Playing for Pride: Caps beat Isles 4-3 (SO)

Mike Stobe

Photo: Mike Stobe

With a 1.2 percent chance of a postseason, the Washington Capitals were basically playing for pride against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. I’m supposed to be analyzing these games in addition to just recapping them, but I’m having a hard time sussing out exactly what we just watched.

Are they thick and proud? Are they a mess? Is all coming together? Is there any urgency? Are they surging late? Have they given up?

I’m gonna go with contradictory yes across the board. The Caps went into a two-goal hole, and then climbed out, and I don’t know what to make of that.

Cal Clutterbuck struck first for the Isles, taking advantage of the Brouillette-Strachan defensive pairing. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it up in the second period after a pass from Marcus Johansson that was either brilliant or dumb luck. The Isles struck back 90 seconds later, as a Caps opponent is wont to do.  Frans Nielsen made it 3-1 for the Isles on an iffy goal, but Nicky Backstrom returned fire a little after the halfway mark by cleaning up a broken play. The third line (Mojo edition) continued to be insane-o with Joel Ward’s game-tying goal, his 23rd of the season.

The third period was quiet. Too quiet. Overtime too. So, here we go again…

Shootout bullets!

  • Nielsen got denied.
  • Kuznetsov roofed it.
  • Strome got padded.
  • Grabo also got padded.
  • Nelson, who is not Nielson, got stopped.

Caps beat Isles 4-3 in the shootout. Yey.

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Nabby Nabs the Shutout: Isles beat Caps 1-0

strachan martin - Patrick Smith

Strachan vs Martin (Photo: Patrick Smith)

They’re not all barnburners. Some games merely are. They start, sixty minutes pass, and then they’re over. Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game wasn’t completely free of drama, but it was a low-scoring, mostly sleepy affair. Every time something cool was about to happen, a countervailing uncool thing (whiff, penalty, Milbury) canceled it out. Worst of all, the Caps lost.

The game went scoreless for 42 minutes until Andrew MacDonald’s muffin floated past Neuvirth. Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. That’s dumb.

Isles beat Caps 1-0. Shut out for Evgeni Nabokov.

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Holtby Overtime: Caps Top Isles 3-2 (OT)

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Ballgame. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Like the Bond marathon on SyFy over the last few days, the Washington Capitals are a fickle thing. Lately, the Caps have mixed the sublime elegance of the Sean Connery era with the confusing stupor of the Timothy Dalton movies. More often than not, it’s been the latter.

Plainly, they didn’t deserve to win yesterday’s game. Only the godlike brilliance of Eric Fehr kept the Caps from a fifth straight loss. They did win, however, and got their tired asses on a plane to hell Long Island this morning. With Braden Holtby making his second start in as many days, the setup for this one didn’t look good.

Washington’s start, however, was better than we’ve come to expect. Though New York handily outshot them early, the Caps controlled possession. The teams traded chances, with no one converting. Hey, that’s better than being 3-0 after 20!

As usual, the Caps got it going in the second. The period was filling with odd-man breaks and open looks for Washington, with the fourth line converting midway through the frame. Martin Erat – yes, that one — made a nice play behind the net before setting up the puck for Tom Wilson, who fired it on net. Aaron Volpatti did the net crashing thing to put the Caps on the board.

In the third, though, the Isles got the goal back — and they did on a Caps power play. Four minutes into the period, local pariah Mike Green missed a pinch and Cal Clutterbuck took the puck the other way on a breakaway. Yeah, it was awful. Then, Thomas Vanek gave the Isles the lead with some whacking in front, to Braden’s dismay. With less than two minutes left, this one looked over. HOWEVER… Nicklas Backstrom was stone cold clutch, converting in front with the Caps down a man. In overtime, the big Russian — that would be Alex Ovechkin — did his thing. Boom. Crazy times. Caps top Isles 3-2 (OT).

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Take it to #TheBank: Caps beat Isles 6-2!

Nick Wass

Photo: Nick Wass

Alex Ovechkin had missed the last two games due to an upper-body injury. Returning to active service against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Alex wanted to make sure we didn’t forget him. As if we ever could. He scored two goals and set up Tom Wilson for his first career NHL goal. That’s your captain right there.

John Tavares scored on the rebound as the Islanders’ power play expired in the first period.

But let’s talk about the second period. Early in the second, John Carlson exploited an Isles goof-up to score his second goal in as many games. Alex Ovechkin scored the most casual powerplay goal ever, but Kyle Okposo returned fire just 17 seconds later. Marcus Johansson was in the right spot as a rebounding puck found his stick on another Caps power play to restore the lead. Tom Wilson got held up on a drive to the net, but set up Alex Urbom from a supine position. Alex Ovechkin scored from the Alex Ovechkin spot on another power play– one set up by some good work by Marcus Johansson in the crease. Wow.

Tom Wilson scored his first NHL goal on third-period power play, tapping in Alex Ovechkin’s pass.

Caps beat Isles 6-2!

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Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The Washington Capitals emerged from the trade deadline a more dangerous team. Facing the New York Islanders in a pivotal game, they didn’t muster much offense, but they mustered enough.

A sleepy start allowed the Caps an early lead, but the Isles surged in the third and tied it up in the waning minutes. Thanks to some superior work in the Holtbestiary, the Caps made it to OT and all the way to the shootout.

SHOOTOUT MADNESS, HERE WE GO: Hendricks failed to paralyze. Nielsen couldn’t find the five hole. Ovechkin scored backhand. Boyes deked Holtby but lost the puck. Ribs got poked. Tavares denied. CAPS WIN! TAKE THE SOUTHEAST DIVISION LEAD!

Caps beat Islanders 2-1 (Shootout)

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Relive Caps vs Islanders in Six-Second Snippets

freitas

Back when we started this whole hockey-blogging folly, Twitter ran on steam and Internet video was reserved for senators and people who owned horses. Now it’s 2013, and my very funny friend Steven Freitas is livevlogging entire hockey games from his sweet-ass seats in Verizon Center. Using Vine, an app that grabs and publishes video in 6-second snippets, Freitas shared his POV of the Washington Capital’s tragic 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

It’s a totally novel and immersive way to share experiences, and if that is too buzzwordy for you, buckle up, because Vine is going to be shifting paradigms and leveraging user-generated content to create new vectors for lean-back, two-screen experiences. Yeah. I just did that.

Seriously: these videos are pretty cool, and while it’s a shame they come from a loss, I think you should check it out. It’ll only take you 42 seconds, but it’s a bit resource-intensive. And oh yeah: follow @SteveFreitas!

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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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Hot-heads and High Sticks: Isles beat Caps 5-2

Bruce Bennett

Totally not a picture of Grubauer btw. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals had a great chance to jump up the Southeast Division in Saturday’s game at the New York Islanders. For awhile it looked like the Caps could do it, but then two rotten, late-game penalties by Mike Ribeiro and Jeff Schultz put it out of reach. A great opportunity, squandered.

Isles beat Caps 5-2.

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(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Photo credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

[Ed note: PuckBuddy, and hockey's own Hemingway, Jason Rogers, is back to praise where it's earned and taunt where it's needed. Tweeter him now.]

Morning Skate: Don’t look now, but the Caps have won five of their last six, and eight of eleven over the last month. The good guys from DC sit within spitting distance of – dare I say it? – the playoffs. The Capitals, like a port-a-potty with a wayward push, have begun rolling downhill.

This Saturday afternoon, like a matinee at the movies, the Caps’ opponent will be a poorly directed, over-budget flop starring nobody. Yes, the Gortons Fishermen roll back into their harbor fresh from Long Island (Excuse me: Stron-Gisland) to welcome the Caps, and if Uncle Ted has any sense he’ll scotch-guard the locker room.

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Rollercoaster! Caps beat Isles 5-4 (SO)

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals began their epic road trip with a stop on the Long Island and its New York Islanders. The game saw the worst and best of the Caps, but it ended the right way.

Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal, a fluke so dumbfounding I feel drunk trying to explain it. Matt Moulson scored a power play goal off of John Carlson. John Tavares notched another power play goal at the halfway point, but Dennis Wideman returned fire a few seconds later. Before a comeback could gain momentum, Tavares found the back of the net again.  Before the end of the second, Alex Ovechkin caught a rebound and turned it into goal.

Scoarlov.

Alex Ovechkin took three stabs at a puck from descending distances before beating Nabokov and tying the game. Overtime was not OV time, so we needed a shootout to make a decision. Matt Hendricks is your shootout hero! Caps beat Isles 5-4 (SO).

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