Andy Marlin

Alex Semin interferes with Mattias Tedenby (Photo credit: Andy Marlin)

The last game before the holiday break featured the Washington Capitals in desolation against the New Jersey Devils. The Caps looked desperately weak for most of the game, digging a deep hole. But the third period was an explosion of Caps offense– one of the best comebacks in recent history. Still, the gimmick loomed.

Ilya Kovalchuk struck on a power play in the second period, a dribbling puck between Neuvirth’s pads. Not long later, Alexander Urbom scored on a defenseless net to make it 2-0. Adam Henrique chipped one in from up close to make it dire.

Brooks Laich used some speed and a Wideman pass to get the Caps on the board. Jason Chimera crashed the net and made it a one-goal game. Then Chimera tied it up at the end of a long offensive shift.

Into the shootout, where the Devils came out on top. Devils beat Caps 4-3 (SO), but the Caps take home one well earned standings point.

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Philadelphia Flyers Pregame: Cheesesteak Losers

Doug Johnson of the Puck Buddys delivers your pregame report. @PuckBuddys.

The Puck Drop: So, class, pencils down. What have we learned this weekend, hmm? Anyone? Anyone?

Well one of the things we’ve learned is that Coach Dale Hunter really isn’t like Coach Bruce Boudreau. As a player or as a coach. Yes, do we remember that? Do we also remember how Dennis Wideman got gipped out of a hat trick by some fusty clock-watchers in Toronto? Recall that? And… and another lesson; do we all remember how confusing it is to watch the Capitals play game to game? That roller-coaster – yeah, remember that? Awake one night, asleep the next? Hmmm?

It’s AH (Anno Hunteramus) 1, and so far we’re breaking even with genuinely mixed performances. A few months back, before “The Troubles“, we spanked the Flyers 5-2 in their own barn, with Hamrlik (remember when he was hot?) knocking in the GWG and Vokoun in the net. And here we are today. It’s cold, but Hamrlik is sorta hot again – or at least not cold cabbage – and Raccoon is once again starting to show a little of his elite-ness.

So, class, this Tuesday, which Capitals team do you think will show up? Hmm? Bueller?

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Scoring Change Steals Dennis Wideman’s Hat Trick

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

When we went to bed on Friday, Dennis Wideman was the possessor of a hat trick. His three-goal night versus Toronto was the first by a defenseman for the Caps in a decade, the first overall by the Caps this season, and the first of Dennis’ career. It was also the first 3 PPG game among defensemen in the NHL since 2006.

No more.

This morning, the NHL updated the game’s scoring (via WaPo’s Katie Carrera), giving that final power play goal to Brooks Laich for his 7th on the season. Nick Backstrom loses his secondary assist, knocking him down to 31 points.

Wideman still takes from the night four power play points (2G, 2A) and the first multi-goal game of his career, but all those hats you threw on the ice are now a fraud. And he’s still minus-1 on the night. Dennis admitted as much on Friday night, but you should still blame it all on stupid old Brooksy.

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Caps beat Leafs 4-2, Dennis Wideman Gets a Hat Trick!

Bruce Bennett

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Dale Hunter recorded the first two wins of his NHL career against Canadian teams. After tonight’s date between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs, you can make it three.

Dennis Wideman caught Mike Knuble’s pass and converted the PP. Dennis Wideman threaded the needle and converted the PP. (Phil Kessel scored.) Dennis Wideman fed Nick Backstrom, who converted the PP. (From the blue line, Cody Franson slipped one past a screened Vokoun.) Dennis Wideman converted the PP. Caps beat Leafs 4-2.

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Caps beat Sens 5-3, Can We Play Them Every Game?

????? (Photo credit: Jana Chytilova)

The Washington Capitals’ only win under Coach Hunter came from the Ottawa Senators, whom they met again on Wednesday. It was their second meeting in a week, and it was freaking terrific.

Jeff Halpern recovered Dennis Wideman’s rebound to make it 1-0. With Vokoun and Erskine bobbling the puck, Erik Condra took a stab and tied it up.  Nick Foligno combined speed and patience to score just as the power play expired. Brooks Laich set up Nick Backstrom, who roofed the tying goal on the power play. Alex Ovechkin looped around the Ottawa net, suckered his defender, and loosed the go-ahead goal. Troy Brouwer piled on 15 seconds later with his Gordie Howe Hat Trick goal. Milan Michalek needed like 5 milliseconds to score on a late-game power play. John Carlson sniped the empty netter. Caps beat Sens 5-3.

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Cats beat Caps 5-4, Realignment is Happening

Eliot J. Schechter

Alex Ovechkin does nothing in particular. (Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter)

Apparently it had been too long since a mortifying loss. The Washington Capitals’ pummeling at the paws of the Florida Panthers fixed that– despite a strong effort in the closing minutes. We don’t care. The realignment thing is happening, so let’s talk about that instead.

Goals went like this: Weiss deflects off Wideman on the PP. 13 seconds later, Santorelli goes 7-hole on Neuvy. Kulikov gets one on the PP. Mike Knuble slaps one under Clemmenson. Bergenheim converts on the PP when Neuvy can’t cover the puck.  Weiss gets a layup when Flash draws 4 Caps and the 5th one (Ovechkin) can’t be bothered to play D. Eakin scores thanks to a huge Knuble screen and Perreault assist. Brooks Laich topshelfed it from traffic. Jason Chimera deflected a John Carlson shot. Big flurry at the end, but ran outta time. Cats beat Caps 5-4.

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Brooks Laich celebrates

SCOAR! Brooks Laich celebrates his game-winner. (Photo credit Rob Carr)

As we venture into the Dale Hunter era, each game reveals new layers of the Washington Capitals’ game. In Saturday night’s meeting with the Ottawa Senators, we got all of that. And as a special bonus, we got a W, the first for Coach Hunter’s NHL career.

Before the game was two minutes old, Nick Backstrom did everything right to score, a feat made easier by Alex Ovechkin drawing two Senators away. Early in the second, Erik Karlsson sent the puck through traffic and tied it up. In the third, Ovi sent a picture-perfect pass through the seam to Troy Brouwer, who converted the short-side. Milan Michalek tied it up late while Neuvirth was sprawled out. Then Brooks Laich slayed the Sens in overtime. Caps beat Sens 3-2 (OT).

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Nadir: Sabres beat Caps 5-1

 Dave Sandford

Zack Kassian beats Tomas Vokoun. (Photo credit: Dave Sandford)

The Washington Capitals hopped on up to Buffalo, intending to shake off last night’s bad beat by whipping the Sabres. The injury-wracked Buffalo team missed a big chunk of its lineup, but they did not miss many scoring chances. And the Caps were just plain awful.

Luke Adam caught an easy bounce after Dennis Wideman’s failed clearing attempt. Jason Pominville scored his ninth of the year when Tomas Vokoun couldn’t find the puck. Jason Chimera drew a penalty shot and fired it so hard it disintegrated in the net. The very next shift– just half a minute later, toddler Zack Kassian recorded his first NHL goal– making it 3-1. Luke Adam opened the third period with a mean snapshot. Jochen Hecht beat Mathieu Perreault to record a shorthanded goal and finalize it. Sabres beat Caps 5-1.

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Caps beats Ducks 5-4 (OT), Nick Backstrom is Crazy Good

by Mitchell Layton

Pot roast. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

The Washington Capitals had only one date with the Anaheim Ducks on the calendar this year, so they played it like two totally different teams. The Caps of the first half hour were disorganized and besieged. The Caps of the second half hour were focused and buzzing. A hole was dug by the former and filled in by the latter.

Saku Koivu siezed on bad communication between Wideman and Hamrlik to score the game’s first goal. Teemu Selanne took a pass from Koivu for a lay up goal to make it 2-0. Selanne notched another one in the second period, thanks for some more bad defense and a weak-side pass. Joel Ward got the Caps on board with a close wrister that went five-hole. Dennis Wideman capitalized (puns!) on a scrambling Hiller, slapping home a goal making it 3-2. Corey Perry took a couple swats at a loose puck in the paint to make it 4-2. Troy Brouwer’s shot gave Hiller trouble and kept the game interesting.  With six attackers and less than a minute remaining, Nick Backstrom made the net quiver. Tie game. 4-on-4 overtime, where Backstrom struck again by slapping a bouncing puck into a gaping net. Game over! Caps beat Ducks 5-4 (OT).

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Four and Oh! Caps beat Sens 2-1 in Regulation

Marcus Johansson

Mojo scores on the wraparound! (Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt)

The Washington Capitals hosted the Ottawa Senators in Chinatown for a game that– INEXPLICABLY — ended after sixty minutes. After three games that went to overtime and beyond, this slow Saturday night snoozefest was welcome.

On the power play, Alex Semin sucked in a few defenders before feeding Nick Backstrom, who scored from the weak side. Marcus Johansson’s wraparound goal was a thing of beauty. Peter Regin exploited the top line’s laziness to make it 2-1. Then about forty minutes passed without anything important happening. Caps beat Sens 2-1 (NOT OT).

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