awesome) Photo credit: Heather Mabb

Uh, right here? Photo credit: Heather Mabb

Sorry for the delays, everyone. Busy night.

The Capitals are now 40% through their longest home stint of the season, and it’s not gone too bad so far. In tonight’s game with the New York Rangers, Washington showed defensive rigor that’s been missing all year, but something was missing. Even though Eric Fehr and Eric Belanger’s goals lifted the Caps over the Rags, the “Is Party Now!” dynamics of Washington’s offense simply did not show up. At least Jose Theodore was perfect.

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Jose Theodore: #1 With A Bullet

Jose Theodore Makes A Save Against The New York Rangers

I touched briefly on why I thought the Caps goaltending could get them through a Cup run, and with Jose Theodore’s third shutout of the year I wanted to make his case why he should be the #1 goalie going into the playoffs.

My case is a simple one and is based on two points:

  1. Hockey is a skill sport, and once a player shows a particular skill it is his for the life of his career. Injuries and/or aging can dampen the skill, but the skill is still there.
  2. Jose Theodore has found a real life Hot Tub Time Machine.

Jose Theodore won the Hart and Vezina Trophy in 2001-02, was named to the 2nd NHL All Star team in that same year. He was an NHL All Star in 2002 and 2004 and won 10 in a row this year during the Caps 14 game win streak. Clearly, Jose has the skill to play goalie at a high level.

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Theodore and Caps Shut Out Rangers 2-0.

Even Rangers Fans heckle John Tortorella

Because we’re all getting laid tonight, our gamer is gonna be up very late. So while we’re gone, let us know what you thought about the Caps 2-0 victory. And oh yeah, Jose Theodore’s third shutout of the year. WOOOOO!! Special Thanks to BoycottSnyder for the photo.