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.
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).
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.
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).
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).
Defeated. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington Capitals. Season on the line.
Malone from the backdoor on the PP. Marco Sturm up front on the PP. Bergenheim puts it high. Bergenheim on the rebound. Erskine from an impossible angle. Martin St. Louis all alone up front. John Carlson off the faceoff. Bolts beat Caps 5-3.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have swept the Washington Capitals.
A happier time. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Less than a day after the Caps dropped their second game of the series to Tampa Bay, Bruce Boudreau was asked to assess the state of his club:
Alex Semin rings iron. (Awesome photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Welp. That just happened.
The Washington Capitals invited the Tampa Bay Lightning for a night of pucks and fun in Chinatown. Starting off the conference semi-finals, the well rested Caps were expected to bulldoze Tampa Bay’s exhausted trap defense and open up some cracks in the Roloson wall. Did not happen.
On the board first was Sean Bergenheim, rewarded for crowding Michal Neuvirth’s crease. Marco Sturm returned fire by forcing a turnover that Alex Semin mightily wristed past Dwayne Roloson’s defenses. Jason Chimera fought below the goal line to set up Eric Fehr for the go-ahead, but that’s when the wheels came off. After a soft turnover, Steve Downie had a little help in his tying goal thanks to Scott Hannan’s stick. On a late second period powerplay, Steven Stamkos, given way too much space in the paint by John Erskine, had enough time to force one past Neuvy. And with the net cleared out, Dominic Moore sacrificed his body to settle the matter. Bolts beat Caps 4-2. Dammit.
Did you think this would be a slow news week? Maybe an injury update here or a scouting report there, but overall an uneventful period before the semifinals. Well, you were wrong. From the Internet’s very own disreputable flea market emerges what might become the cultural moment of the hockey season.
(Are we building this up too much?)
Artist Aleksandr Reut has crafted Washington Capitals – We are the Champions!, an exquisite 40″ x 32″ oil painting on canvas. This inspired (yet absurdly premature) work of celebratory art and its partner piece are available for bid or purchase on eBay right now. Starting bid is only $5,000, so crack open those piggy banks.
A 50-something Ukranian ex-pat living in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Reut fills the daytime hours as an architect, but the muses compel him to high art. A decade-old profile from Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record (reprinted here by brama.com) extols Reut’s passion for mixed media as a sculptor, but he tells me that it’s hockey that really inspires him.
Mike Green: picking the right time to play the best hockey of his life.
Shut the book on the quarterfinal series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. In just five (not that short) games, the Caps sent the Rangers to an early vacation and a hot shave. This is the first Caps playoff series since the lockout (and the first of Bruce Boudreau’s career) that has not gone to a full seven games.
For the first time in the series, a goal was scored in the first period. While on the powerplay, Mike Green caught his own rebound and used Dan Girardi as a backboard for the game’s first score. Scott Hannan stretched a pass to Alex Ovechkin in the second, who then beat Henrik Lundqvist on the backhand. Alex Semin’s one-timer off Marcus Johansson made the score 3-0, which should have been the final. But then this happened:
About a minute later, Wojtek Wolski finally got one past Michal Neuvirth. Oh well. Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Series score: 4-1. The Capitals advance to the next round, but first comes a few days of well deserved rest.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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