Kathy Kmonicek

Photo: Kathy Kmonicek

At first, the Caps weren’t prepared to compete against the New York Islanders. Head coach Barry Trotz left two good players without sweaters. Instead, he put weak link Jason Chimera on the top line. The Isles outcompeted the Caps in the first period with their superior compete level, which was levels above the compete level of the Caps, but then the Caps leveled up their compete level in the third to tie the game in dramatic fashion and force overtime.

Anders Lee scored for the Islanders in the first period off a ridiculous deflection. New York made it 2-0 in the second period when Lubomir Visnovsky banked a shot off Brooks Orpik and behind Holtby. In the third, Calvin DeHaan scored shorthanded after Evgeny Kuznetsov choked the puck up in front of the Caps net.

Very marginal player Eric Fehr crashed the net to beat Jaroslav Halak and set himself decidedly on fire. On the rush, Ovechkin set up Backstrom for a gorgeous goal. Ovi got one of his own with a lightning bolt of a goal off a late-game face-off. The Caps withstood a late-game double-minor penalty by Kuznetsov long enough to earn a point and force overtime, but Johnny Boychuk won it during 4v3.

Isles beat Caps 4-3 (Overtime).

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Caps at Islanders Pregame: Last Stop at Nassau

nassau

Photo: Islesblogger

Barring a postseason meeting, tonight will be the last time the Washington Capitals will ever play at Nassau Coliseum.

Nassau is a weird beast, smallish by NHL standards, hard to reach using mass transit, but beloved for its legacy and dumpy-ness nonetheless.

It was here that Bossy scored at will. It was here that Potvin won three Norrises. It was here that Dale Hunter made the cheapest of cheap shots (and earned what was at the time the longest suspension in league history).

The Isles brought the Cup home to Nassau four times– in a freaking row– in the early eighties. Now, at the edge of 2015, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they do it again. The Isles are a good team, and they’d certainly like to make Nassau proud before they move to Brooklyn, the edge of the island, at the start of next season.

7 on PM on CSN. Let’s say goodbye to the old dump together. Go Caps.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 18-11-6 51.3% 100.1 23.8% 78.2%
New York Islanders 23-11-1 53.0% 99.5 17.9% 74.0%

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Bailamos is Back! Caps beat Isles 5-2!

Rob Carr

“Red rover, Red rover, send Niskanen over!” (Photo: Rob Carr)

The Washington Capitals looked terrible for the first ten minutes of their home game against the New York Islanders, and no, I won’t blame the turkey. But instead of a lackluster affair, the Caps woke up and played a competitive game against one of the league’s best– a reward for the 18 thousand fans in attendance and the return of my personal Caps anthem below the jump.

The Capitals’ second power-play unit took the ice in the first period thirty seconds before Matt Niskanen unloaded his cannon through traffic to make it 1-0. A glorious snap shot from Marcus Johansson gave the Caps their first 5v5 goal in forever and made it 2-0, but hold on a sec. In the next 66 seconds, the Capitals’ bottom six allowed two goals– one from John Tavares and one from Anders Lee, to neutralize the two-goal lead before the first intermission.

Tom Wilson absorbed a bunch of Isles defenders to open up a seam for Alex Ovechkin to score halfway through the second period.

In the third, Evgeny Kuznetsov feasted upon his second-line spot, scoring at the tail-end of an offensive-zone shift, sliding into the high slot and ripping the puck top shelf. Joel Ward got the empty-netter and there was much rejoicing.

Caps beat Isles 5-2! Bailamos!

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Kathy Kmonicek

Photo: Kathy Kmonicek

For the most part, the Caps held their own at Nassau on Wednesday. Now, back home in the sub-.500 confines of Verizon Center, the Capitals face the New York Islanders again.

I’d be totally fine with another loser point, but the full two would feel even better for my turkey hangover.

It’s an early one, 5 PM on CSN, so get your shopping done now. I just did sold my soul and first born to Amazon.com, so I’m like 85% done my Christmas shopping already.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 9-8-4 51.3% 98.23 27.9% 80.0%
New York Islanders 16-6-0 54.0% 99.93 20.5% 73.8%

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isles

The New York Islanders are really good, and the Washington Capitals lost their last game to the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps’ best possession player is sidelined with injury, and the Isles are gonna start a goalie who is 100-percent comfortable going up against his old team.

This would be a big road win if the Caps can pull it off. 7 PM on CSN Plus. Your boy Chris Gordon will be covering the game for RMNB solo.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 9-8-3 52.69% 98.22 25.4% 82.0%
New York Islanders 15-6-0 54.53% 100.14 18.8% 76.2%

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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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