towels

Photo: The Gormster

We knew the first round was going to be tough as soon as the Caps drew the New York Islanders. They’re a good possession team who kept the Caps hemmed in during the regular season, even if the Caps managed to win most of those games. But I don’t know if we expected the utter 5v5 domination we’ve seen in games one and three. The Isles have just owned the darn puck during evens. There are only three paths to victory tonight:

  1. PDO is magic: Holbest and Halak leaves the gate ooooopen
  2. The spirit of game two: the Caps must have drank their kale smoothies before that one
  3. Special teams are special: It’s time for the best power-play team in the league to show it.

I wanna see all three and bring a certain Enrique video into the postseason.

Islanders lead the series 2-1. The game is on CSN at 7:30 PM.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Islanders 47-28-7 53.5% 99.1 18.7% 78.0%

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Sudden-Defeat Sunday: Isles beat Caps 2-1 (OT)

hugs

Hockey hugs.

The New York Islanders were apparently unhappy with their performance on Friday, so they opted to pound the hell out of the Capitals on Sunday. Without Braden Holtby standing on his head, this would have been a blow out. It was a constant onslaught with immense tension. It was the Ardennes forest of hockey games.

Despite a ton of Isles chances, we were scoreless until halfway through the game, when Kyle Okposo deflected a shot by Lubomir Visnovsky to finally crack Holtby. With six minutes left in the third, the Capitals finally beat Halak with Nick Backstrom’s heavily trafficked shot– off the crossbar and in. That was where we stood at the end of rego.

John Tavares won it immediately in overtime.

Isles beat Caps 2-1. I’m crestfallen.

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Caps at Islanders Pregame: Noon at Nassau

Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

“He acts like it’s his.” That’s how my mom characterized Alex Ovechkin‘s celebrations for other players’ goals on Friday night. And while I used that to make a cheap joke about selfish Russians, my mom was right. Ovi got to celebrate four times on Friday night’s excellent win over the Islanders (one for him, three for others). It was one of the best games these Caps have played all season, and they’re gonna need more of it today on Long Island.

The series is tied 1-1.

Game starts a little after noon on NBC proper, so if you’re watching from brunch and Pierre mentions the Brandon Wheat Kings, take a deep swig of your mimosa.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Islanders 47-28-7 53.5% 99.1 18.7% 78.0%

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Believe: Caps beat Isles 4-3!

File photo: You, while watching this game (Photo courtesy of You)

Without Holtby but not without hope, the Washington Capitals played desperate hockey on a thrilling Friday night duel with the New York Islanders. Down one game to none, the Caps started out without distinction. Into the two-goal hole they went …and then out again they came, furious and scoring.

If you believe in the Caps, this game is why.

Like last game, the Isles struck early– this time with Cal Clutterbuck scoring on a 2-on-1 rush just five minutes in. Ryan Strome’s second-period marker put the Caps in a two-goal hole, but Karl Alzner’s huge goal got the home team into the game. Kyle Okposo scored a seeming dagger shortly after, but a stellar rally by Washington led to Alex Ovechkin’s kanooblian goal just before the second intermission.

The Capitals drew their first penalty in the third period, so Nick Backstrom carved through the Isles defense to tie the game at three goals apiece. Jason Chimera, yes, Jason Chimera, gave the Caps the lead by conducting laser surgery on his own rebound after Nick Leddy choked up the puck.

Caps beat Isles 4-3! Series is tied 1-1!

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Caps vs Islanders Pregame: Down, Not Out

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None of these people is Braden Holtby (Photo: Capstagram)

“We got our asses kicked in the first quarter, but it’s time we get up off the mat.”

The Caps lost game one. That’s the past. This is game two.

One of the dozen shots Ovi fires will hit the back of the net. Nick Backstrom will be used to maximum effect. Karl and Niskanen will remind us all how great they were during the regular season. Holtby will be healthy enough to play.

Islanders lead the series 1-0.

7 PM. Verizon Center, CSN, NBCSCN. Do the thing.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Islanders 47-28-7 53.5% 99.1 18.7% 78.0%

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Photo: Rob Carr

The morning after getting pwn’d by the Islanders in game one, the Capitals held an optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Barry Trotz said that many of the mistakes the Caps made the night before were ones the team had worked on all season long. They knew better, Troz said, so an actual practice on the ice would serve little purpose. That said, I’m sure Trotz reviewed a lot of game tape with the team, hopefully some from the Caps’ two failed power plays.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano had his penalty killers play in an aggressive box formation against the Caps’ top-ranked power play. Basically, the Isles player nearest the puck would skate out quickly to force a bad decision by the Caps. The Isles penalty kill, ranked 26th in the league during the regular season (76 percent), thrives on chaos created by their team speed. The Caps made long passes, turned the puck over, and were unable to set up Alex Ovechkin more than once in the left circle. On top of that, the Isles had scouted the Caps power play so much, it seemed as if they knew where the puck was going to go before the Caps did.

Watch how discombobulated the Caps were during their first man advantage.

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Not a Good Start: Islanders beat Caps 4-1

ovi-head-down

That feel. We know that feel.

In a disappointing effort, the Washington Capitals have dropped game one to the New York Islanders. The Isles played a nearly perfect game, and the Caps were on their heels from the game’s second shift.

Brock Nelson was all alone after a neutral-zone turnover, so he scored a quick one on Braden Holtby. Brooks Laich’s tenacious forecheck created a scoring opportunity for Marcus Johansson that he did not waste. But in the second period Ryan Strome scored a quick goal after John Tavares’ faceoff win, and Josh Bailey slapped a loose puck to put the Caps in a two-goal hole.

The third period had nothin’. Brock Nelson got an empty netter with 79 seconds left.

Isles beat Caps 4-1. Islanders lead the series 1-0.

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Tom Wilson draws (and takes) a lot of penalties. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Throughout the season, the Washington Capitals have generated a lot of offense during four-on-four play. With Tom Wilson, who leads the Caps in penalties taken and drawn per 60 minutes of ice time, expected to return to the line-up, it’s not farfetched to think we may see some coincidental penalties doled in the first round series against the Islanders.

While four-on-four play only accounted for 178.5 of the 5002 minutes of the time Caps spent on the ice during the regular season, the Caps scored 13 goals (good for second in the league and among playoff teams) in those situations, meaning they scored at a rate roughly 57 percent higher than in all situations and almost twice as high as during the five-on-five play.

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Photo: @WashCaps

After losing 4-2 to the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon, the Washington Capitals had to wait until after the Islanders’ game this evening to see if they would have home ice against them in the first round or not.

They WILL.

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Caps vs Islanders Pregame: Every Game Ovi

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Photo from the Capstragram

I officially renounce my every-other-game theory about Alex Ovechkin. For a few weeks, Ovi would do something ridiculous in a game and then take the next night off. Except now he’s doing it every single game. Not to be greedy but the Caps are gonna need even more of Ovi’s magic for Saturday’s matinee match-up against the New York Islanders.

Saturday’s is the first of three games within the Metropolitan division, in which the Caps currently find themselves in second place. It’s gonna be a big week.

The game is on CSN. Puck drops a little after 12:30.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 32-17-10 51.9% 100.1 24.4% 81.4%
New York Islanders 39-19-1 54.4% 99.5 19.1% 74.7%

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