Michal Neuvirth and Karl Alzner celebrate after the Capitals 1-0 shutout of the Penguins

Karl Alzner congratulates Michal Neuvirth on his third shutout of the year and second straight blanking of the Penguins. (Photo credit: Gregory Shamus)

Alex Ovechkin celebrates his second period goal, his fifth powerplay goal of the year. (Photo credit: Christian Petersen)

Alex Ovechkin celebrates his second period goal, his fifth power play marker of the year. (Photo credit: Christian Petersen)

After besting the Sabres on Sunday, the Capitals took the 178 mile journey down to Pittsburgh to take on a depleted Penguins team. Much was up for the taking Monday night. With a win versus the Pens, the Caps could go finish their pivotal 5-game road trip above .500, move within a point of the Lightning for the Southeast lead and take the season series with Pittsburgh. But despite their injuries, the Penguins remained no slouch. Added with the motivation of playing a Washington team that defeated them on Feb. 6 and in the Winter Classic, the Capitals couldn’t take the Penguins for granted. And they didn’t.

The first period, though scoreless, was certainly energetic. Both teams weren’t afraid to mix it up and play physical as the goalies shut things down. The Caps may have been outshot 18-7 for the frame but they were not without opportunities, including an Alex Ovechkin breakaway chance where the Great Eight was stoned by Marc-Andre Flurey.

The fireworks really began in the second period when Matt Bradley delivered a huge hit on Capitals fan favorite Matt Cooke, receiving a charging penalty in the process. The Pens Jordan Staal proceeded to tackle Bradley to the ice as a scrum formed. Ryan Craig would ask Bradley to answer for the hit when the two dropped the gloves at 11:26 but Craig ended up getting the worst of Bradley’s fists. Shouldn’t Cooke be fighting his own battles? I don’t think I have to answer that one.

While on the power play at 16:38 in the frame, Marcus Johansson fed the puck to a waiting Alex Ovechkin. Ovi then unleashed an unreal, laser beam of a one-timer. BOOM! Caps: 1, Pens: 0

And that would be it. Pittsburgh put 14 shots on Washington netminder Michal Neuvirth in the third period but Neuvy remained as solid as a brick wall. Shutout. World Peace. Something funny here. Caps beat Penguins, 1-0.

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This Ain’t No Puppy Bowl, Caps beat Pens 3-0

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Matt Cooke and Alex Ovechkin in happier times. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Once again the Super Bowl Sunday rendezvous between the  Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was a rousing success. Through three periods of hockey, the Caps laid siege to the Penguins’ net and their depleted forces.

Mathieu Perreault won a battle below the goal line to feed Brooks Laich, who was waiting eagerly in Fleury’s paint. His greasy backhander put the Caps up 1-0. On the penalty kill in the second, Marcus Johansson scored perhaps his prettiest goal yet, a no-look backhander. 2-0. Desperate in the third, the Penguins’ offense relented and allowed Mike Knuble the empty netter. Shutouts don’t feel so bad from the other side. Caps beat Pens 3-0.

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Feed The Machine

Last week we opened up our lines for reader questions. To be totally frank, they’ve been way beyond our expectations. Didn’t know you had it in you; keep ‘em coming!

Now pipe down and pay attention, cause Neil’s about to drop some science on you fools.

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Ovi tackles his teammates after Mike Knuble's second period goal.

Ovi tackles his teammates after Mike Knuble's second period goal. (Photo credit: Dave Sandford)

Photo credit: Gregory Shamus

After a year of build-up and three glorious episodes of HBO’s 24/7, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins finally met at Heinz Field in front of 68,111 loud, screaming fans to compete in the 2011 Winter Classic. Much like the 39 games before and the 42 games to follow, this game counted the exact same amount in the standings: two points.

But both you and I know it meant waaaaaay more than that. You could see it in how the Caps played, celebrated and spoke after the game. This was the biggest game they had ever played in their NHL careers. And it showed.

At 8:17pm the first puck dropped. It would then take over twenty-two compelling game minutes to see the 2011 Classic’s first goal. In the second period, Marc-Andre Fleury made a routine stick save along the ice on Alex Ovechkin. Kris Letang then took the rebound and alertly flung the puck up ice where he found a streaking Evgeny Malkin. The Capitals’ defense, caught on a bad change, allowed Malkin to go in all alone on Semyon Varlamov. Malkin went five-hole and the the Penguins took a 1-0 lead.

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The 2011 Winter Classic in Photos

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Ovi and Semin play soccer pre-game.

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We swear the puck went in.

We really want to talk to the person who gave their tickets to these guys. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

We really want to talk to the person who gave their tickets to these guys. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

There was certainly a special buzz in the air today. With most schools shutdown and most work-places deserted for the upcoming Christmas holiday, Caps fans traveled in droves to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to cheer on their hometown team during their pre-game skate. Why? Because the Pittsburgh Penguins were in town.

The energy the Caps felt in the morning certainly translated to the game as one minute in, Alex Ovechkin laid out frenemy, Evgeny Malkin, with one of his biggest hits of the season. The crowd went wild. The Penguins lost their composure. And seconds later, as Evgeny Malkin looked for retribution, he took a two minute interference call. The Capitals get a powerplay!

Unfortunately for our heroes, there was too much standing around, and there wasn’t enough crashing of the net in their ensuing man advantage. The Penguins savvily killed off the powerplay and seized back momentum immediately on a beautiful deflection goal by Sidney Crosby at 3:21.

Thirty-one game minutes later, the Capitals tied it up at the tail end of a 5-on-3 powerplay. Mike Green, who had pinched-in to the top of the face-off circle, riffled a slapshot to the top corner of the net. The game stayed tied 1-1, until the beginning of the third, when Sidney Crosby challenged three Capitals players, flicked the puck towards the net, and found Chris Kunitz who backhanded a shot home.

Things looked dicey until team leader Mike Knuble converted on a crazy 2-on-1 goal while the Caps were shorthanded. The two teams then went to Overtime. Despite what looked to be another goal by Mike Green, the extra five minutes of 4-on-4 hockey could not decide a victor. After an exciting shootout, Pascal Dupuis scored at the bottom of the 7th round. Pens beat Caps 3-2 (SO).

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Pens Will Host Caps in 2011 Winter Classic. Time For Payback!

When his queue frees up and motivation strikes, award-winning Carroll County Times’ Features Writer Brandon Oland does columns for RMNB. After today’s announcement of the 2011 Winter Classic, Brandon just had something he had to get off his chest.

Gary got his wish: Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh's idiotic fanbase will host the 2011 Winter Classic.

Gary got his wish: Sidney Crosby and his weeny terrible towel will be hosting the 2011 Winter Classic.

The Washington Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the latest edition of the hockey classic at an outdoor arena.

The two teams will play on New Year’s Day 2011 at Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This is an annoying development, of course, for the possibility that the Penguins fans will want to wave Terrible Towels at the hockey game. Terrible Towels are puny hand towels that Steelers fans wave with fury at home games.

So I have a suggestion for any Capital fans planning to make the trip to Pittsburgh. Capitals fans should come up with their own version of Terrible Towels that will mock and irk intellectually inferior Penguins fans to no end.

I propose every Capitals fan who travels to Pittsburgh should bring the biggest red beach towels they can find and wave them at tailgate parties. It would be a symbol of Washington’s financial superiority to rundown Pittsburgh. After all, beach towels are bigger and more expensive than hand towels.

If Penguins fans ask what you are doing, simply point out that you thought everyone was supposed to wave towels inside Heinz Field. Then wad up your towel and beat the Penguins fan over the head with it. What are they going to do? Strike back with a Terrible Towel?

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Tonight if you were like us, you sat in front of your TV, ate smoked salmon with a fork and laughed at Pittsburgh’s unlikely demise to the Habs. Sure, it totally sucked when the Capitals lost in the first round to this rag-tag group of “team players” from North of the Border. But after seeing Sid the Kid fail the ultimate test tonight (boarding penalty 10 seconds in which led to Habs first goal of the game, 0 points, -2), maybe – just maybe – this talk that Sidney Crosby is by far and away the best player in the game can die down a bit.

Really, SI?

Moving forward, please consider Alex Ovechkin’s Game 7 performance against the Canadiens in comparison: 10 shots, 1 assist and a clutch GTG that was uhhh questionably disallowed.

Sometimes another man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. And tonight that pain felt by Pens fans was the perfect tonic for this man’s broken heart.

Great Moments in Signage History

Tonight during Montreal’s huuuge 3-2 victory over the Penguins, Versus blessed us with this shot of the crowd after Montreal netted the go ahead goal.

Sidney Crosby is a Douche.
Ouch. En Francais, I think this means Crosby needs a shower.

With the Habs tying up the series 2-2 tonight, could a second upset be in the works? I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: Though I hate the Canadiens, they are clearly the better of two evils here. Let’s go Nads!

If you need a close-up of the sign, click below! Also, special thanks to James W. for the photos.

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The Sweep! Caps Beat Pens 6-3!

Caps Sweep The Pens (Image by Jack Reickel)

Thanks, Jack Reickel, for the amazing picture!

It seems the Caps of old are back. The last few weeks, really ever since the Olympic break, the team has lacked its luster. But in this fourth and final game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals brought a ton of heart and their signature roll-call scoring with them.

Thanks to goals from Alex Semin, Mike Knuble, Tomas Fleischmann, Matt Bradley, and then two more from some other guy, the Caps emerged victorious. Maybe it’s the Penguins are flagging late in the season, or maybe the Caps really are the better team. Watching the despondent faces of Pens fans trickling out of Mellon Arena, it doesn’t matter much to me; I’m just happy.

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