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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The Return of Scoar Moar Goals: Caps beat Panthers 5-0

Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Early Saturday morning, some Caps fans sacrificed toy animals in hopes of courting the hockey gods’ favor. That night, the Washington Capitals put a five spot up on the Florida Panthers and generally looked like a darn good hockey club.

John Carlson shot a one-timer to Theodore’s far side that was tipped in by ample bottom of Troy Brouwer, the same gentleman who caught a monster saucer pass from Braden Holtby before unleashing a perfect slapshot on Florida’s Jose Theodore. Joel Ward capped off an offensive-zone takeaway with a snazzy goal from the slot. The Caps cracked the four-goal plateau for the first time thanks to a nifty one-timer by Ovechkin right after the faceoff. Mathieu Perreault earned his first of the year halfway through the third, chasing Jose Theodore from net in the process.

Hey, look at that. No goals against. Hmm.

Caps beat Panthers 5-0.

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Mathieu Perreault

Photo credit: La Presse

During last night’s home opener the Washington Capitals struggled in their second straight game, falling meekly to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-2. After somewhat high expectations entering the season, the Caps have now been outscored 10-5 by the opposition and faltered in many aspects of the game.

New Capitals head coach Adam Oates has responded by benching several players, most notably first line winger Marcus Johansson. The former first round pick saw only 50 seconds of ice time in the third period. Also in Oates’ dog house is 25-year-old center Mathieu Perreault.

Through the first two games of the season, Perreault, coming off a career-best year during which he tallied 16 goals and 30 points, has seen 3:52 of ice time against the Lightning and 4:58 against the Jets. After last night’s game the diminutive fourth-line forward, frustrated about his limited role, opened up to Marc Antoine Godin of the French-language website La Presse.

“Whomever the coach is, every year it is the same story, and the GM doesn’t seem willing to change anything,” Perreault told Godin as translated by friend-of-the-blog Lindsey Novak. “Trade me if I am not part of your plans.”

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Beagle’s secret negotiation weapon: big sad eyes.

The Capitals had three restricted free agents eligible for arbitration this year — Mike Green, Mathieu Perreault, and new fan favorite Jay Beagle. The team extended qualifying offers to all three players earlier during the offseason, and Thursday the club announced that they had signed two out of the three.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Mathieu Perreault

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

This year, Mathieu Perreault did a good deal to shake off the labels of streakiness and inconsistency that have plagued him, scoring at a better clip and sticking with the team all year long. Now, all he needs is a six-inch growth spurt to shut up critics altogether. We think he’s got it in him.

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Cale Chimera Practiced with the Caps Again

Photo credit: David S.

At this moment, the tensest of the Capitals’ season, the team still knows how to have fun. Going by these pictures from David and Deanna, Jason Chimera’s son Cale practiced with the team again on Wednesday and it was all smiles. We saw the feisty little dude on the ice back in January, and here he is again– doing conditioning with Mathieu Perreault, besting Brooks Laich in a smile contest, and giving pointers to his dad on how to score his 21st of the season.

We already know how grumpy attitudes and dourness can affect this team’s play, so this is an encouraging sign for tonight’s big game with the Panthers. Or maybe this is confirmation that the Caps have completely depleted the Hershey roster and are desperate for new blood. Eh, let’s go with the first one. Many more pics behind the jump.

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Neuvy smirks after taking a Rene Bourque slapshot off the mask. (Via @WashCapsRock)

The Washington Capitals’ season is still on shaky ground. Buffalo’s loss to Pittsburgh on Friday kept their hopes alive, but Saturday’s game versus the Montreal Canadiens held huge determinative power. Perfect time for a Comebackstrom.

After having his initial shot blocked, Alex Semin found a wide-open Mathieu Perreault in the slot, for a one-timer. 1-0 Caps. Unguarded in front of the net, Matt Hendricks hit Jay Beagle with a cross-crease pass to put the good guys up 2. Erik Cole then scored a momentum-killing goal with one minute left to go in the first.

In the second period, the Canadiens dominated. Tomas Plekanec tied it up when he went around a slow-skating Roman Hamrlik and scored on the backhand.

After multiple scoring chances for both teams in the third period, the game went to Overtime. Then the shootout. Thanks to goals by Matt Hendricks and Alex Semin, Caps win 3-2.

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The Capitals held practice after taking their 2011-12 team picture on Monday. Practice wasn’t too serious though, and  Matt Hendricks thought it was the right time  to teach Mathieu Perreault the finer points of fighting. Notice how he manhandles Perry and Carlson and uses the a headbutt to finish them off.

Here’s hoping Perry never decides to drop the gloves in an actual NHL game.

Also see: John Carlson/Jay Beagle Mock Fight

S/T to @phaceoffhockey for the video and for posting it!

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This is a legal hit in Canada.

Heading into tonight’s game, there was no doubt that the Jets’ season was on the line. With a loss, they would fall six points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot — all but essentially eliminating them from the playoff race. “These are games that define your team,” Evander Kane told The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “And we’re going to see what we’re made of.” Sure are.

Predictably, the Jets came out fired-up and scored first. Andrew Ladd tallied his 24th goal of the season on literally a magical backhander. 22 seconds later, the Capitals responded, as Marcus Johansson perfectly placed a slap-pass onto Brooks Laich’s blade and watched him tip it in past a helpless Ondrej Pavelec.

Late in the second period, the Jets regained the lead as Nik Antropov out-worked Ovechkin to the front of the net to flip one past Vokoun. Mathieu “I’m teeny tiny like a leprechaun” Perrault managed to tie the game again on a third period power play. Unfortunately, Dustin Byfuglien and his big rear were too much to handle. Jets beat Caps, 3-2.

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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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