Beagle Rabid as Caps beat Hawks 4-0

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

The vibe was weird in Friday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Caps were playing for nothing but honor, but the Hawks were jockeying for playoff position. You couldn’t tell by the tilt of the ice. The Caps played a sloppy– but productive– game led by the team’s 1C, Jay Bodenheimer Beagle.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 51st  goal of the year on the power play from the remotest bastion of the Ovi Spot. Jay Beagle took two swipes to make it 2-0. Nick Backstrom eliminated the two-goal lead with a no-angle bank shot off Antti Raanta’s buttocks. Beagle struck again before the second period was done because nothing makes sense in an absurd universe upon which all meaning is a deliberate projection.

Nothing in the third. Sorry, Jay.

Caps beat Hawks like a million to nothing.

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Caps beat Canes 5-2, Peter and Ian Discuss Katy Perry

Gregg Forwerck

Photo: Gregg Forwerck

One year ago, an April game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals would be a huge deal. The main reason the Caps made the 2013 playoffs was Carolina’s swoon. Now, the picture couldn’t be more different. This game didn’t matter to either team– and it showed.

And I get to recap it! Lucky me. I’m sure you guys are just lining up to read this.

Joel Ward scored from Fehr and Chimera early on. Then Chimera scored from Fehr and Ward. Jiri Tlusty notched a shorthanded goal against the suckasoft Caps PP defense, but Troy Brouwer restored the two-goal lead with a one-timer off Marcus’ great cross-slot pass. Eric Fehr scored from Chimera and Ward. Brouwer notched another goal in the third. Radek Dvorak rearranged your keyboard with a late goal for the Canes, but it was already over– on multiple levels.

Caps beat Canes 5-2. This changes everything.

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ovi-hillen-crash

Photo: Rob Carr

Now that the Washington Capitals will officially miss the playoffs for the first time in six years, this is a great time to focus more on the tendencies of this Adam Oates-led team. While a lot of positive stories have been written about the team’s revitalized power play and its Russian captain, there’s a lot of reasons why we think Oates may be holding this team back from bigger and better things. Like, here’s twenty of them.

Then there’s the whole issue of the Caps sometimes looking like a beer-league team on the ice. Over the last few weeks, Caps players have violently collided into each other three times. Three. Times. And in two straight games.

Because this seems to be more like a pattern than a series of freak events, I collected GIFs and video of all the times it’s happened during Oates’ tenure. It’s happened… a lot.

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Cancelling the Apocalypse: Caps beat Blues 4-1

Brou Oshie

Brouillette rides Oshie through the defensive zone. (Photo: Tom Gannam)

Put your knives away for one more night. The Washington Capitals played a tough road game against the St Louis Blues and came out victorious. Thanks to the novel concept of top-six forwards playing in the top six, the Caps survived an elimination game against a great opponent.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in the first period, a signature Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. The Blues, who dominated even-strength play, got one of their own off Maxim LaPierre’s stick early in the second period, but Mikhail Grabovski fired a slapshot from the faceoff dot to restore the Caps lead a bit later. Ovechkin served up Nick Backstrom for a rare even-strength goal late in the second period, creating a two-goal lead going into the third period. Uh oh.

Okay, relax. Backstrom unleashed a wrister from the circles early in the third.

Caps beat Blues 4-1. Staying Alive!

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Playing for Pride: Caps beat Isles 4-3 (SO)

Mike Stobe

Photo: Mike Stobe

With a 1.2 percent chance of a postseason, the Washington Capitals were basically playing for pride against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. I’m supposed to be analyzing these games in addition to just recapping them, but I’m having a hard time sussing out exactly what we just watched.

Are they thick and proud? Are they a mess? Is all coming together? Is there any urgency? Are they surging late? Have they given up?

I’m gonna go with contradictory yes across the board. The Caps went into a two-goal hole, and then climbed out, and I don’t know what to make of that.

Cal Clutterbuck struck first for the Isles, taking advantage of the Brouillette-Strachan defensive pairing. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it up in the second period after a pass from Marcus Johansson that was either brilliant or dumb luck. The Isles struck back 90 seconds later, as a Caps opponent is wont to do.  Frans Nielsen made it 3-1 for the Isles on an iffy goal, but Nicky Backstrom returned fire a little after the halfway mark by cleaning up a broken play. The third line (Mojo edition) continued to be insane-o with Joel Ward’s game-tying goal, his 23rd of the season.

The third period was quiet. Too quiet. Overtime too. So, here we go again…

Shootout bullets!

  • Nielsen got denied.
  • Kuznetsov roofed it.
  • Strome got padded.
  • Grabo also got padded.
  • Nelson, who is not Nielson, got stopped.

Caps beat Isles 4-3 in the shootout. Yey.

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All Over But the Shouting: Stars beat Caps 5-0

It seems the Washington Capitals didn’t have anything left in the tank after that trip through California. Since then, it’s been a spirally flush down a soiled toilet. This time, someone remembered to flush. The Dallas Stars didn’t even have to be good because the Caps were freaking awful.

Tyler Seguin scored after a turnover. Ray Whitney scored after a turnover. Dustin Jeffrey scored after a defensive clustereff and then again in the third. Garbutt got a shorty.

It was never close. Ever.

Stars beat Caps 5-0. Shutout. Dagger. Coffin. Fat lady.

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John Russell

Photo: John Russell

The weekend hasn’t been kind to the Washington Capitals. Aside from the Leafs, the Caps’ competition in the wild card race all gained ground while the Caps floundered against the Bruins. Sunday’s game against the Nashville Predators was a crucial opportunity to stay on pace. And while Nashville had a headlock on Washington during even strength, the Caps managed to summon up some special teams magic to keep the game interesting. Or excruciating, depending on your attitude.

The Capitals got on the board first with a beautiful five-on-five unicorn: Nick Backstrom stole the puck, served it to Mike Green, who found Troy Brouwer alone at the back door. Nashville stuck back 100 seconds later with Patric Hornqvist’s goal following a big rebound off Halak’s chest. Hornqvist wasn’t done, scoring a semi-breakaway late in the first as the Caps momentarily forgot what they’re supposed to do at their own blue line (hint: defense).

The second period was all Nashville, but Halak was halaking like there was no tomorrow. The Caps earned back-to-back power plays and converted the second of them, a frantic backhand by Brouwer in the slot. Shea Weber restored Nashville’s lead nine minutes into the third period with a monster slapshot. Nick Backstrom tied it a few minutes later, converting a power play with a slapshot as the bowels of Caps nation collectively liquefied.

Overtime gave us no decision, so here we go with the…

Shootout bullets!

  • Jarnkrok was a sidewinder, but Halak smashed him with a shovel.
  • Kuznetsov missed wide again. He’s not gonna like that.
  • Craig Smith scored on an early release.
  • Grabo got blocked.
  • Josi denied low.
  • Nick Backstrom, who is not Calle Johansson, blocked.

Perds beat Caps 4-3 (Shootout).

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Bruins beat Thrashers 4-2

Patrick Smith

What is the Bruins guy doing here? (Photo: Patrick Smith)

The Washington Capitals were poised to seize a wild card slot with a win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon. That’s exactly what would have happened except for the small matter of Boston absolutely dominating the game.

This is going to be one of those recaps.

AARP member Jarome Iginla scored his first of two goals in the second period, exploiting a breakout by the Capitals. Carl Soderberg got a powerplay marker from the not-perimeter while Eric Fehr was in the box. Iginla scored again a few minutes later, but Jason Chimera ended the shutout with a crash-the-net tap-in late in the second period.

The Bruins made it 4-1 on a soft charging call against Alex Ovechkin. Soderberg kinda interfered with Holtby as Bergeron swept the goal home, but no matter: the game was already over at that point. Evgeny Kuznetsov got a fancy no-angle goal in garbage time.

Bruins beat Caps 4-2.

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One Bloody Loser Point: Kings beat Caps 5-4 (SO)

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

We’re in the thick of it now. Tuesday’s slew of NHL hockey was bursting with importance, no game more than the Washington Capitals hosting the Los Angeles Kings for the first time since 2011. The dominant Kings, in an outburst of charity, gave the Caps a loser point last week, but weren’t so keen to be so kind this time. After spotting the Caps a pair of goals, the Kings carved up the Caps in the third period, but then Kuzya did a Big Thing to force OT and steal another point from the league’s best team.

Alex Ovechkin led the way with a pair of power play goals. The Kings struck back with a pretty special goal by Mike Richards, who reached around Jack Hillen to find the net. The Caps got swamped in the second period but managed to restore a two-goal lead on Dustin Penner’s first goal as a Cap.

The third period was all LA. DJ King’s brother Dwight drew LA within one early, then Marian Gaborik tied it up with around 11 minutes left. Dustin Brown eked out a lead for the visitors just four minutes later. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first NHL goal in the game’s final minute– tying the game with a fantastic backhand swat while shorthanded.

The Caps survived a power play in overtime and headed to the shootout.

Shootout bullets!

  • Kuznetsov fanned on his attempt.
  • Kopitar made it look easy with a five-hole slide.
  • Fehr got stopped by Quick.
  • Carter banged it home the win.

Kings beat Caps 5-4 (Shootout).

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Worth Staying Up For: Kings beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

Mark J Terrill

Photo: Mark J. Terrill

Thursday night was the centerpiece of the Washington Capitals’ three-game trek through California: a crucial clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are the best team in the league (imho) and my pick, again, to win the Cup. The Caps would need to play above their heads and get a little lucky to best the best. They didn’t and they weren’t, so they didn’t. But they did pilfer a huge standings point, and that could mean a lot on at the end of the regular season.

The Kings struck first, with Anze Kopitar stuffing a puck dealt by Gaborik uncannily behind Halak’s pads. The scoring stifled after that until Evgeny Kuznetsov served up Joel Ward in the slot, who connected on his second stab. That took us into overtime, which was exciting as whoa, but yielded no decision.

Shootout bullets!

  • Kopitar spazzes out.
  • Kuznetsov nails it over Quick’s right pad.
  • Carter converts with speed and one deke.
  • Ovechkin gets lost in the five hole.
  • Gaborik roofs it all casual-like.
  • Backstrom blows it.

Kings beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout). Solid road game.

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