The Caps’ play as of late has raised some eyebrows. As they head into the playoffs, one area of concern is their possession numbers. Tonight, the Caps posted a very solid 60 percent of the shot attempts. Granted, they played the Devils, whose 46.1 shot attempt percentage ranks second-to-last in the NHL.
On March 25, 2016, In Game Recap, By Hana Imiolczyk
Friday night is the best night of the week, unless you’re watching the Capitals play the Devils. New Jersey, who is six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, spent the entire game playing some dump-and-chase, low event hockey. They did this hoping that by slowing the pace down, they could catch the NHL’s best team snoozing and eek out a much-needed win.
It did not work. The Caps are just too darn good.
After 60 minutes of a 0-0 tie, John Carlson, in his first game since February 24, blasted a one-timer past Scott Wedgewood 2:17 into overtime. Like it was fate, the goal came on the six year anniversary of Carlson’s first NHL goal.
On February 20, 2016, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
Photo: Nass Wass
The day got off to a glorious start for the Washington Capitals with Jay Beagle making everyone feel warm and fuzzy and free of scar tissue. The day only got better as the sun pierced the clouds and temperatures reached 66 degrees.
Things got dreary, however, when the Caps took to the ice against the New Jersey Devils. The Devs had a flurry of chances early, outshooting the Washington 11-6, and testing Braden Holtby until he cracked. After Braden went down early on a play in front, Travis Zajac capitalized on some clueless and static defense in the crease by Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, TJ Oshie, and Nicklas Backstrom to put the Devils on the board first. But less than two minutes later, Washington’s pitching machine on cocaine, Alex Ovechkin, was able to even the score with a laser-like wrist shot from the near circle after Dmitry Orlov found him alone in front. The Devils, though, soon retook the lead, with Holtby failing to cover the near post on a sharp angle shot from Kyle Palmieri.
For the first 10 minutes of the second period, things were much the same as Washington looked listless against a mediocre team that played the night before. Things changed, however, when Brooks Laich and Michael Latta cycled the puck before Latta severed around two Devils defenders to find Evengy Kuznetsov wide open for the game-tying tally. Washington dominated play after the goal, keeping the Devils to just four shots in period while nearly scoring a few go-ahead goals.
In the third, Reid Boucher scored for the Devils. The Capitals, though, would soon tie the game for the third time as TJ Oshie played pinball to make it 3-3.
THEN BROOKS ORPIK SCORED A GOAL. Caps beat Devils 4-3.
On February 20, 2016, In Game Recap, By Margaret Stuart
Photo: Chris Gordon
The more Metro, the merrier. After defeating the Islanders in OT, the Caps are playing yet another division rival on Saturday. This time it’s the Devils, who are an incredibly unexciting team and one the Caps really should take two points from.
Fun fact: the Caps have slayed (slain? slew?) their division rivals on the way to the top. Yup, they’ve posted a 15-1-4 record against other Metro teams. The race for the division title is hardly close, but keep those points coming like they’re unlimited popcorn at a Star Trek marathon.
On February 6, 2016, In Pregame, By Margaret Stuart
Photo: Amanda Bowen
The rumors are true: Thursday night, the Caps finally won a game. YAY. Ovi sealed the deal in a triumphant 3-2 victory over the Isles, who really dislike Tom Wilson.
Incidentally, Saturday’s contest is against another Metro rival. The Caps, who are currently the NHL’s best team, are taking on the Devils, who are currently the NHL’s thirteenth-best team. Few things are more demoralizing than losing to the Maple Leafs in a shootout, but such was the Devils’ fate Tuesday night.
The teams last faced one another during the Caps’ home opener, which the Caps won 5-3. A lot has happened since then. The Caps have risen to become Stanley Cup contenders, while the Devils are as meh as the second season of True Detective.
On October 10, 2015, In Pregame, By Patrick Holden
The wait is over. Real, meaningful hockey is here again. Puck drop is at 7 PM on CSN. If you’re going to the game, be loud and be proud. If you’re watching at home, call up some friends, order some ‘Za, and get ready to once again hear the soothing voices of Joe. B and Locker bring you a Caps game that matters.
Seriously, tonight is going to be so great that not even the use of the skycam can ruin it.
On March 26, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The Capitals hadn’t played a game since the late 80s (okay, Saturday), so they looked rested and dialed-in for most of Thursday’s home game against Adam Oates and the New Jersey Devils. Then the third period happened, wherein the Capitals played a prevent defense, which is about as effective as the rhythm method is at birth control.
Inconceivably, Karl Alzner scored first, wandering deep in the offensive zone, where Oates did think him naughty for being there. Eric Fehr doubled down in the second period because he’s terrific, but then Travis “Pat” Zajac cashed in on one of the Caps’ many power-play turnovers. The Caps surrendered the possession game in the third period and relied way too much on Braden Holtby. Steve Bernier tied it up in the final thirty seconds to force overtime, but who cares– Matt Niskanen fired the niscannon to get the OTGWG. (Or maybe Kuznetsov tipped it? Doesn’t matter. CAPS WIN!)
The Devils, lacking a head coach but sporting Adam Oates behind the bench, will come to town tonight. So a Caps team looking to solidify their playoff position really ought to grab these two points. Remember earlier this season when Ovi scored an amazing goal against the Devils and then gave his stick to my nephew? That was cool.
The action starts at 7 PM on CSN. The Caps only have two more 7 PM starts after tonight.
Every season it’s the same. It begins, invariably, with a euphoric burst of optimism that somehow, this year, this season, everything is going to work out. The team will be saved and we’ll all rejoice. Their journey will have come to an end, and the world will be a better place.
Sure, there will be lots of scrapes along the way. While the team that has sustained us for multiple seasons now will lose several beloved but under-performing members, the core players will remain. We’ll have some feels about saying goodbye to a few, but we’ll also pick up a few new members along the way. And, at least at the start, they’ll have a lot of promise.
But one thing never changes. Disaster, often from an unexpected source, will find a way to enter the narrative– you can be sure of that. And when it does, it will look and feel awful…perhaps even fatal.
Yet everyone will dig deep, deeper perhaps than they thought they could, and we’ll survive to fight again. We may not have found the promised land yet, but there’s always next season. What’s important is moving forward. Pressing on. It’s essential. It feels, in fact, like life or death.
Of course, I’m talking about The Walking Dead. What did you think I was going on about?