Keith Aucoin goal

Photo credit: Graig Abel

Saturday night, during the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, future AHL hall-of-famer Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal of the season, and his first since October 24, 2009. For those who are counting, that’s 854 days.

“It’s been about two years now, I think, since I last scored a goal,” Aucoin said with a smile to The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno. “It’s only been 10, 11 games, but it feels like forever, and it was nice to finally get one and help the team win.”

General Manager George McPhee, clearly unimpressed by his feat (or more likely saving cap space ahead of tomorrow’s trade deadline), sent Aucoin back down to Hershey early this morning.

Coiner’s goal was so pretty, it deserves a closer look. Let’s set the scene. After going down 2-0 to the Caps within the first five minutes and then 3-0 by the second period, the Leafs were left scrambling to climb out of a hole. The play starts at 5:13, with the Caps in possession of the puck in their own zone.

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A Good Weekend: Caps beat Leafs 4-2

Photo credit: Graig Abel

Not a bad way to go out. The Washington Capitals’ domination of the Toronto Maple Leafs was likely the last we’ll see from this version of the team. Knowing this, the Caps busted out all their greatest hits from the last few years. Let’s review!

Marcus Johansson wrapped around Reimer’s net for an unchallenged goal in the first minute. Alex Semin fought off Luke Schenn and scored five-hole. Jeff Halpern took two whacks and hit top shelf. Keith Aucoin finished a bang-bang sequence from Johansson and Ovechkin to make it 4-0.

Colby Armstrong cracked the shutout with a wristshot early in the third period. Tim Connolly got a greasy one on a power play to make it interesting, but they ran out of time. Caps beat Leafs 4-2.

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Scoring Change Steals Dennis Wideman’s Hat Trick

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

When we went to bed on Friday, Dennis Wideman was the possessor of a hat trick. His three-goal night versus Toronto was the first by a defenseman for the Caps in a decade, the first overall by the Caps this season, and the first of Dennis’ career. It was also the first 3 PPG game among defensemen in the NHL since 2006.

No more.

This morning, the NHL updated the game’s scoring (via WaPo’s Katie Carrera), giving that final power play goal to Brooks Laich for his 7th on the season. Nick Backstrom loses his secondary assist, knocking him down to 31 points.

Wideman still takes from the night four power play points (2G, 2A) and the first multi-goal game of his career, but all those hats you threw on the ice are now a fraud. And he’s still minus-1 on the night. Dennis admitted as much on Friday night, but you should still blame it all on stupid old Brooksy.

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Video: David Steckel on How Not to Win a [bleeping] Game

Capitals crowd react to goal

The crowd reacts to Dennis Wideman’s first PPG of the night. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals converted four of six power play opportunities on Friday night to best the Toronto Maple Leafs. The win pushes the Caps solidly into 8th place in the east and bounces their overall PP% up to 18.1%, good for 12th in the league. There’s a lot to be happy about, but Former-Cap/Current-Leaf David Steckel isn’t feeling warm and fuzzy about any of it.

In his post-game interview, Steckel scoured his team’s performance on the penalty kill with some salty language: “Any time you give up four power play goals, you’re not going to win a [expletive] game.”

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Caps beat Leafs 4-2, Dennis Wideman Gets a Hat Trick!

Bruce Bennett

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Dale Hunter recorded the first two wins of his NHL career against Canadian teams. After tonight’s date between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs, you can make it three.

Dennis Wideman caught Mike Knuble’s pass and converted the PP. Dennis Wideman threaded the needle and converted the PP. (Phil Kessel scored.) Dennis Wideman fed Nick Backstrom, who converted the PP. (From the blue line, Cody Franson slipped one past a screened Vokoun.) Dennis Wideman converted the PP. Caps beat Leafs 4-2.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Pregame: Make Belief Again!

Doug Johnson, Puck Buddy, files your pregame report. Tweet.

The PreGame: On Wednesday night, we saw flashes of brilliance. Perhaps our squad has turned the corner. We finally figured out the PP. And yet, for the past four weeks, we’ve seen things we haven’t wanted to see. Ugly things. Things we’ve flinched from; things we’ve shielded our juvenile eyes away from. Things a pure heart shouldn’t see: the last gasping moments of the Boudreau era. We think it’s time to banish what was… for what is now.

There comes a moment when we own our time. Tonight we declare: an end to what was.

[Call the Spirits! North, South… East and West…Harken to me now! Hear us!]

Bruce – Juggles – is passed.  And now, like a veil lifted from our eyes, we see again our gallant Capitals squad. God Save the King! We will love you always Coach, but you are now past us. Be well, and fear the Caps.

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Leafs beat Caps 7-1, Bruce Boudreau Stuck at 199 Wins

Photo credit: Abelimages

Hockey Night in Canada. The Washington Capitals hoped to earn Bruce Boudreau’s 200th NHL win against his old team. Did. Not. Happen.

An embarrassingly bad turnover from Jeff Schultz led to Tim Connolly’s goal. Brooks Laich took a drop pass from Chimera to even it up. Matt Frattin recorded his first NHL goal late in the first period. Early in the second, Tyler Bozak scored a powerplay goal from in traffic. Bozak then gave Phil Kessel a blind pass that became one gorgeous tally. Vokoun out, Neuvirth in. Joffrey Baratheon-Lannister-Lupul scored a PPG to make it 5-1. Then someone did something and it was 6-1. Then, Jeez Louise, David Steckel scored shorthanded. Leafs beats Caps 7-1.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Pregame: Make Believe!

Paul Hunter/Toronto Star

The Pre-Game: Oh Lordy, we hate being right. Especially if it involves Canada. Not as in: their single-payer health care system is far more efficient than our insurance company-laden poop pie. More like: there’s no more dangerous team than an underestimated one with shelves of talent and an insane fan base. (Either way, it’s a poop pie, frankly.)

So here we are, game 3 of 3 of the road trip, landing us square in Squaresville: Toronto. (Wagging finger in old maid mode:) We warned you about those teams! We cautioned against squads whose numbers didn’t quite look right, yet had piles of skill ready to dump on the ice! What, you didn’t listen? You think you know better? Are you listening to me?

Uh, no, chances are, you’re not. At least not based on the last few Caps’ book in Vegas. We think that changes Saturday.

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Mike Knuble scores in the shootout

Neuvy celebrates with his teammates after coming up victorious in the shootout. (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

Neuvy celebrates with his teammates after coming up victorious in the shootout. (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

What can’t Knuble do? (Photo credit: Graig Abel)

In their first game of the final back-to-back of the season, the Capitals found themselves in Air Canada Centre to face the surging Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the All-Star break, the Leafs have gone a ridiculous and improbable 18-7-5, riding mid-season call-up James Reimer’s (Oops, sorry!) Optimus Reim‘s incredible goaltending back into playoff contention.

Unfortunately for the Leafs, their chances of still making the playoffs were about as likely as Jason Chimera having a 50 goal season: less than one percent. To stave off mathematical elimination for one more night, they had to have either a regulation or overtime win against DC and a loss from Buffalo.

“They have to have every point,” winger Brooks Laich explained to the media after the Capitals pre-game skate. “They have to have every point in regulation the next three games and then hope for the best. This is an elimination game for the Leafs and they’re going to show us their absolute best.

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Leo Komarov

When talking about the KHL player Leo Komarov, you have many different things you can describe him as: fan favorite, agitator, hitter or secondary scorer. Knowing that he was raised in Finland you understand Komarov is like Jarkko Ruutu or Sean Bergenheim. He is the type of guy you hate to play against.

Komarov, who was born in Estonia but is a duel citizen of Russia and Finland, is one of the Russian league’s brightest young stars. He racked up 26 points (including 14 goals) while registering 70 penalty minutes over 52 games in the 2010-11 KHL regular season, and also played in the Kontinental Hockey League’s All-Star Game. In the playoffs, which ended, well, earlier than expected for Dynamo, Komarov posted a remarkable four goals in just six games.

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