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.
Weird bounces, Long goal reviews & Floating Pucks. What a fun night. (Photos by Nick Wass)
Funny isn’t it that the Capitals and Bruins will meet twice in the last week of the regular season before playing one another in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If tonight’s game sets a precedence for next week, we’re due for some entertaining hockey.
Tonight’s victory over Boston saw goals from fan favorites Nicky Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Books Laich, who secured the overtime gamewinner. Despite the everpresent physicality of Zdeno Chara’s bleeding nose and the dynamism of Patrice Bergeron, the Caps emerged victorious. Three games or bust.
We’ve dwindled down to the final five games of the season, but despite the doldrums, the Capitals showed up to play tonight. Even if most of the viewing audience was busied with the NCAA basketball tournament, this rare meeting of the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets was solid hockey. Columbus came out extremely hard, seemingly ignorant of the fact that the team was gutted at the trade deadline, their head coach has been fired, key players are hurt and the team is 12 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot.
The “Blazers” as Joe Beninatii constantly referred to them as, had odd man rushes all night long, but failed to convert almost every time because of solid goaltending from Jose Theodore or generally poor execution. Columbus’ wealth of penalties seemed to doom any chance for them to reach a crucial early lead. And despite the Capitals giving up a third period tally – which forced Bruce Boudreau to call a timeout and have an expletive-filled dress down of the team – the Blue Jackets could not force Overtime. Thus leading to the Capitals making history.
On March 10, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
He didn't score, but he always makes for a good photo! (Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)
For the second time in consecutive nights, the Caps allowed a 2-0 game go to overtime. Tonight’s battle with the Hurricanes found the Caps continuing to struggle with the penalty kill, but a superlative effort from Mike Green and an overtime goal from Tomas Fleischmann earned the red team the win.
The Caps clearly have not yet returned to their pre-Olympic break heights. The top line is whiffing on the crease-cluttered opportunities they used to exploit. The penalty kill unit gave up only one goal on four chances tonight, but they’re still not operating at full capacity. The usual suspects (*Cough*Semin*Cough*) are still committing penalties and surrendering pucks with alarming frequency. Fixing these problems will be crucial not only in the post-season, but in the next few weeks to secure the President’s Trophy.
Everything is right in the world. Let’s put behind us the Olympic tournament, the three-game slide, and the trade chaos. For the next few paragraphs, let us just enjoy the Washington Capitals’ solid 3-1 win over Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres. It wasn’t a barnburner or anything, but after the last few weeks we can appreciate a win that is not coincident with hypertension.
Hockey fans everywhere now turn their lonely eyes to the General Managers. Nearly every club in the NHL wants to make some kind of move, and the Washington Capitals are no exception. Who’s packing a bag? Who’s coming to DC? Let’s take a look!
Alex Ovechkin + Olympics = Happy. (Shaun Best/Reuters)
Tonight, RMNB is pleased to present our first translated interview from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Earlier today, Sovsport.ru caught up with Alexander Ovechkin after Team Russia’s Morning Skate and posed The Great Eight questions about one of Russia’s biggest rivals in the Olympics: The Czech Republic and their enigmatic superstar Jaromir Jagr. Many people have been overlooking the Czechs in the Olympics, but don’t lump the Russian Machine into that group.
The Czech Republic has been a huge thorn in Team Russia’s side over the past decade. They beat the Russians 1-0 in 1998’s Nagano Winter Games to win Olympic Gold behind the stellar play of Dominik Hasek. And then they kicked the Ruskies completely off the podium in the 2006 Olympics, beating Team Russia 3-0 to win Bronze in Torino.
Below the jump, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin translates the interview between Ovechkin and Sovsport. Find out how Ovi compares himself to Jagr in his prime, what the Czech’s chances are to win the Olympics and his opinion on fellow Caps Tomas Fleischmann and Michal Neuvirth .
On February 11, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Sasha's Compete Level = Meh. Nets Hat Trick & Assist in Loss anyways. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals officially have a defensive crisis. Despite an offensive onslaught, the Capitals allowed (at least) one too many goals in tonight’s match-up with the Senators. With Tom Poti and Shaone Morrisonn out, Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan did their best to fill in. They failed. The defense seemed incapable of winning battles in the corners or clearing the puck, and the offense seemed too concerned with goal-scoring to be bothered with work in their own zone. These are not new problems for the Caps, but they have worsened in the last five or six games. Led by Alexei Kovalev and Jason Spezza, Ottawa seized on the Capitals’ weakness to win the night. Sens Beat Caps 6-5.
It’s hard not to sound like an amateur here. There are expectations when committing a game to print. We must write with a detached, sober tone befitting the excellent journalistic standards demanded by our audience.
Well, screw that noise. Tonight’s game deserves hollerin’, and hollerin’ is what we will give it. It’s not often that the Caps get a chance to redeem themselves against their biggest rival. It’s been only eight months since Washington sputtered out in that notorious game 7, and the memory is still fresh in our minds. But like Ray, Egon, and Venkman before them, the Washington Capitals have exorcised the ghost of that loss in tonight’s stunning 6-3 game. Vindication is the word you’re looking for.
On January 13, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
If I told you that tonight’s game hinged on Brendan Morrison (no goals since 12/23) and Brooks Laich (no goals since 12/28) scoring, you probably wouldn’t have been optimistic. If I told you that of five back-to-back game pairs, the Caps lost the second game four out of five times, would you have a good outlook for tonight? Well, forget you, dude. The Washington Capitals proved their depth of talent and character in a stunning come-from-behind shootout win over the Florida Panthers.
It could have gone very differently. After last night’s– let’s just call it a hosedown– the Caps could have lost their momentum and zombie-shambled through the rest of their trip down south. One could argue that Tuesday showed the Caps’ self-detonating: losing their composure and revealing their myriad flaws. I think instead they showed grit and character in that loss. The Caps left Tampa last night with some scrap of dignity and, bouyed by Matt Bradley, a renewed sense of teamwork. That spirit was paramount in Sunrise.
The first period opened like we all feared it might. The Panthers led 2-0, and the Caps’ offense was absent. Michal Neuvirth’s puck-stopping came up short. Stop me if you heard this one before. It seemed like Florida would be able to coast to an easy win over thebestteamevertoplaythesportofhockey. But no. Not tonight. Not under the new reign of Captain Alexander Ovechkin and his merry men. The boys mounted an epic and late-brewing comeback, earning a teeth-clenching shootout finish. On the back of Tomas Fleischman, the Caps fought for this win.
If you can’t tell already, this game is the bizarro version of last night’s game. Let’s break it down.