On March 25, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Patrick McDermott
We’re in the thick of it now. Tuesday’s slew of NHL hockey was bursting with importance, no game more than the Washington Capitals hosting the Los Angeles Kings for the first time since 2011. The dominant Kings, in an outburst of charity, gave the Caps a loser point last week, but weren’t so keen to be so kind this time. After spotting the Caps a pair of goals, the Kings carved up the Caps in the third period, but then Kuzya did a Big Thing to force OT and steal another point from the league’s best team.
Alex Ovechkin led the way with a pair of power play goals. The Kings struck back with a pretty special goal by Mike Richards, who reached around Jack Hillen to find the net. The Caps got swamped in the second period but managed to restore a two-goal lead on Dustin Penner’s first goal as a Cap.
The third period was all LA. DJ King’s brother Dwight drew LA within one early, then Marian Gaborik tied it up with around 11 minutes left. Dustin Brown eked out a lead for the visitors just four minutes later. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first NHL goal in the game’s final minute– tying the game with a fantastic backhand swat while shorthanded.
The Caps survived a power play in overtime and headed to the shootout.
On March 21, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Mark J. Terrill
Thursday night was the centerpiece of the Washington Capitals’ three-game trek through California: a crucial clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are the best team in the league (imho) and my pick, again, to win the Cup. The Caps would need to play above their heads and get a little lucky to best the best. They didn’t and they weren’t, so they didn’t. But they did pilfer a huge standings point, and that could mean a lot on at the end of the regular season.
The Kings struck first, with Anze Kopitar stuffing a puck dealt by Gaborik uncannily behind Halak’s pads. The scoring stifled after that until Evgeny Kuznetsov served up Joel Ward in the slot, who connected on his second stab. That took us into overtime, which was exciting as whoa, but yielded no decision.
On January 10, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Chris Carlson
Washington Capitals at Los Angeles Kings. Here’s Jonathan Coulton’s recap of the Caps road trip in California:
Marcus Johansson scored the night’s first goal, a 2-on-1 set up by Mike Knuble. Kyle Clifford got one past Tomas Vokoun on a rebound to tie it up. Anze Kopitar added to that late in the first period after Brooks Laich was pilfered. Jack freaking Johnson converted a 3-on-1 and then did the freaking Tebow move as if the world didn’t already suck. Then Stoll scored and our eyes started glazing over. Something else happened, but our eyelids were heavy. Johansson looked bored somehow scoring his second of the night. Kings beat Caps 5-2.
“Los Angeles is just New York lying down.” – Quentin Crisp
The Puck Drop: As hockey analysts go, it’s a fair bet the late Naked Civil Servant numbers among the more improbable. Yet we can’t find a better clear-eyed summation of the 2012 Los Angeles Kings than Mr. Crisp’s tart bon mot. Where the New York Rangers are a team that is on its toes, the L.A. Kings are lazing in a recumbant slough with nary the will to move. (“Someone get me a bucket!”)
Their last game before Monday’s dance with the Caps should illustrate the point. A sorry 31 shots on goal, with eight power plays (one 5-on-3) and not a single puck finds the twine? Against the Blue Jackets? At least in Versailles the ruined monarchy mustered the spirit to play a rousing set or two of tennis, and look what happened to them. Awkward!
Just over a minute into the contest, Alex Ovechkin ripped the Capitals only tally past Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The goal came the moment I was settling in with my nachos at Verizon Center. Coincidence? I think not. However, Anze Kopitar would have something to say about that in the second, flipping the puck over a seated Semyon Varlamov to knot the game at one. Then with 16:24 left in the third, Andrei Loktionov gave L.A. a 2-1 lead as the biscuit once again got past an out of position Varlamov. It would only get worse for the Capitals as Michal Handzus and Jarret Stoll pushed the lead to three. By the end of the game, Verizon Center was half empty. Kings beats Caps, 4-1.
The Russian Machine doesn’t have much to say about the Capitals 2-1 loss the Los Angeles Kings today. It was crap. In fact, we felt this photo of Mike Green pretty much summed it up.
The Caps once again, came out in the first period with absolutely no push. To that effect, they’ve been out scored 6-0 in their past three first periods and out-shot 35-11. (Thanks Capitals Insider)
We want to take the easy road and say “Man, with Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina gone, this team is in absolute disarray. They’ve lost three straight games.” But you’ve got to look deeper than that. If you go by that logic, then the Hershey Bears are 10-1 in their last 11 because they brought Chris Bourque back . The problem is the secondary scoring for this team has been absolutely nonexistent lately and the team has not been playing a full 60 minutes at their level. The lack of intensity from anyone other than the Young Guns is troubling. And honestly, Jason Chimera seems to still be trying to find himself in Bruce Boudreau’s system.
The Capitals look like they’re a step slow. They’re losing battles. And with this being one of the NHL’s most skilled teams, we figure this is a tall-tale sign of either a team losing its focus or is in general tired. Someone needs to start banging into some bodies and create some space for others.
We hope with two home games on the slate this week, the Caps will bear down and play better in front of their own fans. And The Russian Machine Will Even Offer A Bold Prediction: We will be excited to see who will be named Captain in the coming days (Alex Ovechkin For Kapitan!!!) and receive the instant gratification of refocusing the team after soundly defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday Night. Okay guys, make it happen!