Caps beat Ranger 2-1 (OT): Ribeiro Rules!

Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Ack. I’m all jammed up like a Phish live record over here. This series is not good for people, plants, or other living things. The corrupted bastardization of hockey the Rangers have foisted upon the Capitals is some perverse thing not spoken of in polite circles. Where’s all the end-to-end action? The shot totals in excess of 40? The goalies giving up goals like Galileo dropped the orange? The Rangers forced the Caps into a constipated brand of hockey that is actually making my back seize up as if I were eating pancakes. Everything is all tensed up, and it goes on way too long. We’re supposed to enjoy it, but it’s really just survival.

The Rangers grabbed a lead in the game’s first minute, putting the entire DMV area’s bowels on red alert, but playoff hero Joel Ward tied it up in the second. The Caps leaned in during the third period, but we headed to overtime anyway– where Mike Ribeiro became a Capitals legend.

Caps beat Rangers 2-1 (Overtime). Caps lead the series 3-2. Sunday is an elimination game for New York.

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Martin Erat is a skilled guy. He’s registered 49 points or more in the last eight seasons and when the Capitals acquired him in a trade for Filip Forsberg a few weeks ago, he was Nashville’s leading point-getter. Consistently putting up that many points can be a sign of good hands, which is exactly what Erat showed off on Thursday, assisting on the Capitals’ only goal in the team’s 3-1 loss to Ottawa.

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Photo Credit: Nick Wass

The Washington Capitals think they have a shot at the Stanley Cup. This season began with a pitiful start under new head coach Adam Oates, but the team is better now. They’re used to his system, they’re healthier, and they’re picking up pieces to help them in the short-term.

“We weren’t going to be sellers,” said George McPhee yesterday. “You never know once you get in. Let’s see what happens.”

“We have a good thing going here,” said Mike Ribeiro. “We know how good we can be.”

“I have complete confidence in the guys in this room,” said Troy Brouwer. “We have the ability in here to make a splash in the playoffs.”

“I want to play for the Stanley Cup,” said Martin Erat. “Washington is one of the places where you have a chance.”

On Thursday, the Caps moved into playoff spot for the first time this season.

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MikeRibeiro

Photo credit: Scott Levy

Mike Ribeiro is a hot topic surrounding the Washington Capitals lately — not just because he’s been the team’s best player. Instead, Ribs is looking for a five-year deal in a market where free-agent forwards get big money, even with the salary cap decreasing by $6 million next year (from $70.2 million to $64.4 million).

Ribeiro is 33-years-old and is on the last year of a five-year, $25 million dollar deal. His next contract will certainly be the last big one of his career, and he wants his family to have a good, stable home. We shouldn’t expect his production (11 goals, 35 points in 33 games this season) to stay this way as his enters the latter part of career. On the other hand, however, the Caps haven’t a quality second-line center in years.

Within the next few games, the Caps may figure out if they want to– or even are able to– re-sign Ribeiro for a price that’s reasonable. Ribeiro told me he would have discussions with the team about a new contract before the trade deadline on April 3. Presumably, if his demands are too high for Washington, they may trade him.

“If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen,” Ribeiro said of a possible extension in Washington. “We’ll talk, obviously, before trade deadline and see where they’re at, where I’m at. We’ll go from there.”

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Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

As the Washington Capitals returned home to face the New York Islanders, they were likely pondering the 6 points out of a total 8 they earned on their recent road trip. That pondering may have led to some absent-minded play in the first period, but the Caps recovered in the second to put forward one of their strongest possession games of the season. But possession was exactly what Mike Green didn’t have when his goof-up allowed the GWG for John Tavares.

Islanders beat Caps 3-2.

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[Ed note: Hockey Hemingway Jason Rogers is back for you to love and adore. Talk to him via the Tweetaz at @HeyJayJRogers. Any and all credit goes to the PuckBuddys.]

15 minutes of ice time

15 minutes of ice time

Andy Warhol Says*: Everywhere you look, you see Pittsburgh fans. In Andy’s view, “…it’s all so beautiful.” Of course, he was hopped up on horse tranqs.

But this is Pittsburgh. And at the first insinuation of bandwagon chasing, they all claim family ties to the city. First of all, you cannot all be from there. It is just not a big enough city for every Yuengling-guzzling bar rat to crawl back to. And even if they did all somehow come from Pittsburgh, you know why they’re here now? Because they got the hell out of Pittsburgh as soon as they could. There’s even a website devoted to the phenomenon. And so with the sacred camaraderie of refugees from a land not worth returning to, the Penguins wander about the NHL landscape. On Tuesday the Capitals take the fight to them, and you can bet they’ve had their road Whites mustard-proofed.

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Har har. Bruins fan taunts Ribs. (Photo credit: Emily C.)

The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have developed an intense rivalry since their back-and-forth seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs last year. From the Olympic-quality dives from Brad Marchand to Nicky Backstrom’s cross-check to the face, it’s apparent these teams hate each other.

That’s why on Saturday, as they played each other for the second time in 16 days, all hell broke loose. First, Mike Ribeiro fought Brad Marchand, and Matt Hendricks laid down the law with Nathan Horton. Then, in the third period, as Shawn Thornton tried to get Hendricks to drop the gloves, Hendy bloodied his fists in a fight with Adam McQuaid.

Let’s recap all the crazy.

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The Bold and the Bloody: Bruins beat Caps 4-1

Brian Babineau

Photo credit: Brian Babineau

The Boston Bruins are the best team in the East. I think they’re the East’s best chance at winning the Cup this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for them or that I didn’t want the Washington Capitals to crush them on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen though. The Caps struggled on defense, and their offense needed help to get the puck behind Anton Khudobin. The game got a little wild in the second and third periods, which is just how the Bruins like it.

Bruins beat Caps 4-1.

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Ovi’s smiles are getting progressively weirder as the night goes on. (Photo credit: @ovi8)

With Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th point and the Capitals escaping Raleigh with a win over division-leading Carolina, the players were in a festive mood. That might explain why half the team started tweeting after the game, shooting congratulations to Ovi (#respect), describing the victory with a three-letter word, and posting… well… other weird things.

Take a look for yourself.

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The Washington Capitals at the Halfway Mark

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I have no idea who the Washington Capitals are. We are exactly halfway into the 2013 season, and the team seems to change identities on pace with the weather. After one of the slowest starts in memory, the Caps put forth some pretty stirring wins in late February. But now in March, the team seems poised to miss the postseason for the first time since 2007– unless they can turn things around.

This article takes stock of the Capitals’ first half and asks what the back half could look like. Plus like 7 megs of Game of Thrones GIFs.

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