Johansson Scores

A game-altering fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

A game-changing fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

#Winning (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)

Returning to the Bell Center for the first time since the ill-fated 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Washington Capitals got a little bit of revenge Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to nine games in the process.

The game got off to a positively wild start with two goals and a fight in the first 1:48 of play. After Tomas Plekanec was called for a hooking penalty the Caps headed to an early power play. With a  lot help from the end boards, Marcus Johansson put the Caps up 1-nil as the dump-in from Dennis Wideman bounced right in front to the waiting Swede. Just 26 seconds later, however, Travis Moen tied things up on another odd play behind the net. Washington netminder Braden Holtby attempted to rim the puck along the boards but instead passed it right to Moen in the corner who fired the biscuit into the wide open net. Just over 20 seconds later the action continued with Matt Bradley and Paul Mara dropping the gloves right off the face-off in a bout that ended in a draw. At 13:23, Brooks Laich put the Caps on top 2-1 after picking up the perfect outlet pass from Karl Alzner, who was on the ice for nine more scoring chances and just one against. Whew. Another calm night in Montreal, I see.

Andrei Kostitsyn continued the back-and-forth play 3:28 into the second period, firing a wicked wrist-shot pass Holtby’s catching glove. Washington put forth a fury of shots in the remainder of the frame, racking up 19 for the period. It would be to no avail, however, and the teams would head to the third knotted up.

Johansson would strike once again at 6:43 in the final period, putting home a perfect backhand pass from Alex Ovechkin to give the Caps the lead. Just over ten minutes later, Mike Knuble would seal the deal converting on a two-on-one with Marco Sturm after Sturm delivered a perfect pass to the veteran winger. Take that, Frenchies. Caps top Habs, 4-2.

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Coffee’s for Closers: Habs beat Caps 3-2 (SO)

Ovechkin Sign

Aww (Photo credit: our own Chris Gordon)

The quintessential 2010-2011 Washington Capitals game includes a worthless first period, so the opening frame of tonight’s date with the Montreal Canadiens was surprisingly invigorating. If only the rest of the game could have followed suit.

Mathieu Perreault capped off an extended shift in the offensive zone with a takeaway and five-hole goal on Carey Price. On the powerplay, Mike Knuble filed some paperwork in his office to give the Caps an early and pleasant 2-0 lead. In the second period, Brian Gionta launched a rocket on a 2-on-1 breakaway to put the Habs on the board. Then John Carlson’s failed drop pass led to another breakaway and another goal for Gionta. OT was exciting but scoreless, and we found our way to that old standby: the shootout.

Nick Backstrom led off, beating Carey Price but ringing iron. Brian Gionta, the bastard, scored top-shelf on Varlamov. Matt Hendricks pulled that same darn move again, but Price saw it coming. James Wisniewski’s attempt was covered by Varly. Alex Ovechkin, in a must-score situation, didn’t. Game over. Habs beat Caps 3-2 (SO).

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Varly Triumphs, Caps beat Habs 3-0

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

The Washington Capitals finally met their playoff pals, the Montreal Canadiens, for the first time since that awful, awful night. Recently de-Halak‘d, the Habs remain a formidable team and one that the Caps had no trouble getting amped up to face.

Hershey import Jay Beagle got on the big board first with a stunning no-look, behind-the-back, knick-knack, paddywack shot over Carey Price’s shoulder. Mike Green took a  freight train into a timing play to make it 2-0 off a Nicky Backstrom pass. The score was unchanged until Price abdicated his throne, which is like chumming the water to a shark like Alex Ovechkin. His empty netter finalized the score. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Andrew Gordon Answers Our Readers’ Questions: Part II

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In part two of our Q/A with Andrew Gordon (part one can be read here), Gordo discusses his favorite NHL players and teams as a kid, if he reads blogs or newspaper articles about himself and what he did on his day with the Calder Cup this year. Mixed in is also a question submitted from a 9 year old reader, Cody, who asks Gordo what he thinks it would take for him to make it to the NHL someday.

In conclusion, all of us here at RMNB hope that you have enjoyed Andrew’s insightful responses to your questions over the past two days and his blogging throughout the Calder Cup Finals. Please join us in wishing him good luck for the upcoming season and a successful training camp. With that said, let’s get started with our first question.

Bill C. asks, “Andrew, who was your favorite player as a kid growing up and why?”

Thanks for the question, Bill. As a kid growing up I had all kinds of guys I really looked up to. When I became old enough to really follow hockey and understand the game, it was the 1992-93 season and I was 8 years old. This may have been the year that hockey took over my life, as my favorite team (brace yourself people…and I apologize in advance) the Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup and Teemu Selanne scored 76 goals on his way to a record-setting rookie season. Seeing as my father grew up in Winnipeg, the Jets were the other team I followed closely. So Teemu became my instant favorite. My father and I actually went to see a game in Winnipeg that season where the Jets faced Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. Although I don’t remember all the details of the game (aside from Seleane getting two goals), I remember being amazed by the stadium and the fact that the guys on the ice were real live NHL players! In the same room as me! It was a day I hope I never forget.

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Tonight if you were like us, you sat in front of your TV, ate smoked salmon with a fork and laughed at Pittsburgh’s unlikely demise to the Habs. Sure, it totally sucked when the Capitals lost in the first round to this rag-tag group of “team players” from North of the Border. But after seeing Sid the Kid fail the ultimate test tonight (boarding penalty 10 seconds in which led to Habs first goal of the game, 0 points, -2), maybe – just maybe – this talk that Sidney Crosby is by far and away the best player in the game can die down a bit.

Really, SI?

Moving forward, please consider Alex Ovechkin’s Game 7 performance against the Canadiens in comparison: 10 shots, 1 assist and a clutch GTG that was uhhh questionably disallowed.

Sometimes another man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. And tonight that pain felt by Pens fans was the perfect tonic for this man’s broken heart.

Great Moments in Signage History

Tonight during Montreal’s huuuge 3-2 victory over the Penguins, Versus blessed us with this shot of the crowd after Montreal netted the go ahead goal.

Sidney Crosby is a Douche.
Ouch. En Francais, I think this means Crosby needs a shower.

With the Habs tying up the series 2-2 tonight, could a second upset be in the works? I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: Though I hate the Canadiens, they are clearly the better of two evils here. Let’s go Nads!

If you need a close-up of the sign, click below! Also, special thanks to James W. for the photos.

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Viktor Fedorov: “The Caps Didn’t Have a Good Centerman”

Sergei Fedorov's Dad Victor, sits with Alex Ovechkin at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Viktor Fedorov, a honoured Coach of Russia and the father of Future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov, recently sat down with Russian Sports Radio and explained his reasons for why he thought the Capitals failed in the first round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens. Lucky for us, Sports.ru transcribed the interview and our own Fedor Fedin translated it. Let us know what you think of his opinions in the comments below!

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Trust us, the Russian Machine feels your pain. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Trust us, the Russian Machine feels your pain. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT. Top by Nick Wass)

I was completely convinced that this year was going to be the year for the Washington Capitals. I thought they had the right mix of youthful, talented players and solid veteran leadership, I thought they had a defense just good enough to get them by and I thought that with unquestionably, two of the top ten best players in the world in Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, this offense could make magic happen in the postseason and persevere through any hardship. Plus, if the Capitals were still following the same trajectory that Pittsburgh had followed since the lockout in 2004-05, it was actually predetermined, this year was going to be our year.

But sadly, our dreams of drinking champagne and other adult beverages from Lord Stanley’s Cup did not materialize. And now we’re left with another summer full of what-if’s and a bunch of regular season memories that seem to elicit more bewilderment than joy, more anger than hope.

I’ve tried to wrap my head around this season for a few days now, and I’ve come to a few solid conclusions. Why did the Washington Capitals lose to the eight-seeded team in the first round of the playoffs, a team in which they finished 33 points ahead of in the standings, after looking nearly unbeatable for three quarters of the season? Let’s just say, sometimes in the end, it’s not how talented you are, but how much you evolve your game to your competition that truly matters.

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Point/Counterpoint: Mike Green Ditches the Media

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It’s the last day of school at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today, and there’s a little bit of summer drama in the air.  While his teammates were getting interviewed (and sometimes skewered)  during the end-of-season press conferences, Canada’s Best Defenseman Mike Green quietly left without speaking to the media.

Mike was held goalless in the losing playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens and was a crucial ingredient in both Habs goals in game 7.  What does his absence today mean?  Peter Hassett and Neil Greenberg take sides and battle-rap it out below.

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Game Diary: Caps-Habs Game 7: Well, that sucked

Real men keep diaries, and I am no exception. Taking one to Game 7 might seem a bit extreme to some of you (maybe not to Emily as you’ll soon see) but I knew it was going to be an emotional night and wanted to make sure I captured every detail.

I had reservations posting my entries from last night online, mostly because some say my relationship with my diary is unhealthy eccentric, but I was coerced promised RMNB an exclusive story of the Game 7 experience, so here it is:

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