Aaaand We’re Back: Bolts beat Caps 6-3

Photo credit Scott Audette

Photo credit: Scott Audette

Welcome back, everybody! After 250+ days, we’ve finally got new Capitals hockey to watch and kinda enjoy. I say kinda because these Capitals, whom those not dissuaded by cliché might call the new-look Caps, didn’t have their act together on Saturday. Opening the season in Tampa, the Capitals had troubles with even-strength offense and all kinds of special-teams stuff.

Eric Brewer scored the first anti-Caps goal of the year with an outside shot that caught Holtby screened by his own defenders. Joel Ward tied it up with a first-period powerplay goal assisted by Tom “Iron Groin” Poti. That tie was shortlived, as Vincent Lecavalier exploited a defensive breakdown by Holtby & co. to score an easy one.

Joel Ward recorded a second goal to tie the game early in the second period, but Martin St. Louis restored the Tampa lead with a powerplay sweep-in a few minutes later. Wojtek Wolski ingratiated himself to Caps fans with a crucial four-on-four goal late in the second, knocking a rebound past Anders Lindbäck.

Martin St. Louis got his second of the night, a heartbreaking  shot from outside during a third-period 5 on 3. Cory Conacher scored the first goal of his career, also the night’s proverbial dagger, on a 3-on-1 breakaway. Ryan Malone scored on the powerplay to make it painfully obvious that the Caps were gonna lose.

Bolts beat Caps 6-3.

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Squandered Opportunity: Bolts beat Caps 4-2

Stamkos signs autographs on the red carpet pregame. Also: WTF? (Photo credit: Scott Audette)

The Washington Capitals began the final week of their (regular) season with a road game with the Tampa Bay Lightning. That team who swept the Caps out of the playoffs last year, looked like that same team from last May.

Alex Semin missed an empty net, but scored on a lovely one-timer just seconds later. Teddy Purcell tied it up with a powerplay tally, and then Tom Pyatt deflected a Hedman shot in Neuvy’s net just half a minute later. Jason Chimera crashed the net and tied it up with three minutes left, but Steven Stamkos gave the Bolts the lead again with 63 seconds left. Then Stamkos got the empty netter and that was that. Bolts beat Caps 4-2.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Final Sprint

Saturday’s win over the Canadiens was way too close, but two points were gained and that is all that matters. Now, in this final week of the regular season, six points remain available. The Caps kinda need all of those if they want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

That means getting two tonight in Tampa.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Alex Ovechkin already owns the Capitals’ franchise record for overtime game-winning goals, and he extended that record tonight with his overtime winner against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ovechkin now has 12 career OTGWG, including two in the last five games, the most of any player since he entered the league.

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OV Time, Caps beat Bolts 3-2 (OT)

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

This final game of the homestand, a division face-off between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning held the highest of stakes. A win would keep the Capitals competitive in the playoff race. A loss would make things bleak. How did it go down?

Well, Keith Aucoin scored the game’s first goal, a very lucky deflection off Karl Alzner’s shot. Ryan Malone evened it up with a power-play skate deflection. John Carlson delivered the own-goal for Purcell to give Tampa a lead going into the third.

With less than five minutes to go, Marcus Johansson nabbed a bad clear and beat the rookie goaltender. Tie game. Into overtime, which was OV time. Caps beat Bolts 3-2.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

In the second period of the Caps home game against Tampa, Lightning forward Brett Connolly got hit with an ugly one-two play when he was tied up in the corner by Dmitry Orlov, and Mike Green came in hard and hit him high, making contact to Connolly’s head with his forearm. Video is below the jump.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Five Minutes To Midnight

Doug Johnson writes for Puck Buddys. And because we have the microfilm in a safety deposit box somewhere, he writes for us as well. Follow @PuckBuddys or we start executing hostages.

The Pregame: Hey now; any you guys see that show on the teevees, “Doomsday Peppers” or something? You know, the one where seemingly pleasant enough, if overwhelmingly white people happily share their crackpot theories of why the world will end any minute now and how they’ll survive by stocking their compounds with bullets and pig dung? Good times.

Meanwhile we in America’s Hockey’s Capital are not so much having da good times of late. I’m thinking closer to the pig dung. Or better – remember those snobby nuclear scientists with their finger-waggling about nuclear Armageddon, bringing us down during the happy heydays of Ronald Reagan and “Family Ties” with their elitist Doomsday Clock? (Kiddies: go look it up while we drink our Metamucil.)

Yeah. Sitting here, looking at Thursday’s game and the remainder of the season, it feels like five minutes to midnight…with the clock ticking. And here’s us, without a stockpile.

Want more feel good snuggles?  Keep reading.

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Trade: Steve Downie Somehow Turns Into a First-Round Pick

If we had entitled this “Steve Downie Involved in Three-Way”, you never would have clicked on it, but that’s exactly what happened this afternoon. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Tampa Bay has traded Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey, and then traded Kyle Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings for a first-round draft pick and prospect Sebastien Piche.

Steve Downie has a cap hit of $1,850,000 and will bring with him his charming personality and 121 season penalty minutes, while the Detroit has acquired Quincey and his $3,125,000 cap hit, who they originally drafted in 2003, and lost on waivers in 2008.

We’re obviously very broken up about Steve Downie leaving the division and will deeply miss seeing his face six times a year. We’ll make it through this somehow. The real question is, who’s going to tell Semyon Varlamov about his new teammate?

Trade: Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia


Photo credit: Elsa Allen

According to TSN, Pavel Kubina has been traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Philadelpha Flyers for a second and a fourth-round draft pick. The club has made it no secret that he was on the block, keeping veteran defenseman Kubina off the ice this week for multiple games, including the game played against the Capitals tonight while they looked for a buyer.

Kubina has a cap hit of $3,850,000 and was likely acquired to shore up Philadelphia’s defense with key player Chris Pronger out of the lineup long-term with a concussion. Philadelphia has already acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars this week but that didn’t seem to stop them from making a bid for Kubina; we assume this is because your average defenseman is worth about one half of a Chris Pronger.

Bolts beat Caps 2-1, Mike Green Returns

Photo credit: Mike Carlson

The Washington Capitals ended their vacation in America’s unit by mixing it up with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game featured the return of Mike Green to active duty and Mike Knuble to the top line, but precious little else.

Just 130 seconds in, a neutral-ice turnover by Dmitry Orlov led to Tom Pyatt’s puck dribbling past Vokoun. Just 110 seconds into the second period, a turnover by Matt Hendricks led to Steven Stamkos’s breakaway and the 40th goal of his season. Brooks Laich redirected a Matthieu Perreault pass into the weak side of the Tampa net to make it 2-1. A Marcus Johansson penalty nixed the team’s chances at a comeback.

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