Party animal celebrates career achievement (Photo: @myregularface)

Twice this week the Capitals faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, maybe the best team in the east, and twice the Capitals have won. At home on Saturday night, the Caps played a steady game on unsteady ice. With a solid backstop and the consensus most underrated player in the league, the Caps seemed to have it sewn up until a late volley by the Bolts made it scary.

Both teams emerged scoreless from a power-play-packed first period, then Nick Backstrom struck twice in the second– both times up close. Backstrom earned the natural hat trick with a wrister from the slot in the third. Tyler Johnson ended the shutout in the final five minutes, and then Matthew Carle made it scary with a wrister super late.

But Eric Fehr got the empty netter because he’s bacon bits.

Caps beat Bolts 4-2! Backtrick!

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Caps vs Lightning Pregame: The Ice Cheetah’s Scratch

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.07.18 PM

From Caps Instagram, which I want to call Capstagram, but I won’t.

The Capitals’ last game against the Tampa Bay Lightning was probably the best of the season, an encouraging 5-3 win over a good opponent on the road. Now the Caps are home, the winning streak is dead, and we look to claim another pelt from what might be the best team in the league.

Unless you’ve got tickets, you’ll be tuning in with me at 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 13-10-5 51.2% 99.1 27.8% 75.9%
Tampa Bay Lightning 19-8-3 53.9% 101.0 18.3% 81.6%

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It’s a peculiar character trait that, sometimes, after having tempted the Fates only to inexplicably emerge unscathed and victorious, one seeks not only to dare the test again, but to do so confidently, even buoyantly. I first knew this the moment after I went skydiving – solo, there were no tandems back then – and mere moments after touching back to Earth I eagerly began planning the next date to fling myself out of an airplane that was perfectly sound.

Such is my mood today as we head into our second tilt in a week against Tampa Bay. Tuesday’s match was a thriller, to be sure, and one that I’m not so sure we had all that locked up. We played like champs nearly the entire 60 minutes, and hooray, we won and bailamoed. Three in a row and we looked great.

But sometimes greatness is a quirk; or worse, a passing wind that blows in only to melt away into the uncaring ether. So poetry.

Hey, we’re going to the game tonight– for that and more I would lurve to see a repeat performance. But the Bolts are still a really good team– consistently so. They’re really just so infuriatingly consistent that I don’t feel like tempting the Fates further by mocking Tampa Bay as being a city so old that “boarding” nearly always appears next to the word “shuffle.” I mean, the GOP 2012 convention actually lowered the city’s median age for about a week is all I’m saying. But not tempting fate.

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Screen: @myregularface

The Washington Capitals came in like a wrecking ball to Amelie Arena, beating the beast of the east Tampa Bay Lightning in convincing fashion for the team’s third straight win.

Alex Ovechkin scored 40 seconds in, tapping in a pass from Tom Wilson. Brian Boyle, who must love playing against the Caps, tied it up later that period, but Matt Niskanen’s power-play marker restored the Cap lead before the intermission.

Steven Stamkos scored a tricky one from the slot to knot it up in the second, but Brooks Laich’s hardscrabble effort put the Caps up again before the third period.

The Bolts looked fierce in the third, but Troy Brouwer put ’em in a two-goal hole with an even-strength wrister midway through. The Lightning got a goal in garbage time, but then Ovi also got one in garbage time and I give up.

Caps beat Bolts 5-3! Flawless road trip! Let’s dance.

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Caps at Lightning Pregame: Top-Line Inertia


From the Spoked Blog

The Washington Capitals have won three in a row just once this season– from November 7 to 11. Suiting up in Tampa tonight against one of the best teams in the league, the Caps will have a chance to go for three again. It won’t be easy.

Catch us at 7:30 PM as we follow along, begging quietly for some top-line offense. Game’s on CSN, so Joe B better be wearing something pretty for me.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 12-10-4 51.7% 99.0 28.2% 75.3%
Tampa Bay Lightning 18-7-3 54.8% 101.3 22.7% 80.4%

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Lightning beat Caps 4-3: Blurghghrhghlgh

Scott Iskowitz

Photo: Scott Iskowitz

The Washington Capitals are way better than their record shows, but it still ain’t showing up in the standings. A thrilling defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night extends that patterns and tests our patience, but at least it was fun to watch.

Ryan Callahan returned from injury tonight and scored right away with a fancy redirect between his legs. The Caps tied it up when Marcus Johansson scored on a rebound off a hero effort by Alex Ovechkin.

The second period was a back-and-forth affair. Eric Fehr scored after a blistering attack (told ya so), but the Bolts tied it up with a pretty passing play punctuated by Palat. It looked like the Bolts would have the lead going into the third, but Brouwer scored off a perfect tee-up by Johansson during a late-period power play.

Jason Garrison scored off a faceoff early in the third, the deflection going off Nick Backstrom’s skates. The Caps couldn’t get it one.

Lightning beat Caps 4-3.

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Caps at Lightning Pregame: Ovi’s Gotta Score, Or Else

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I don’t like the Capitals’ record so far, but I’m like cosmically certain they’re a really good team. They’ll have another chance to prove it with tonight’s match-up against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are also a really good team. Holtby’s in net versus Ben Bishop. Tune in at 7 PM on CSN+.

(Yeah, it’s on the plus.)

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-3-2 54.4% 100.8 24.2% 79.4%
Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3-1 54.0% 100.0 26.2% 87.1%

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End of an Era: Bolts beat Caps 1-0 (Shootout)

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

Whimper. The Washington Capitals put in a perfunctory effort in their final game of the 2013-14 season. Hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at home for Fan Appreciation Day, the Caps showed very little intensity in a goalless defeat.

After forty minutes, the Caps had hardly mustered just seven shots– a season lowJay Beagle was back at Alex Ovechkin‘s flank. Braden Holtby was overworked but perfect. The third line was better than everybody else. The team couldn’t reach a result in #rego or overtime, so we went to the shootout for the 21st time– a new league record.

That last paragraph could’ve applied to dozens of Caps games this season. Fitting it all happened today; just another reminder what you don’t want out of your hockey team.

To the Washington Capitals of 2013-14: I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.

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Eric Fehr Ends the Freezeout! Caps beat Bolts 4-3

crombeen sad - Mike Carlson

Aw. Someone give Crombeen a hug. (Photo: Mike Carlson)

Brr. It’s cold in here. I said there must be some unwise line combinations in the atmosphere. Since the Caps’ last game, the entire continent froze. If you’re reading this in the tri-state, there’s a 37.3% chance (also Aaron Volpatti’s Corsi %) that the pipes in your house are about to burst. But the thaw has finally begun, and the Caps shook off this painfully extended metaphor with their first victory in thirteen days, a tightly wound win over the Bolts sans Stamkos.

Youngling Tyler Johnson scored on a breakaway early in the first, but the Caps struck back thricewise. First, Alex Ovechkin set up Eric Fehr for a sneaky one to beat Anders Lindback on the Caps’ second shot of the game. Then, Mikhail Grabovski tipped in Mike Green’s slot shot during the PP. And, before the period was out, Marcus Johansson stuffed a second powerplay goal.

In the second period B.J. Crombeen scored his first of the season to make it a one-goal game around the halfway mark.

The Bolts took control of the ice in the third, tying it up with a tricky deflection off the stick of Ondrej Palat. Eric Fehr did the hero thing with some English up front in the final minute of regulation.

Caps beat Bolts 4-3! 

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Why We Watch: Caps beat Bolts 6-5 (SO)! Alex. Ovechkin.

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

Missing one of the league’s best shooters in Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning might look weak to some. Their goal totals in recent games haven’t exactly been terrifying. And yet, the Bolts found a way to thoroughly exploit the Capitals in the first twenty minutes of Tuesday’s game. One individual Capitals performance was at fault for a lot of that trouble, but where one falters, another steps up. Alex Ovechkin put together one of his best games ever to hoist his team into– not just a close game– but one of the most exciting in recent history.

First, Mike Green committed a penalty and the Lightning scored. Then, Mike Green committed a penalty and the Lightning scored. Then, in a Shyamalany plot twist, Mike Green was on-ice when the Lightning scored. Holtby was like, “Sick of you, Mike,” and he peaced out; Grubauer in. Alex Ovechkin put the team on the board with an instant-score following a faceoff.

Okay, buckle up. Here we go.

Troy Brouwer proved unable, so Nick Backstrom finished off the powerplay for him. Then, Alex Ovechkin happened. After Richard Panik earned a 5-minute major for boarding Karl Alzner, the Russian machine made Tampa pay. Twice. First, he laid up a cross-ice pass from Marcus Johansson, then he took a one-timer from Green to tie the game. Hats rained down. Another three-goal second period for the Washington Capitals.

Ondrej Palat put the Bolts back up in the third, taking advantage of some observational Capitals defense, but the Caps weren’t done. With the Caps net empty, Alex Ovechkin struck again, scoring his 4th goal of the night. HIS FOURTH FOARTH GOAL OF THE NIGHT.

Overtime proved unable to decide the game, and thus:

Shootout bullets!

  • Eric Fehr scores and didn’t even crack a smile.
  • Filppula was denied.
  • The puck rolled on Ovi, who didn’t get greedy.
  • Kucherov tucked it past Grubauer.
  • Backy’s puck hit the post and bounced out.
  • Grubi pokechecked the hell out of Martin St Louis.
  • Grabo’s grab bag of tricks is deep, and he converts.
  • Teddy Purcell roofed it to keep the shootout going.
  • Troy Brouwer redeemed with a roofer!
  • Palat blocked!

Caps beat Bolts 6-5 in the shootout. EPIC COMEBACK! AND HOW ABOUT THAT ALEX OVECHKIN?!

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