Eric Fehr and Mike Green both wanted to stay in Washington and win a Stanley Cup — it just didn’t work out that way. They had played their entire 10-year careers with the Caps, save for one year Fehr spent with the Jets. But with restricted free agents like Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Marcus Johansson to lock up, plus the offseason acquisitions of Justin Williams and TJ Oshie, Fehr knew it would be tough to stay.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers today in a 6-3 rout on home ice, ending that series decisively in five games.
That means the winner of the Capitals-Flyers series will face the Penguins, the hottest team in the league, in the second round. It’ll either be Sid vs Ovi (again) or the Battle of Pennsylvania (again). Either way, the NHL is feeling pretty good about their playoff format right now.
It’s game 80 for the Washington Capitals this season. I cannot think of a more perfect time to go all Adam Oates and force new things down Caps fans’ throats. On our end, RMNB tried out a new in-game live blog, where you got to interact with Chris. But not me. I’m the actual Chris. His name is Chris From The Comments, because he doesn’t have the credentials to blow up the site at will. From the Caps, got some new lines and D-pairs from Barry Trotz, which might be the way the Capitals lineup looks when we start the playoffs. Braden Holtby was in net because you sure as hell know why Braden Holtby was in net. Pens had won 13 of 14. So let’s do this.
Well, on second thought, let’s not. Forty-four seconds into the game, the Capitals’ defense crumbled like a nomination before the Senate — except the Capitals were trying even less.
Early in the second, Matt Cullen scored yet another goal in the first minute of the period, His shorthanded goal seemingly crush the Caps’ hopes. Then the Caps killed a five-minute penalty (Tom Wilson, natch) only to surrender a five-hole goal to Connor Sheary on an odd-man rush soon after. Thank goodness for Marcus Johansson, who finally got the Caps on board late in the period.
In the third, Joe Hanson was money yet again, turning the rest of the third period into a grudge match against the league’s hottest team. Just over three minutes later, another perfect Swedish and adorable and awesome player named Andre Burakovsky CRASHED THE FREAKIN’ NET and tied the game. This is why you watch sports.
What happened later is why you never want to watch sports again. Sidney Crosby in the extra frame. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
Look above. That’s a picture of a man who should never have been allowed to leave Washington, DC. He faces off against his former team and your Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center tonight with the rest of the flaming-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens come into town after going 9-1 in their last 10 and that’s without superstar Evgeni Malkin since March 11 and now without starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out with a concussion since the beginning of April. Games between these two teams are always quite the show, and something tells me that even though this is a virtually meaningless game for your Caps, it should be nonetheless entertaining.
Before we get started, did you know that “giant” 5-foot-tall penguins once inhabited the Earth? Carl Hagelin would have had a lot of friends 30 million years ago.
I’m Chris From The Comments. Join me below for the first Live Blog of this year’s Caps season.
It’s game 79 of the regular season for the Caps. They’ve had the standings locked up since about game 7. Yes, it’d be nice to beat the Pens. And of course, it would be encouraging to see a great effort from the guys in red as the playoffs grow nearer. But Jean-Paul Sartre would definitely say “I told you so” when we come to the realization that the existence of this game precedes its essence.
But the great thing about meaningless things is that we’re left free to assign our own meaning. There’s some cool stuff that we can choose to care about to make this game more enjoyable. There’s Braden Holtby‘s pursuit of the single-season record for wins by a goalie and Alex Ovechkin trying to hit the 50 goal mark again. Oh, and TJ Oshie is trying to reach 30 goals for the first time in his career, but all but one of us knew all along that would never happen.
The game is at 7 on CSN. Please, everyone stay healthy.
On March 20, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins played a chaotic slobberknocker of hockey for an hour on Sunday night.
Bryan Rust and Trevor Daley put the Pens ahead in the first period. Jason Chimera and Andre Burakovsky tied the game in the second, but Tom Kuhnhackl gave Pittsburgh the lead after forty, which Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz extended in the third. Holtby got pulled, and then Justin Schultz welcomed Philipp Grubauer to the game.
This evening’s foe, the Pittsburgh Penguins, played yesterday, defeating the Flyers’ 4-1. A tired Penguins team might imply good things for Sunday’s game, but Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby played just 19:56 on Saturday– the first time he’s ducked under 20 minutes since Evgeni Malkin went out with injury a week ago.
Don’t believe the hype. The Penguins have rebounded since canning Mike Johnston, and they’ve been genuinely fearsome since the trade deadline. This will be a tough game.
The cast of Veep was in the house (Photo: Matt Walsh)
The Pittsburgh Penguins had won the last three games at Verizon Center, but that’s over now. A certain former Penguin defenseman scored a big power-play goal to send the Pens out of town disappointed.
Evgeny Malkin had the lone goal of the first period, the result of a strong drive by him and the Thrill. Patric Hornqvist made it 2-0 in the second, but Mike Richards (aided by Tom Wilson) scrambled effectively in the offensive zone to get the Caps on the board. Before the second period was up, Evgeny Kuznetsov added his contribution, tying the game 2-2 entering the third period.
With Evgeni Malkin in the box for high-sticking, former Penguin Matt Niskanen gave the Caps the lead with six minutes remaining. Oshie did not score the empty netter, gosh darn it.