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The Caps-Blues game started off nice enough. The good guys drew a penalty late in the first period when Derek Roy slashed Alex Ovechkin. The Caps power play had a couple of looks, but everything went wrong after that.

It ended with Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson lying on the ice in pain, the second white-on-white collision in as many weeks.

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The Nail: Devils Beat Caps 2-1

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday’s Caps game was ugly. The days that followed didn’t get much better. Adam Oates kinda sorta maybe called out Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday for being Alex Ovechkin. The national hockey media devoured it like it was some delicious Chipotle guac. Ovi wasn’t made available to reporters on Thursday to respond.

With six games left, everyone started to realize it would take divine intervention for the Capitals to make the playoffs. If they did make it, they didn’t deserve to be there — and the Capitals knew that.

The scoring got started tonight with an even-strength Alex Ovechkin tally, the first since we still cared about the Winter Olympics. Playing on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom, Ovi took a feed from Grabo in the near circle before flipping the puck past Cory Schneider.

During a second period in which the Devs dominated play, New Jersey tied the game up. Twelve minutes into the frame, Tuomo Ruutu tipped home a shot from D-man Eric Gelinas to make it one-one.

The Caps headed into the third with a man-advantage, needing their power play to once again save them from disaster. It didn’t happen.

Ryan Carter scored a late goal for New Jersey. Devils beat Caps 2-1.

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Brouwer laughs at Ian. Seriously, that’s what’s happening in this photo. (Photo: Patrick Smith)

Ian Oland is a very stupid person. In the midst of Troy Brouwer’s poor start, Ian bet that the winger wouldn’t hit 20 goals this season. Because he lost, Ian had to dress up as a Brouwer Ranger during Saturday’s game. Since the beginning of February, however, Brouwer has 13 goals. He scored two against Nashville on Sunday, hitting a career high. With 23 goals, Brouwer is having his best season ever.

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First-year pro Patrick Wey hit Nashville Predators facepuncher extraordinairre Rich Clune along the benches on Sunday night. That was obviously unacceptable per the rules of gentlemanly conduct, so Clune challenged Wey to a fight and then knocked him out.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov Scores Unlikely Goal in Final Minute

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The Capitals sort of played a stinker against the Boston Bruins. There was precious little to enjoy about the game: a couple flashy saves by Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera crashing the net, maybe Ian rocking the spandex with the Brouwer Rangers. Thanks to the game’s final minute, we can add one more to that list: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s stinger of a goal.

Seemingly defeated by Carl Soderberg’s insurance goal with seven minutes left, the Caps struggled to put together any kind of offensive push in the closing minutes of rego. Troy Brouwer made one such push, but the Bruins D tied him up. That play looked like it would fizzle like so many others against Boston.

Enter the New Guy.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

Editor’s note: Hockey Prospectus projected Troy Brouwer to score 21 or 22 goals this season. Ian did not consult the book before betting the Brouwer Rangers that he would not even hit twenty. The stakes if he lost: Ian would have to dress up with the B.R. and attend a game in full regalia. Brouwer scored twice on March 16th, and Ian has been dreading this coming Saturday ever since. To get you wayyyyyy more ready than you need to be for the big day, we turn things over to the Brouwer Rangers.

As you should know by now, Ian is set to join the ranks of the Brouwer Rangers. On Saturday, March 29, 2014, during a #mustwin hockey game between your Washington Capitals and those bastardly bastards of Beantown, Ian will don spandex, fanny pack, and helmet as retribution for a momentary but utter lack of judgment. It will be glorious.

In the meantime, let’s recap how Ian arrived in this tight spot (spandex joke!).

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Last week, we spoke to Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer about his world-famous Brouwer Bombs. “Timing,” Brouwer said, when I asked him what made for a good photo- or video-bomb. “It’s all about timing. You’ve got to make sure the [person] is unsuspecting when you’re coming in.”

Doesn’t get any more unsuspecting than this. While the Caps warmed-up before their game against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday, @Brittany_Bamr attempted to take a selfie along the boards, trying to get Mike Green in frame. Brouwer, noticing what was going on, then sprung into action, poking his head above hers and cheesing for the camera.

Yup, that’s totally another Brouwer Bomb and the third one we’ve documented on RMNB this season (1 & 2).

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The Washington Capitals have gotten a little more silly this season, and that’s right up our alley. Sure, they’re still all business on the ice and they still give straight-laced interviews– sometimes, but there’s also been a strong undercurrent of zaniness.  We love it.

Ovi did penalty push-ups, Ovi played soccer at Six Flags, Ovi entered a contest to win himself. (Lots of Ovi in this list…) Tom Wilson fought a child– which wasn’t as bad as it sounds, Nate Schmidt weirded out everyone with his word salad, and then the team’s backup goalie doing multitasking. It’s been a busy season for nonsense.

Whatever you think of the team’s on-ice product, at least we’ve been thoroughly entertained. And at the heart of all that fun has been Troy Brouwer. He made a mess of a goal celebration in the preseason, celebrated his 100th goal in style, and got a mustachioed bobblehead. But his main gag, if you ask me, has been Brouwerbombing.

Brouwerbomb (noun) — the act of sabotaging an interview by grinning like a goon in the background. Popularized by Capitals 20-goal scorer Troy d’Artagnan Brouwer.

On Saturday I had the chance to ask Brouwer– who had at that point not yet scored his 20th goal– about his antics. He had surprisingly deep thoughts about it all.

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The last few weeks have been enough to turn even the most stalwart of Caps fans  unhinged and overstressed monsters. It’d be really easy to become cynical and cop an attitude about the team, but that’s why it’s so important to keep everything in perspective.

Reader Taylor P. wrote us a story last week that was exactly what we needed. Taylor and her brother had an encounter with Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer at last Tuesday’s game against the Penguins. It was a little moment, but maybe little moments are what this team and this community need to remind ourselves why we’re doing this in the first place.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Hand Video Bombs RMNB Interview

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With each game he plays, Evgeny Kuznetsov grows more comfortable on the ice. On Saturday morning, twelve hours after recording his first NHL point and first multi-point game with the Washington Capitals, Kuznetsov showed that he’s also growing more comfortable in the role of locker room prankster.

Here’s the story. As I filmed Ian’s interview with Jaroslav Halak, a figure walked towards the stall just to my right. He said “hello” in a Russian accent, came up behind me, and then put his hand in front of my camera for a few seconds. He totally ruined my shot.

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