Eric Fehr En Fuego: Caps beat Bolts 4-3

Scott Audette

Photo credit: Scott Audette

Happy Valentine’s Day, hockey lovers! I hate this stupid day, but I found a good way to pass the time. The Washington Capitals served the Tampa Bay Lightning to some offense-go-boom and peppered it with all the careless defense that makes Caps hockey both fun and infuriating.

Troy Brouwer executed a lovely passing sequence on the game’s opening power play, but Martin St. Louis evened the score with a series of swats at Holtby’s pads. Eric Fehr scored his second goal in as many games by going straight to the net, and then made it three with a rocket from outside in the third period. Jay Beagle reintroduced himself with the dirtiest goal ever scored by a half-human/half-hound. Teddy Purcell got one back with a zero-angle shot that probably went off a Caps skater’s boot, and Nate Thompson made it darn close with a breakaway that Holtby misread. The Caps survived a late-minute panic and earned the win.

Caps beat Lightning 4-3.

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Aaaand We’re Back: Bolts beat Caps 6-3

Photo credit Scott Audette

Photo credit: Scott Audette

Welcome back, everybody! After 250+ days, we’ve finally got new Capitals hockey to watch and kinda enjoy. I say kinda because these Capitals, whom those not dissuaded by cliché might call the new-look Caps, didn’t have their act together on Saturday. Opening the season in Tampa, the Capitals had troubles with even-strength offense and all kinds of special-teams stuff.

Eric Brewer scored the first anti-Caps goal of the year with an outside shot that caught Holtby screened by his own defenders. Joel Ward tied it up with a first-period powerplay goal assisted by Tom “Iron Groin” Poti. That tie was shortlived, as Vincent Lecavalier exploited a defensive breakdown by Holtby & co. to score an easy one.

Joel Ward recorded a second goal to tie the game early in the second period, but Martin St. Louis restored the Tampa lead with a powerplay sweep-in a few minutes later. Wojtek Wolski ingratiated himself to Caps fans with a crucial four-on-four goal late in the second, knocking a rebound past Anders Lindbäck.

Martin St. Louis got his second of the night, a heartbreaking  shot from outside during a third-period 5 on 3. Cory Conacher scored the first goal of his career, also the night’s proverbial dagger, on a 3-on-1 breakaway. Ryan Malone scored on the powerplay to make it painfully obvious that the Caps were gonna lose.

Bolts beat Caps 6-3.

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OV Time, Caps beat Bolts 3-2 (OT)

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

This final game of the homestand, a division face-off between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning held the highest of stakes. A win would keep the Capitals competitive in the playoff race. A loss would make things bleak. How did it go down?

Well, Keith Aucoin scored the game’s first goal, a very lucky deflection off Karl Alzner’s shot. Ryan Malone evened it up with a power-play skate deflection. John Carlson delivered the own-goal for Purcell to give Tampa a lead going into the third.

With less than five minutes to go, Marcus Johansson nabbed a bad clear and beat the rookie goaltender. Tie game. Into overtime, which was OV time. Caps beat Bolts 3-2.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Five Minutes To Midnight

Doug Johnson writes for Puck Buddys. And because we have the microfilm in a safety deposit box somewhere, he writes for us as well. Follow @PuckBuddys or we start executing hostages.

The Pregame: Hey now; any you guys see that show on the teevees, “Doomsday Peppers” or something? You know, the one where seemingly pleasant enough, if overwhelmingly white people happily share their crackpot theories of why the world will end any minute now and how they’ll survive by stocking their compounds with bullets and pig dung? Good times.

Meanwhile we in America’s Hockey’s Capital are not so much having da good times of late. I’m thinking closer to the pig dung. Or better – remember those snobby nuclear scientists with their finger-waggling about nuclear Armageddon, bringing us down during the happy heydays of Ronald Reagan and “Family Ties” with their elitist Doomsday Clock? (Kiddies: go look it up while we drink our Metamucil.)

Yeah. Sitting here, looking at Thursday’s game and the remainder of the season, it feels like five minutes to midnight…with the clock ticking. And here’s us, without a stockpile.

Want more feel good snuggles?  Keep reading.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: S’all Downhill From Here

Sorry, Puck Buddys fans. The dudes skipped town last night and didn’t even leave a phone number. They could be in Marrakesh raising an army horde of bonsai kittens or playing Stratego with Sherpas in Tibet. We. Just. Do. Not. Know.

So yeah, the Capitals won that bout with the Penguins, but was that not one of the weirdest meetings between the two you’ve ever seen? Neither team seemed too interested in the whole “shooting” mechanic of hockey, and Matt Cooke didn’t even curl his evil mustache or malevolently pet his shaved cat once. With that humble 1-0 win, the first half of the Capitals’ season ended. It was a mess of a type we have not seen since Glen Hanlon’s reign.

But there are 41 pristine games ahead of us, starting with… [checks schedule] aw dammit! Tampa Bay Lightning woeugfbwieugwe

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Guy Boucher plots to kill 007 (Photo credit: Scott Cunningham/Getty Image)

Craig Brownstein of PuckBuddys writes for Russian Machine. You shall follow them on Twitter.

Banging out preview for Monday night’s game against the Bolts required us to go through some repressed playoff memories. Bear with us for some much needed catharsis; we’re still fragile.

Late last April, we embarked on a grand tour of European capitals just as Game 5 with the filthy Rangers was wrapping up. We were glued to the Blackberry as our readied for take off. Just before wheels up, word came through that the Caps bested the Rags, 3-1. We began our adventure by causing quite the raucous in the first class cabin with fanboy squeals, high-fives, and RED streaks of Russian curses– guaranteeing a date with aviation authorities upon landing across the Atlantic.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The hard part is over. Mathieu Perreault led the Capitals with five points in four preseason games and snatched the final roster spot from favorites Cody Eakin and Mattias Sjogren.

Last season he showed the ability to drive puck possession, finishing with the fourth best Corsi relative to the competition on the team, behind only Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin.

Consistency, however, was a bigger issue. He earned all fourteen of his points in just nine of his 35 games played and wasn’t able to claim a center spot that was up for grabs.

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Balls. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

It’s been awhile since you’ve added a tally to your wins list, eh?

The Washington Capitals hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning to another night of hockey in the old Verizon Center barn. And it pretty much went just like the first one.

During a late first-period powerplay, Vincent Lecavalier deflated the crowd with a high dart to the back of the net. Brooks Laich crashed the net to tie it up, but Martin St. Louis’s deflection off Mike Green’s skate gave Tampa a 2-1 lead. With Neuvirth pulled, the Capitals fought the Battle of Roloson’s Crease to victory– with Captain Alex Ovechkin pitching in the puck from zero distance. In the biggest overtime of the season, the Caps started strong. But Teddy Purcell fed Vinny Lecavalier a puck right in front of Michal Neuvirth. Game over. Bolts beat Caps 3-2 (OT), but here’s the real kick in the teeth:

Bolts lead the series 2-0.

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The Ballad of Martin St. Louis

Written and recorded between the 2nd and 3rd periods.

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Neuvirth lets in the game's only goal

The game’s only goal. Whatever. (Photo credit: Alan Diaz)

The Capitals will face the Rangers -- who won 5-2 Saturday -- in the first round of the playoffs. (Photo credit: Jonathan Klein)

The Capitals will face the Rangers -- who won 5-2 Saturday -- in the first round of the playoffs. (Photo credit: Jonathan Klein)

The game that impacted the Capitals the most Saturday night didn’t involve Washington at all. In fact, it took place 13 hours away from them in Raleigh, North Carolina.

With the New York Rangers beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday afternoon, the Carolina Hurricanes had to get the victory Saturday night to tie New York at 93 standings points. By virtue of holding the tie-breaker Carolina would pick-up the eighth and final playoff spot, getting themselves a date with the Caps.
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