Vokes and the boys celebrate the shutout. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
The Washington Capitals lost two straight games in California before coming back home to lick their wounds and face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins, however, were not available for hockey. The team that showed up was some shell-shocked, injury-riddled assemblage of yinzers in PGH uniforms. Not that the Capitals were much better.
Jason Chimera stepped up for the national broadcast, scoring on a breakaway set up by Jeff Halpern’s lovely set pass and some poor decisions by Paul Martin and Evgeny Malkin. And then… nothing. That’s all she wrote. Caps beat Penguins 1-0.
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.
On January 3, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Ovi celebrates an early powerplay goal. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
The Washington Capitals entered the new year with three wins in their rear-view and a convalesced Mike Green. Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames stopped in D.C. at the worst time.
Alex Ovechkin scored on the first shot of the night, a power play rocket one just 71 seconds in. Troy Brouwer crashed the net for number two, but Curtis Glencross got one back by snatching a behind-the-goal pass from Iginla. Nick Backstrom set up Dennis Wideman for the Caps’ third goal. Caps beat Flames 3-1.
I score? I really score? (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Predators, the Caps had been inefficient offensively, managing to score only one goal in each of their last three games. Would being confronted with two of the best defensemen in the league — Shea Weber and Ryan Suter — and a team that has played in 10-straight one goal games (7-3-0) somehow help their cause? Also, would an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring one of their team leaders, give the Caps a lift?
You bet your ass it did.
After the Capitals started the game off with four dominant shifts in the Predators zone, Alex Ovechkin — beautifully set-up by Karl Alzner — scored on a breakaway at 7:47 of the first. Later in the period, Nicklas Backstrom wrapped home goal number two of the night, his twelfth of the year. After a scoreless second period, Sergei Kostitsyn ruined Neuvy’s shutout bid with a twisted wrister from just outside the slot. Then Alex Semin decided he felt like scoring. Troy Brouwer, too! Caps beat Preds 4-1.
George McPhee and Mike Knuble pose with the silver stick. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
With the drop of a six-ounce disc of vulcanized rubber, 39-year-old right wing Mike Knuble became the 269th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 career games. While only a small percentage of players ever reach that milestone, an even tinier amount do it at age 39. Consider, Knuble is the second oldest player to ever reach 1,000 games, trailing only ex-Capital defenseman Grant Ledyard (who was 40).
Kanoobs, a veteran of 16 career NHL seasons, won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Detroit during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons – his first two years in the league. However, it would take him four more years to finally have a breakout year and establish himself. In 2002-03, after Sergei Samsonov suffered a wrist injury, Knuble was asked to fill the void on the first line alongside Joe Thornton and Glen Murray with Boston. The gritty, two-way forward responded by finishing the year with 30 goals and 59 points. Knuble’s never looked back since.
Entering this season, Mike has recorded eight straight 20-goal seasons. Even more remarkable: Knuble’s scored 221 of his 271 career goals after his 30th birthday. That’s more goals than Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky racketed up during the same playing age. This stat speaks volumes about Knuble’s relentless work-ethic, high hockey IQ, and professionalism. “You spend the first four or five years of your career trying to lock up a spot in the league and try to prove to everybody that you can play,” Knuble explained after Capitals practice Monday. “That’s enough of a battle. Once you get over that hump and you’ve proved you can play, then it’s a question of just being able to play that long and staying healthy.”
Naturally, the Capitals organization went all out to celebrate the assistant captain’s achievement tonight.
On December 17, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Check out Brooksy’s face. (Photo credit: Michael Martin)
The Washington Capitals headed to the mile-high city to meet the Colorado Avalanche with hopes of a perfect road trip. NOPE.
Cody McLeod chipped the puck from the blue line; Neuvy didn’t even see it. Alex Semin scored his first goal since November 23 with a really smart wrister. Erik Johnson snapped his own goal drought just a minute later. That was the GWG. Avs beat Caps 2-1.
On December 13, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Greg Fiume
One morning during high school, I dressed up like the Devil for Halloween and then got roughed up by a tough guy. I remember cowering on the floor of the hallway, dressed up like an idiot. With our site all decked out in Jaromir Jagr flamebait, I feel the same way.
The Philadelphia Flyers taught the Washington Capitals humility and shame in a 5-1 mauling. All that bravado and confidence from two wins in a row? Evaporated. Flyers beat Caps 5-1.
On December 5, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
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.