First rule of hockey writing: if there’s a photo of a guy hit in the junk, USE IT. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

The Florida Panthers were still coming down off blowing out Tampa 7-4 when they showed up for their game with the Washington Capitals. That big win must have taken a lot out of them, ’cause they just didn’t show up to play on Tuesday.

Three penalty killers gravitated to Alex Ovechkin, leaving Marcus Johansson enough space to score his third of the season. Early in the third period, Alex Semin effortlessly ripped the puck far side to make it 2-0. With an empty net, Alex Semin fed goal-scoring leader Jason Chimera, who lobbed it in for the coup de graceCaps beat Cats 3-0.

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Is Arnott happy or angry he scored? (Photo credit: AP)

Thanks to tallies authored by the two Alexes Wednesday, the Capitals opened up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime victory. Who would pot the goals in game two? Um, obviously the Jasons.

After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich decided to hold a forechecking clinic at 2:11 of the second period, taking on towering Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy. After being knocked to his keister not once — but twice — Laich pushed the biscuit with only one hand on his stick to Marcus Johansson. Mojo — acutely aware of all of his surroundings — immediately sent a tape-to-tape pass to Jason Chimera, who roofed the puck high and glove side past a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.

1:57 later while on the power play, Jason Arnott would win a face-off. Alex Semin then passed it back to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovechkin, when pressured by a Ranger penalty-killer, skated across the blue line with the puck and fed Mike Green who was rotating down to the slot. Green then wound up to the sky with all his fury and released a slap shot. Gilroy blocked the attempt both with his skate and stick. Unfortunately for him, the muffed puck then deflected across the ice directly onto the blade of Jason Arnott’s twig, who was skating towards the net already looking for a rebound. As Lundqvist panicked and made a quick move to block the right corner of the net, Arnott made a veteran move and waited as he fell down and then shot the puck past. ANGRY SCOAR FACE.

That would be all she wrote. Michal Neuvirth would get his first career playoff shutout. Caps beat Rangers, 2-0!

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The Holtby Shutout

Jason Arnott congratulates Braden Holtby after registering his first NHL shutout

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

I was in attendance the other night when Braden Holtby made NHL history. You see, the Washington Capitals are now the the only team to have three goalies — all 22-years old or younger — to pitch a shutout in the same season. It was electric. The Phone Booth was chanting “Holt-by! Holt-by! Holt-by!” Unfortunately, as the three stars were about to be announced, all I could think was: does he really deserve a star?

Before this gets off on the wrong foot, I realize that a NHL shutout is a great accomplishment. Since the lockout, there have been only 491 of them in regulation, and as I said before, no team has ever seen so many from such young tenders before. I also know Holtby is a talented goalie. After all, we here at RMNB have been referred to as the world’s foremost authority on the young netminder. But let’s put this in a little perspective.

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Thrashers beat Caps 1-0, Shutout Number Seven


Here’s a picture of Ovechkin eating snow for the billionth time. (Photo credit: Scott Cunningham)

To all our friends stuck on the roads during this crazy #thundersnow storm, safe travels. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

So the final game for the Washington Capitals before the All-Star break found them meeting the Atlanta Thrashers in the not-so-balmy temperatures of Georgia. It did not go well.

Nik Antropov settled a lucky bounce in the Caps zone, leading to an easy goal against Semyon Varlamov. That was it. No other goals. Shutout for Ondrej Pavelec. Thrashers beat Caps 1-0.

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FOR FRAK SAKE: Bolts beat Caps 3-0


Just lie down, Schultzy. It’ll all be over soon. (Photo credit: Scott Audette)

In Paddy Chayesfsky’s Network, seasoned newsman Howard Beale has a nervous breakdown on live television. At the height of frustration, he compels his viewers to open up their windows and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Don’t know why that popped into my head just now.

The Washington Capitals’ appointment with the Tampa Bay Lightning was supposed to be an impassioned affair: two tied Southeast teams battling for the division lead. That did not happen. The Caps, perhaps reeling from last night’s overtime loss to the Panthers, never really suited up. The ever-improving Lightning took control of the game and never relented.

Dominic Moore waited for the power play to end before scoring, exploiting some lazy defensive work by Washington. Sean Bergenheim followed up with a home-run swing at one of Semyon Varlamov’s flying rebounds. And then Simon Gagne grabbed a loose puck and beat the overwhelmed Varly on the breakaway. The Caps didn’t even try. Bolts beat Caps 3-0.

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Bolts beat Caps 1-0 (OT), Goalies’ Stats Say Thanks

hendricks versus downie

Matt Hendricks beats up Steve Downie blindfolded. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

The Washington Capitals hoped the Winter Classic buzz wouldn’t interfere with their hometown appointment with Southeast rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. With both teams sitting atop the division, the stakes were high, even if the game lacked the theatrics of Saturday’s Hustle at Heinz.

Unfortunately, the Caps couldn’t set off any offensive fireworks. After a sleepy first period, the red team started mounting a real effort, but they never beat 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson, just acquired from the Islanders. In overtime, it was another vet, Martin St. Louis, who finally put a puck past Semyon Varlamov, a tasty rebound off Vincent Lacavalier. At least we got one standings point. Bolts beat Caps 1-0 (OT).

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Varly Triumphs, Caps beat Habs 3-0


Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

The Washington Capitals finally met their playoff pals, the Montreal Canadiens, for the first time since that awful, awful night. Recently de-Halak‘d, the Habs remain a formidable team and one that the Caps had no trouble getting amped up to face.

Hershey import Jay Beagle got on the big board first with a stunning no-look, behind-the-back, knick-knack, paddywack shot over Carey Price’s shoulder. Mike Green took a  freight train into a timing play to make it 2-0 off a Nicky Backstrom pass. The score was unchanged until Price abdicated his throne, which is like chumming the water to a shark like Alex Ovechkin. His empty netter finalized the score. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Rangers beat Caps 7-0: Initiate Panic Protocol

I’ll meet you at the bottom if there really is one / They always told me, “when you hit it, you’ll know it” / But I’ve been falling so long, it’s like gravity is gone, and I’m just floating
– Drive-by Truckers

RECAP: Six losses in a row. The season’s fourth shutout. Bad defense, worse offense. Seven goals against. Ovechkin fought. Caps and Rangers tied at 19 scoring chances. Hannan minus-7 SC differential. Hendricks minus-5.[END RECAP.]

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Unleash the Futility:* Panthers beat Caps 3-0

Florida Scores. Ugh.

Slumber party. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

There’s no way the Capitals can lose four in a row, especially if three of the four are held in the friendly climes of Chinatown. Against the Florida Panthers– improbable. With eight powerplay opportunities– inconceivable. Shut out– should be impossible.

Prepare to have your minds blown.

We were scoreless until one second remained in the second period. Michael Frolik plopped a loose puck into a wide-open net. Halfway into the third period, Steve Bernier shoved in another loose puck after two failed attempts. Mike Santorelli converted on a late-game powerplay in a similar breakdown. That’s it. That’s the whole dang scoring recap. You didn’t even see a Capitals player in this paragraph, did you? Panthers beat Caps 3-0.

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Shutouts With Five Goals Against Are Rare

David Steckel skates away after another Devils goal.

How bad is bad? (Photo credit: Andy Marlin)

Getting shut out twice in three games is bad, but when they both involve giving up five goals against it is definitely no laughing matter. All teams, even Cup contenders, eventually have to pick up their socks, but how often does it get this bad?

In the last two years there have been 2,460 regular season games played. In that time a 5-0 shut out by the home team has happened only 12 times. The visiting team has accomplished this feat only five times, making five-zip shutouts as a whole rare birds indeed.

But how often should it happen against a team as good as the Washington Capitals?
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