New Jersey Devils Pregame: Happy Non-denominational Tidings

Craig is a Puck Buddy. This is his story. @PuckBuddys

Ohai Caps fans! Coinciding with Coach Hunter’s latest round of mind-boggling line changes, we’re changing up things today on the pregamer, too.  No, Doug hasn’t been sent down to Hershey with the other famous Caps redhead, Cody “Swoon” Eakin, but he’s taking a short break from cranking out his inimitable prose, obscure cultural references (he’s still working on Cy Twombly), and his proselytizing on behalf of the radical gay agenda.

Actually, he’s wrapping up the last of his community service obligations that resulted from his conviction in that 2011 World Juniors point-shaving scandal. And truth be told, he was also the one who bought all that liquor for those Russian kids. But luckily for all involved, including international aviation authorities, the team behaved responsibly on that flight home after their big win. In fact, we just heard from a few of our old pals on last year’s Russian team - and even they were appalled by Alec Baldwin’s airline antics last week.

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Devils beat Caps 3-2 (SO), And It Sucked

(Photo credit: Mitchell Layton from like 3 years ago)

Live from Verizon Center… it’s Saturday night! The Washington Capitals bested the New Jersey Devils in hostile territory on Friday, so they invited the conquered down to Chinatown for another round. Mike Green, injured in the first duel, did not dress, replaced by the Giraffe Jeff Schultz. Brooks Laich played defense, and Alex Semin returned to action, where he immediately took an offensive zone penalty.

Troy Brouwer stole the puck and beat Hedberg for the night’s first goal. Carlson did his 70-footer thing, and a screening Chimera tipped it in to make it 2-0. Petr Sykora scored on a set play off the face off to end the shutout. Ryan Carter got a deflection to tie it up. From there we entered the shoot out, where way more stuff happened than I can record here. Suffice it to say: Devils beat Caps 3-2 via shoot out.

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Caps beat Devils 3-1, Mike Green Hurt, Alex Semin Benched

(Photo credit: Nick Laham)

After a two-game skid, the Washington Capitals started their home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils by playing some crummy hockey. Inexplicably, they won anyway.

12-year-old Adam Larsson scored the first goal of the game, which was also his first-ever NHL goal. Captain Alex Ovechkin found the perfect spot up front to rouse the Caps’ offense and make it 1-1. Jason Chimera exploited the Devils’ power play line change to score the Caps’ first shorthanded goal of the season. Marcus Johansson casually backhanded to give the Caps a two-goal lead. Caps beat Devils 3-1.

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New Jersey Devils: a Week from Hell, a Team from Jersey

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Editor’s Note: Doug Johnson of PuckBuddys writes for RMNB. There’s this new thing called Twitter; look into it.

The Pre Game: Some weeks…  they exist to test our mettle. Or remind us of what’s truly important. This has been one of those weeks.

Joe Frazier

First came news of the passing of Smokin’ Joe Frazier. A brawler of the first order and a retired sports ambassador of highest rank, we were jolted first thing Monday to learn of his death at just 67. “Respect and admiration,” is how Muhammad Ali remembers him. We join our fellow Michigander in his descant.

We just wish it were with that kind of dignity and accolade that Joe Paterno could’ve retired, but this week wouldn’t have it. Sucked into the vortex of a repugnant scandal swirling around him or partly of his making (everyone else is judging so we leave it up to you), JoePa has coached his last Big Ten game, just one week after achieving what must have been a long-held goal – most wins of any Division I coach, ever. He has coached at Penn State as long as I’ve drawn breath. The alleged horrors of Coach Sandusky and the criminal process will stand on their own. The lingering acrid smell of individuals with their eye on something other than the children’s and players’ well-being hangs foul over Happy Valley.

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Carlson Looks Right at Home as Caps Blank Devils, 3-0

Neuvirth Save

Michal Neuvirth make a save on the bewildered $100 million dollar man (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett).

Veteran winger Mike Knuble netted two goals while registering one assist on the night. Photo credit: Andy Marlin

Veteran winger Mike Knuble netted two goals while registering one assist on the night. Photo credit: Andy Marlin

It’s easy to forget about John Carlson.

The rookie Washington Capitals defenseman logs 20 minutes a night, rarely makes stone-headed blunders and chips in the occasional pressure on transition.

Yet as the Caps nudge ever closer to clinching a fourth straight Southeast Division championship, Carlson’s rock-solid contributions are becoming increasingly harder to ignore.

The New Jersey native had two assists, logged almost 23 minutes of ice time and played nearly flawless hockey in a 3-0 shutout win of the New Jersey Devils. The win tied the Capitals for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Flyers and made an improbable New Jersey playoff bid seem even more unlikely.

Despite moving into third-place on the all-time Washington Capitals points list for rookies, Carlson was not named one of the three stars of the night. Yet his sharp work while joining the attack led to two goals, and his steadiness in the back helped the brilliant Michal Neuvirth register his fourth shutout and third since February 4.

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The Streak Ends: Wings Edge Caps, 3-2

Zetterberg's Second Goal

Sigh. (Photo credit: Dave Reginek)

The Capitals came back twice against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night, but it would be a matter of inches that would stop them from extending their winning streak to ten games.

The Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring at 12:23 at in first period, firing a one-timer over Caps ‘keeper Michal Neuvirth’s shoulder. Washington would get it right back, however, as John Carlson’s blast from the point found twine just 33 seconds later. D.J. King got his second point of season on the play. I know! Woo!!! Less than two minutes after the Caps tally, Detroit would once again jump out in front as Valtteri Flippula clogged up the crease and deflected Brian Rafalski’s slapper past Neuvirth.

Alex Ovechkin would tie things up once again under six minutes into the middle frame. After taking a nifty backhand pass from Alexander Semin, Ovi raced up the middle going one-on-one with Brad Stuart before firing a wicked wrist shot through Stuart’s legs. Boom! 2-2.

Midway through the third period, Zetterberg would knot his second tally of the night. He lifted the puck over Neuvirth’s head from a sharp angle as the Czech netminder hugged the post. The Capitals attempted to rally late and came this close to doing so as Semin’s wrist shot hit just off target, ringing the crossbar with just 20 seconds remaining. Streak over. Wings edge Caps, 3-2.

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George McPhee brought in two veterans, Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman into the fold today

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the Jake Hauswirth era is over. Hauswirth was packaged along with Washington’s 3rd round selection in the 2011 draft for defenseman Dennis Wideman. The 3rd round pick is minor, since a player drafted in that round plays an average of 71 NHL games — total for their career — while they amass an eye popping 24 points. But the Caps lost Hauswirth, so a moment of silence.

Now let’s focus on picking up the pieces, and see what goodies George McPhee got Caps fans.

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This evening, George McPhee addressed the local media after he made two big acquisitions before the NHL’s Trade Deadline at 3pm. First, in the morning, McPhee acquired puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers for fringe prospect Jake Hauswirth and the Capitals’ third round draft pick in 2011. GMGM also landed Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils for David Steckel and the Capitals’s second round pick in 2012. Above, McPhee talks about the newest additions to the Caps’ family and explains how he believes they will help the team.

Caps beat Devils 5-1, Andrew Gordon Scores First NHL Goal

gordo
First of many for Andrew Gordon. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

That is how you do it! The Washington Capitals have done the unthinkable: playing two smart games back to back.

Who better to get us started that Andrew Gordon? His goal-crashing shot off a speedy Marcus Johansson pass was the night’s first goal and the first of Andrew’s NHL career. (We knew you could do it!) The Devils responded with a Patrik Elias whizzer from above the circles, expertly screened by former Cap Danius Zubrus. Hershey’s own Jay Beagle returned fire with a chip-in up close. On a breakaway. Jason Chimera brushed off a hook and converted. Alex Ovechkin pulled an honest-to-goodness statue-of-liberty play with John Carlson, who launched a neutrino puck into Marty Brodeur’s net. Finally, Mike Knuble gingerly diverted a Tom Poti shot for the free wings. Caps beat Devils 5-1.

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Devils beat Caps 5-0

Holtby's Body Language says it all

Braden Holtby’s body language says it all. (Photo credit: Bill Kostroun)

Hendy tries to light a fire under his boys. Instead he gets pounded by Adam Mair. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Hendrick's fight fails to ignite the team (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

It was like the end of the Wild Bunch if the Wild Bunch look bored while getting massacred by the Mexican army.

Friends, I love you too much to recap this game fully. I usually detail the goals here, but I like you too much to subject you to that punishment. Suffice it to say the New Jersey Devils scored a lot and the Washington Capitals did not score at all. The goals were ugly and avoidable. This was a solid hour of embarrassment– if only the Washington Capitals were capable of embarrassment.

This was the worst game of the Bruce Boudreau era. Devils beat Caps 5-0.

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