This is a legal hit in Canada.

Heading into tonight’s game, there was no doubt that the Jets’ season was on the line. With a loss, they would fall six points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot — all but essentially eliminating them from the playoff race. “These are games that define your team,” Evander Kane told The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “And we’re going to see what we’re made of.” Sure are.

Predictably, the Jets came out fired-up and scored first. Andrew Ladd tallied his 24th goal of the season on literally a magical backhander. 22 seconds later, the Capitals responded, as Marcus Johansson perfectly placed a slap-pass onto Brooks Laich’s blade and watched him tip it in past a helpless Ondrej Pavelec.

Late in the second period, the Jets regained the lead as Nik Antropov out-worked Ovechkin to the front of the net to flip one past Vokoun. Mathieu “I’m teeny tiny like a leprechaun” Perrault managed to tie the game again on a third period power play. Unfortunately, Dustin Byfuglien and his big rear were too much to handle. Jets beat Caps, 3-2.

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Video: Tomas Vokoun’s Huge Pad Save on Tyler Seguin

Tyler Seguin’s going to be seeing Tomas Vokoun in his nightmares.

He certainly wasn’t the only Bruin to have a sure thing stolen by the Capitals goaltender this afternoon in their 4-3 win against the Bruins, but he was victimized by Vokoun on two quality chances today, the best of which was when the Czech netminder went to the splits and denied a perfectly-placed Seguin shot with his left pad.

Follow us past the jump to watch Vokoun’s flashy game-saver.

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Recap: Caps Beat Bruins 4-3, Jay Beagle For Hart

Good dog! (Photo credit: Brian Babineau)

Get your time machines. We’ve got to go tell the Caps from November to play exactly like this right here.

Alex Semin collected a rebound in front of the net and Alex Semin Sniped™ the first goal past Tim Thomas. Matt Hendricks got right into the crease and made it 2-0 within 25 seconds. Milan Lucic went five-hole on Vokoun to get the Bruins back in it. Marchand capitalized on an Orlov giveaway to tie the game. League MVP Jay Beagle finished off a sparkly pass from Semin. Brooks Laich scored on the PP–yes, you read that right, he scored on the PP. Boychuk scored with three minutes to go to make it a little uncomfortable. Caps beat Bruins, 4-3.

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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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[Ed. note: Capitals During Wartime has illuminated struggles in Washington leading up to the trade deadline. Read previous installments: Centerless, Road-weary, Negativity, Bruce vs. Dale, and Trending topics.]

By this time Monday, Capitals general manager George McPhee will have already made whatever moves he has deemed wise for the future of his club. With all the prognostication and educated guessing about trade scenarios going around, I have decided not to add any noise to an already muffled signal.

Instead, we conclude this series with a look at two Capitals players who will loom large on Monday in one way or another. Those players are Mike Knuble and Tomas Vokoun.

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Sens beat Caps 5-2, Ovechkin on the Shelf

There’s not much to say, really. The Washington Capitals got their asses kicked thoroughly by the Ottawa Senators.

Erik Karlsson went five-hole on Tomas Vokou to make it 1-0, and Milan Michalek beat Dennis Wideman to make it 2-0.  Number three was Michalek again, who tipped a power play shot to make it 3-0. On another power play, Chris Phillips made it 4-0.

The Caps got serious in the third. John Carlson broke the shutout, and Matty Perreault deflected in a goal off his pretty French Canadian face. But Nick Foligno secured the empty netter. Sens beat Caps 5-2.

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Recap: Caps’ Russian Rockstars Beat Panthers, 2-1


Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter

Two sweet, sweet regulation points.

By winning this game, the Caps pulled within two points of division-leading Florida, and shockingly we were even able to keep them from getting a loser point! We gather this is basically their whole strategy this year, but the Caps are finally starting to crowd their space again. Watch your backs, Florida.

The Caps left Tomas Fleischmann completely open in front of the net to score the game’s first goal. Mike Knuble created some great crease havoc on the power play for Alex Ovechkin to bat it in. Alex Semin fired one of those comets over Theodore to make it a two-Sasha game. Caps win, 2-1. 

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RMNB Week in Review: Ovi is a Rock Star

John Carlson “Zaching.” (Via Captain America’s Twitter)

This week, the Caps went 0-2-0 against the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks. They were outscored 7-6 and used two different goalies while Tomas Vokoun was sick with the flu, recalling Braden Holtby on Monday for his first NHL appearance this season. Sadly, that was all the hockey for the week, and the Caps had three days off so that they could talk about their feelings, bowl with season ticket holders, and get into the “Zaching” trend. Unfortunately, the week ended with Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman getting into it at practice, but nothing heals like winning, so it’s time for the Caps to start doing some of that.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Flyers acquired Nicklas Grossman and the Sharks acquired Dominic Moore, the Anaheim Ducks are making a serious run for the playoffs, the Preds were confused about whether or not they’ve won the Stanley Cup, Caps ECHL affiliate Stingrays got some attention for a really weird goal, the Red Wings broke the all-time record with 21 straight home wins, and Jaromir Jagr turned 40.

If you’re still wondering the most important question — how does everything in the world relate to the Washington Capitals? — we’ll break it down for you after the jump.

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Capitals During Wartime: Our Misery is Their Trending Topic

[Ed. note: This is fifth installment of Capitals During Wartime, a series about Washington’s struggles before the 2012 trade deadline. Read previous entries about coaching, negativity, road performance, and centers.]

Everyone has the moment when you realize that the Caps are in serious trouble. You know when mine was, because that’s when I started this Capitals During Wartime series. For Ian, it was Monday night, when he finally admitted to me how worried he was. For the rest of the Internet and the broader hockey community, that moment is right now.

This article documents The Week from Hell, a litany of depressing and infuriating stories about your Washington Capitals. Because we need a single, coherent record of what exactly it was like when things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

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A Timeline of Caps Goalies Giving Up Goals From Center Ice

Tomas Vokoun

Vokoun reacts after letting a Dustin Byfuglien shot from the red line go in. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

After Monday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Capitals are 2-4-1 in February and find themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Caps have clearly struggled without superstars Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, but the most bizarre aspect of the Capitals recent play has been their propensity for giving up goals from center ice.

The first goal of the Caps’ 5-3 loss to the Sharks was marked as having been scored from 69 feet since the puck deflected off Joe Pavelski, but the fluke bounce that got behind Braden Holtby came from another 80-foot shot that turned into a goal against. The terrible part is that we can say “another” — Pavelski’s goal Monday was the third puck shot from at least 80 feet that’s resulted in a goal this month. All three Caps starters in net this month, Michal Neuvirth, Tomas Vokoun, and Braden Holtby have allowed one each.

Let’s review this bizarre phenomenon.

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