True story. Guy walks into a bar. He immediately pulls down his pants, starts cursing a blue streak, and vomits on the floor before stumbling out the door. Bartender says: “Hey, I didn’t know there was a Flyers game today!”
The Low Down: There’s no question Philadelphia is cursed with the worst sports fans in the history of everdom, and that includes the Flyers. Their arena smells, their colors look like butt, and those are the nice things we have to say.
Editor’s note: To get you properly revved up for the season, each member of the RMNB crew will take a longing look back at some of our favorite goals from days gone by. You can call it nostalgia or cheap summer content, but it’s really a reminder: WINTER IS COMING.
The Capitals came back twice against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night, but it would be a matter of inches that would stop them from extending their winning streak to ten games.
The Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring at 12:23 at in first period, firing a one-timer over Caps ‘keeper Michal Neuvirth’s shoulder. Washington would get it right back, however, as John Carlson’s blast from the point found twine just 33 seconds later. D.J. King got his second point of season on the play. I know! Woo!!! Less than two minutes after the Caps tally, Detroit would once again jump out in front as Valtteri Flippula clogged up the crease and deflected Brian Rafalski’s slapper past Neuvirth.
Alex Ovechkin would tie things up once again under six minutes into the middle frame. After taking a nifty backhand pass from Alexander Semin, Ovi raced up the middle going one-on-one with Brad Stuart before firing a wicked wrist shot through Stuart’s legs. Boom! 2-2.
Midway through the third period, Zetterberg would knot his second tally of the night. He lifted the puck over Neuvirth’s head from a sharp angle as the Czech netminder hugged the post. The Capitals attempted to rally late and came this close to doing so as Semin’s wrist shot hit just off target, ringing the crossbar with just 20 seconds remaining. Streak over. Wings edge Caps, 3-2.
On January 18, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
King vs. Shelley: a portrait of pointlessness. (Photo credit: Len Redkoles)
The Washington Capitals quenched their wanderlust, beginning their 15-game voyage (only 5 stops at home!) with an evening hosted by the Philadelphia Flyers. The conference-leading home team sported their explosive offensive, keeping busy the Washington goalies all night. The Capitals, except for a 40-second spurt, had precious little presence in the offensive zone. We went to overtime, but we didn’t stay long.
91 seconds into the game, Michal Neuvirth failed to track Jeff Carter’s wraparound and allowed a goal on the night’s first shot. Claude Giroux doubled down against relief-goalie Semyon Varlamov by seizing on a second chance. In the third, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble stormed Sergei Bobrovsky’s crease for a goal. 40 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin fed at the trough to tie it up. But in overtime, Jason Chimera gave Andrej Meszaros more than enough room to fire one home. Game over. Flyers beat Caps 3-2 (OT).
On November 20, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Marcus Johansson records the night’s first goal. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals are designed by a higher power to elevate your blood pressure, and you will thank them for it. If last night’s flustercluck with the Thrashers turned you into an Eeyore, tonight’s bout with the Philadelphia Flyers rendered you manic. Peppered with a generous helping of penalties, the Caps fought a pitched battle with the east coast brutes that defied convention. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like the outcome.
Marcus Johansson opened up with a swat from the slot as expertly set up by Jason Chimera. The Flyers responded with three consecutive goals (two in the second period alone) from Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, and Jeff Carter. Nicky Backstrom and Jason Chimera mounted a comeback in a wild third period, but Andreas Nodl put the Flyers ahead with only six minutes remaining. After fighting through an excruciating penalty kill, Eric Fehr re-awoke his offensive instincts at the perfect time (i.e. 45 seconds left in regulation). After a teeth-clinching overtime period, the teams lined up their shootout squads. Brian Boucher declined offers from Backstrom and Ovechkin, and Danny Briere beat Neuvirth via the five hole. It was down to Alex Semin. He beat Boucher cleanly and released the puck… CLANG!Flyers beat Caps 5-4 (SO). Continue Reading
On November 7, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Braden Holtby, in his first career NHL start, makes one of his 23 saves on the night. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
Game Over. (Photo credit: Luis M. Alvarez)
Traditionally, Sunday games have been trouble for the Washington Capitals. The crowd might be docile, the ice sloppy, the players hungover; doesn’t matter. Quoting Ovechkin: “It was a five o’clock game. Usually you take a nap at this time.”
Tonight’s bout with Eastern Conference-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, was remarkable enough to wake the players from their expected slumber. The Flyers, riding a five-game winning streak and leading the league in penalties, brought the smash-mouth brand of hockey that we expected and did not permit the Caps to play lazy.
Flyer Nikolay Zherdev beat the Caps’ new goalie, Braden Holtby, on a two-on-one to open up the game. Eric Fehr responded with a low-probability/high-awesomesauce snipe from a wide angle. Ville Leino (who it turns out is a person and not a cozy Italian hamlet) got improbably lucky off a deflection to put the Flyers up 2-1. Alex Semin tied the game up on a power-play sweep-in, and there the scored remained until the end of regulation. The specter of a Sean O’Donnell boarding penalty chased the Flyers into OT, which Mike Green turned into an OTGWG. It wasn’t the raucous glove-dropper we were expecting, but a W is a W: Caps beat Flyers 3-2 (OT).
I posted on Twitter (in haste) that I would like to see the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs as the 8th seed, but upon further review, I’m not so sure.
I took a look at the Goals Finished/Goals Allowed for WSH, BOS, NYR and PHI, both on the road and at home, and came up with expected winning percentages for each team. I then used Log5 to predict the Caps chances of winning each game whether it is played at home or on the road.
The expected Win % for the Caps and their possible first round opponents:
WSH, .670 Home, .613 Away
BOS, .490 Home, .521 Away
PHI, .579 Home, .458 Away
NYR, .533 Home, .475 Away
For example, if the Caps meet Boston in the first round, Washington has an expected winning percentage at home of .670 while Boston is expected to have a win % of .521 on the road. Using Log5, we can determine that the Caps have a 65% chance of winning a game against Boston at the Verizon Center.
I then figure out the Caps’ win % based on every possible outcome of a 7 game series – and yes, that includes ALL possible combinations for a 7 game series (WWWW, WWLWW, WWWLLW, etc.).
Intuitively I wanted the Caps to face the Marc Savard-less Bruins in the first round, but based on the chances of the Caps winning against Boston in a 7 game series, I have changed my mind. Here’s why:
The Caps have a 78.1% chance of beating Boston in a 7 game series. Not bad, considering that they have a 77.44% chance of beating Philadelphia. But the best case scenario for the Caps, based on probability of winning, is meeting the New York Rangers in the first round – where the probability of winning a 7 game series is 79.25%.
(ed note: Excel gave me wonky %, which have been updated, however NYR remains the best possible opponent)
The Washington Capitals suit up to play the Philadelpha Flyers today at Verizon Center. And wouldn’t you just know it? We’ve got some injuries.
John Erskine is still out with an upper-body injury. Erskine (pictured below) hasn’t played since the Thrashers game on the 9th. Johnny hasn’t been a bit off since around Christmas, so we’re hoping this rest will give him a chance to recharge his batteries.
John Erskine and his flesh-colored hair are out tonight.
Brian Pothier didn’t skate at yesterday’s practice at Kettler, so we suspect he’ll be out again tonight. Pothier sustained a rib injury during the Panthers game earlier this week. That leaves us with two D-men missing in the line-up.
So here comes Captain America himself: John Carlson. The star of the WJC had a pretty good game (2 shots) against the Leafs on Friday, and he’ll probably play tonight. Does anyone else get the feeling we’re looking at the future of the franchise?
Hershey Bear Karl Alzner will probably rejoin the Caps next week, but until then we’ll probably have to make do with Tyler Sloan on a D-pairing. After that, Tyler can get back to earning a massive paycheck for doing pretty much nothing.
Russian machine Alexander Semin was a gametime decision on Friday night. While his wrist continues to bug him, he got the clean bill of health and snatched up two points. He’ll probably be on the ice tonight, and he’ll certainly get a hat trick. He’s due.
Wednesday’s pugilists, Shaone Morrisonn and Jason Chimera, sustained no injuries from their (totally awesome) fights. Chimera came to the defense of a battered John Carlson at the end of the Leafs game and could have faced suspension for an instigator penalty in the last five minutes. The white wizards of the north in Toronto decided that this wasn’t a case of thuggery and message-sending, and will not be enforcing that suspension. Chimera will be playing tonight.
Finally, Semyon Varlamov remains on the mend, nursing an MCL sprain. We’d love to see him by Thursday’s Pens game, but we’ll probably have to wait until next weekend. At least he won’t have to hang himself.
This afternoon’s matinee begins at 3 PM. The Philadelpha Flyers continue to be a team in crisis, but I wouldn’t count them out. There’s something honorable in their struggle. Of all the Caps’ rivalries, the Flyers are the only team I WOULD pee on if they were on fire.