Photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick
The Washington Capitals started something with their first win on Sunday and sought to keep that going against the Ottawa Senators. The Caps brought a sense of coherence and confidence to their game that we haven’t seen in a long time, but the game’s back half started sagging and one bad penalty cost them everything.
The Capitals gave Troy Brouwer his second goal of the year, a net-crashing backhand set up by some hardworking hockey from Wojtek Wolksi and the Caps D-corps. Matt Hendricks deflected Jay Beagle’s wide-angle shot into the net to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. The Senators got on the board with a Condra shot deflected off of Jim O’Brien. Milan Michalek tied it up with a tricky backhand off the faceoff that eluded Neuvirth. Former Cap Sergei Gonchar got the game-winning goal on an undeserved power play in the games final minutes.
Sens beat Caps 3-2.
There’s not much to say, really. The Washington Capitals got their asses kicked thoroughly by the Ottawa Senators.
Erik Karlsson went five-hole on Tomas Vokou to make it 1-0, and Milan Michalek beat Dennis Wideman to make it 2-0. Number three was Michalek again, who tipped a power play shot to make it 3-0. On another power play, Chris Phillips made it 4-0.
The Caps got serious in the third. John Carlson broke the shutout, and Matty Perreault deflected in a goal off his pretty French Canadian face. But Nick Foligno secured the empty netter. Sens beat Caps 5-2.
The Pregame: Well, hello you! Pollyanna Sunshine, reporting for duty! And here’s my colleague, Peppy Miller! Rah Team!
OK, glum-dums. Tides have a way of turning. Or so Barbara Streisand tells me. Sure, watching the Capitals this season has been exactly like watching the tides rush in and out, depositing a fresh crop of flotsam and hope on the shore at high tide before sucking it all back out to sea, leaving behind dead jellyfish and despair. But…
????? (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.
Craig Anderson watches one go by. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)
The Pre-Game: We hear through the Twitters that perhaps we went just a weee bit overboard with our preview of Saturday’s Ottawa game, and shameless self-promotion of teh PuckBuddy’s Big Gay Night Out. Whoops! Curiously: among the critics was Donald Trump, who should know a thing or two about the line between gleeful self-promotion and villainous sociopathy, so we take that to heart. So that, plus Peter’s epic stat-tastic data set analysis matrix (or whatever) have convinced us today we’re going to play it down the line.Yup, right… directly, down that… unbending line. Directly… forward, in a non-curvilinear fashion. And that’s as close as we’re ever going to come to saying it, so get over it.
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).
The Pre-Game: Interesting fact: did you know that the North American Otter (Enhydra lutris) has to eat roughly 25% of its body weight in food every day just to survive? True! Like, how many Dippin’ Dots would that be? AND that in the ancient Zoroastrian religion, that otters were considered holy beings?! So Wow, I mean like…
Oh. Oh, it’s the Ottawa Senators. Oh lolz! If you could see my face blushing.
Actually, we have enough blush, and not in an endearing way, left over from Thursday night. Although we cautioned, and predicted moments, we didn’t – and simply never ever will – go on the record predicting a Pens victory over the Caps, despite our well-shared worries. Sure, it wasn’t a blow-out. Yeah, Erskine earned himself a pelt off one of the birds, in just payment for Beags (IMHO.) And yes, even hobbled offensively as we are (and whyis that, exactly?) and with all the turmoil and blah blah go freaking tell your shrink because I don’t give a damn we kept them to one point. Whoot! A loss by only one point!
Which says a lot about where we’re at. Too much. Too, too much, if you ask us, girlfriends.
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).
Anyone who’s had the misfortune to spend time in Ottawa has had the quintessential Canadian city experience: clean, cultured, and quietly disappointing. All the maple doughnuts and Labatt’s in the world can’t hide the fact that Ottawa is as appealing as lap dance from Marcus Bachmann. Puzzlingly, everyone seems mostly OK with this… albeit in a polite, deferential way. Ottawantarians seem to take civic pride in their shared, outstanding blahness. Just look the Senators.
Brooks Laich gives Braden Holtby the ol’ congratulatory helmet tap. (Photo credit: Francois Lacasse)
Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.
The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.
Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.
In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.
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