Cancelling the Apocalypse: Caps beat Blues 4-1

Brou Oshie

Brouillette rides Oshie through the defensive zone. (Photo: Tom Gannam)

Put your knives away for one more night. The Washington Capitals played a tough road game against the St Louis Blues and came out victorious. Thanks to the novel concept of top-six forwards playing in the top six, the Caps survived an elimination game against a great opponent.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in the first period, a signature Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. The Blues, who dominated even-strength play, got one of their own off Maxim LaPierre’s stick early in the second period, but Mikhail Grabovski fired a slapshot from the faceoff dot to restore the Caps lead a bit later. Ovechkin served up Nick Backstrom for a rare even-strength goal late in the second period, creating a two-goal lead going into the third period. Uh oh.

Okay, relax. Backstrom unleashed a wrister from the circles early in the third.

Caps beat Blues 4-1. Staying Alive!

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Hockey hug - Alex Brandon

Guy behind the glass at left is my favorite. (Photo: Alex Brandon)

With a decisive win over the St Louis Blues on Sunday, the Washington Capitals took the Metropolitan Division lead, vaulted Alex Ovechkin to the top of the NHL scoring leaders list, picked a peck of pickles, padded Braden Holtby’s stats,  improved their power-play conversion rate, got Nick Backstrom an entire apple cart full of assists, Frank Stallone, and fended off a strong possession team desperate for a comeback.

Not bad for a Sunday night.

Alex Ovechkin’s first period: dang. Nick Backstrom tapped the puck to him, and he proved that with a little speed and a little space he is better than any goalie in the league. Then he put a little backhand chip shot on a rebound to make it 2-0 and tie St Louis’ Alex Steen for the league lead. Mikhail Grabovski swatted a mid-air rebound off a Jason Chimera shot to make it 3-0 and get Halak pulled.

Vladimir Sobotka capitalized on a second-power power play to keep St Louis’ league-best power play atop the lists. John Carlson got the Capitals special teams a goal of their own a few minutes later, getting a long bomb past Brian Elliott somehow.

Nothing in the third.

Caps beat Blues 4-1! Caps take the Metro lead! Ovi is Ovi!

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St Louis Blues Fan on Pinterest (Photo)

Thanks to two Ovechkin goals, the Capitals are up 2-0 in the first period, so maybe this is understandable.

Then again, no it’s not.

Then again again, at least Verizon Center is getting good cell signal!

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Alex Steen is Great, Alex Ovechkin is Greater

steen leader

Alexander Steen leads the NHL in offense. He’s got 17 goals and 9 assists in 18 games– including a 13-game point streak. He should be congratulated for that.

la dee

La dee freaking da.

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Blues beat Caps 2-1, Dale Hunter’s Debut as Coach

 Photo credit: Nick Wass

Photo credit: Nick Wass

Dale Hunter hoped to lead the Washington Capitals to victory in his first game as head coach. He’d have to go through Jaroslav Halak to get there, but more importantly he’d have to get a flagging Capitals offense moving.

Alex Ovechkin threaded the needle, setting up Nick Backstrom to record the first goal of the game. T.J. Oshie cleaned up a Alex Steen’s slapshot to tie the score at 1-1. Matt D’Agostini caught a lucky bounce and wrapped it around to give St. Louis the lead. Despite a late-game flurry, it ended like that. Blues beat Caps 2-1.

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St. Louis Blues Pregame: East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Jamie Sabau

David Backes. (Photo credit: Jamie Sabau)

Doug Johnson of the PuckBuddys writes. Follow @PuckBuddys on Twitter.

The Unhappy and Unfunny Edition

The Pre-Game Practice

So. Anything happen over your holiday weekend?

Oof. Coach Juggles was jiggled out of the Caps hierarchy sometime late last week, so go the reports. But those who wielded the ax only announced it Monday morning. As if on Sunday we didn’t suspect our Regent would be decapitated; or that on Monday, after the quartering, they would all just expect us to blandly melt back into the blah-blah of our desperate little lives.

There’s been plenty of blah online in the last 36 hours, and in general on the Caps bench this season. Fine. But do not number us, your humble PuckBuddys, as among those celebrating the call for Boudreau’s head.

It is the right of every sovereign to decapitate those they wish…or at least was, in Elizabeth’s days. But who are we kidding? Today, it’s the unquestioned right of every sovereign owner of an NHL franchise – your Majesty – to chop off the head of any servant they see fit. Assuming they can buy out their contract.

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Semin Dishes, Arnott Scores: Caps Edge Blues 3-2

Ovechkin celebrates win

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The new-look Washington Capitals are certainly getting things done. And for the second time in as many games trade deadline pick-up Jason Arnott was the key to the Caps victory.

“They are great guys, experienced guys,” said Nicklas Backstrom, referring to the new acquisitions. “They have been in this league for a long time. They are great players too. I think that is what we need on this team. And hopefully we can just get as much advice and get together as a group before the playoff.”

The Capitals controlled the play early on, outshooting St. Louis five-to-one at the eight minute mark of the contest. However, it was the Blues who struck first as Alexander Steen converted on a three-on-two odd man rush at 11:25. Late in the first period, the teams began to ramp-up the physical play as Matt Bradley and Tyson Strachan dropped the gloves. Bradley ended the bout with a bang as he delivered three straight right hooks to Strachan’s noggin, sending him down to ice.

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Video: Matt Bradley Knocks Out Tyson Strachan

Brads gets an entire post dedicated to this awesome first period knockout of Tyson Strachan because 90% of his fights he ends up looking like this. S/T to @ProffessorBrads.

Happy Hanukkah! Caps beat Blues 4-1

Semyon Varlamov: intense.

Varlamov takes on all comers. (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

[Ed. note: Peter has a fever and is kind of loopy. Go easy on him.]

Jaroslav Halak gets scored on (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

Halak defeated thanks to Brooks Laich. (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

Tonight the Washington Capitals had their first chance to exact vengeance on Jaroslav Halak since he shut the Caps down in the playoffs. Now suiting up with the St. Louis Blues, Halak is the most foreboding embodiment of the Capitals’ postseason woes besides perhaps the Caps themselves. In an uneven effort, the Caps managed to exorcise- at least partially- those Halak-faced demons. But the big story was Semyon Varlamov, who padded his highlight reel with some improbable, firecracker saves.

Brooks Laich scored a PPG on the Caps second shot of the night, a high puck right up in Halak’s face. Boyd Gordon recorded his first tally of the year by Jedi-mind-tricking Halak to bobble the puck in himself for the second time this year. The Blues woke up with a screened spin-shot from Alexander Steen that Varly never saw coming. In the third period, Knuble and Backstrom swapped roles: near the paint, 19 converted the rebound off 22′s high-slot slapshot. In the final minute, with the Blues net abdicated, Alex Ovechkin gave Nick Backstrom the empty-net goal layup. Caps beat Blues 4-1.

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DJ King fights Derek Boogard

Conventional wisdom around the blogosphere was that the Capitals’ offseason needs included a second-line center and shutdown defenseman. So tonight it was a bit of a shock when it was announced that the Caps acquired rugged right wing D.J. King from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect Stefan Della Rovere.

Yeah: WTF!?!

It’s a curious move, one that comes in response to coincidentally coincides with Max Talbot calling Alex Ovechkin a “real douche”.

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