On February 4, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Francois Lacasse
On Saturday afternoon The Washington Capitals got to feed at the trough of the league’s sideshow, the Montreal Canadiens. That doesn’t mean this game was zany and fun or anything, just kind of sad.
Dennis Wideman scored off the faceoff, firing a weird knuckle puck that dropped behind Peter Budaj. The Caps held Montreal scoreless through a sloppy second period. Matt Hendricks swept in a goal on a yawning net to make it 2-0. Alex Semin drew a penalty shot and slapped home the three-spot goal. Caps beat Habs 3-0.
So much almost. (Photo credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Whew, what a relief that the All-Star Weekend is over! We’re all so sick of watching haphazard, sloppy, firewagon hockey that turns over pucks and gives up chances every few seconds, it’s such a relief to get back to the responsible, disciplined team we all missed so much.
Hahaha! Let’s all have a good laugh at that one for a minute, and then to the recap. I am pleased to inform you that the curse of my recaps was broken tonight. Actual goals were scored.
Matt Hendricks opened the scoring with the ol’ Brooks-Laich-diving-poke-check-pass, fan-on-the-initial-and-then-wildly-backhand-it move. Classic. Teddy Purcell scored two shifts later on a feed from Steve Downie, who mysteriously hadn’t had his face punched in yet at this point. All Martin St. Louis had to do was skate past Hamrlik lying face-down on the ice to make it 2-1. Nate Thompson banged one in on a good cycle from Tampa in front of the net. Mathieu Perreault was in the right place at the right time to take credit for a hilarious own goal off Thompson’s stick. Good pressure from Laich forced a puck loose for Troy Brouwer, who put it in the back of the net. The game went to overtime, and Steven Stamkos scored on a defensive breakdown from John Carlson. Caps lose, 4-3.
On January 22, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Justin K. Aller
Yawn. These Washington Capitals / Pittsburgh Penguins games are always such tedious affairs. Nothing interesting ever happens.
Okay, but for real. This game was a monster. The Capitals looked wounded in the first period, surrendering easy goals early and firing just four shots on net. They came back in the second transformed and reinvigorated. After Mike Knuble crashed the net and just barely missed a goal, the offense turned on. The Capitals regained the shot lead and kept their foot on the gas until the very end.
No one challenged Kris Letang on the power play, so he had a great lane and great screen on the game’s first goal. James Neal flicked one past Neuvirth right after a face off to make it 2-0. The game was six minutes old.
In the second, Dennis Wideman set up Brooks Laich for a crucial goal during 4-on-4. Alex Semin cleaned up Mathieu Perreault’s rebound to tie the game and blow our freaking minds.
In the third, Alex Ovechkin caught a wide pass from Alex Semin and beat Marc-Andre Fleury to open up a lead. James Neal finished off a brilliant zone entry by Evgeni Malkin to knot the score again. That tie took us all the way into overtime, where Malkin casually tipped in the game-winner. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
On January 3rd, Rene Bourque — then of the Calgary Flames — elbowed Nicklas Backstrom in the jaw. The reckless play resulted in both a concussion for Backstrom and a Shanaban for Bourque. Capitals players thought the elbow was a cheap shot, but they failed to exact retribution. Sigh.
“It’s one of those things where it kind of sucks because we’re not able to play (the Calgary Flames) again this year,” Troy Brouwer told reporters after the game.
Troy is in luck. Bourque was traded Montreal last week. And look at that! The Caps play the Habs… tonight!
DING! DING! DING!
Inspired by my favorite NES video game of all-time — Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out — here’s how we think tonight will play out for Bourque.
Brouwer celebrates the hatty! (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals had scored on five of their last 12 powerplays. Meanwhile, Tampa was playing their second game in two nights on the road.
Right off the hop, Alex Ovechkin took advantage of Tampa’s tired legs, scoring on the powerplay via a blast from the point. The goal, courtesy of a screen orchestrated by Troy Brouwer’s rear, was Ovi’s 18th on the year. The Hockey Gods then rewarded Troy’s hard work with a goal of his very own 1:53 later on the brouwerplay.
In the second period, Brouwer went to the second power, pushing a rebound past 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. With 2:54 left in the second, the Lightning got their first of the night when Mike Knuble had his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis. That freakin’ gnat then dished to Tom Pyatt who one-timed home his fourth goal of the season.
Steven Stamkos gave Tampa’s comeback some steam with a powerplay goal in the third period to make it 3-2. But Troy Brouwer then responded by collecting a hat trick with an empty-netter. Still the Lightning wouldn’t die as Vincent LeCavalier deflected home a St. Louis shot with 11 seconds left. After another wild deflection in front of the net almost got past Vokoun, the buzzer finally hit zero. Caps beat the Lightning, 4-3.WHEW.
Vokes and the boys celebrate the shutout. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
The Washington Capitals lost two straight games in California before coming back home to lick their wounds and face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins, however, were not available for hockey. The team that showed up was some shell-shocked, injury-riddled assemblage of yinzers in PGH uniforms. Not that the Capitals were much better.
Jason Chimera stepped up for the national broadcast, scoring on a breakaway set up by Jeff Halpern’s lovely set pass and some poor decisions by Paul Martin and Evgeny Malkin. And then… nothing. That’s all she wrote. Caps beat Penguins 1-0.
After the Capitals’ somewhat easy 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference’s best team Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to Versus’ Pierre McGuire. In explaining the team’s troubles this year, Backstrom said, “I think we haven’t been working hard enough. Everybody has to commit and do their job, and that’s what we haven’t been doing.”
It’s hard to express optimism that the Caps have finally turned the corner, if they can’t string a couple of solid victories together, and — you know — actually turn the corner. Would they bring the energy again in their second match-up in three games against the Buffalo Sabres, a team who has given the Caps fits all year?
On December 28, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Brouwer hour. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
Just a few days before the Winter Classic, the New York Rangers visited the Washington Capitals ready for their close-up. The Caps showed up to play though, and we got to see one of the better overall games of the season.
Marcus Johansson scored the first of the game by cleaning up a rebound off a Jeff Halpern shot that he set up. Brandon Dubinsky converted on a breakaway to tie it after one period. Troy Brouwer snapped a streak of bad luck by tipping in a Jeff Halpern/John Carlson collaboration. Alex Ovechkin leveled a hit to open up a turnover, which Nick Backstrom turned into a breakaway by passing it to Alex Semin, who made the game’s fourth tally look easy. Late in the game, Alex Semin scored again, sailing one past Biron. Caps beat Rangers 4-1.
I score? I really score? (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Predators, the Caps had been inefficient offensively, managing to score only one goal in each of their last three games. Would being confronted with two of the best defensemen in the league — Shea Weber and Ryan Suter — and a team that has played in 10-straight one goal games (7-3-0) somehow help their cause? Also, would an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring one of their team leaders, give the Caps a lift?
You bet your ass it did.
After the Capitals started the game off with four dominant shifts in the Predators zone, Alex Ovechkin — beautifully set-up by Karl Alzner — scored on a breakaway at 7:47 of the first. Later in the period, Nicklas Backstrom wrapped home goal number two of the night, his twelfth of the year. After a scoreless second period, Sergei Kostitsyn ruined Neuvy’s shutout bid with a twisted wrister from just outside the slot. Then Alex Semin decided he felt like scoring. Troy Brouwer, too! Caps beat Preds 4-1.