High Tension in Kuzya’s Debut: Pens beat Caps 3-2

Nick Wass

One legged ant-eater (Photo: Nick Wass)

Caps-Pens! The biggest rivalry in DC sprots! With only 18 standings points between them–

Wait, really? The Pens are that far ahead? Oh golly. Lean times in the District.

Moving on… the Caps need to make up some ground in the eastern conference if they want to make the playoffs, but they’re gonna have to do better than what they did on Monday night. Giving up an early goal and Sidney Shot from the Sidney Spot gave Pittsburgh enough of a boost early on to fend off a Caps surge in the second.

Chris Kunitz scored all of 46 seconds in, taking a pass of Sidney Crosby and beating Mike Green on his way to the not-perimeter. Eric Fehr fought back with a nifty finish set up by Jason Chimera, but the Pens fired back with Crosby’s one timer on the power play.

The Caps tied it up in the second as Nicky Backstrom banked a pass of some poor Penguin in the paint. That was fun, but then Chris Kunitz restored the Penguins lead off a rebound off Halak’s pads a little after the halfway mark.

The Caps could not convert a late-game power play. Cram.

Pens beat Caps 3-2.

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The Comeback Caps beat Coyotes 3-2 in Rego!

Carolyn Kaster

Photo: Carolyn Kaster

The Washington Capitals wrapped up a week of tremendously unimpressive hockey with a stunning comeback win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

It started off great with Alex Ovechkin generating four shots in the game’s first six minutes, but the Caps couldn’t sustain the pressure, giving the Coyotes the puck and plenty of opportunity to pepper first-time Capitals Jaroslav Halak in goal. Down two goals with ten minutes to go, the Caps summoned up some magic they hadn’t used since last week: even-strength scoar.

Brandon McMillan struck first, catching Keith Yandle’s stretch pass while the Caps were making a line change. Radim Vrbata made it 2-0 with a power play goal that dwibblwed between Halak’s pads.

But then! Karl Alzner tallied goal number two of the season thanks to a feed from Eric Fehr, and then Brooks Laich tied it up thirty seconds later. Life back in Verizon Center, and then everyone’s head exploded as Backstrom gave Troy Brouwer a layup to put the Caps up from the Ovi spot.

This stupid team. This stupid, lovely team.

Caps beat Coyotes 3-2.

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Bruins beat Capszzz

Bruins beat Caps 3-0.

I don’t really have anything to say. The Caps aren’t good, and their game against the Boston Bruins was awful.

In hindsight, offense might have helped.

But Laich is hurt. So is Grabo. Erskine and Volpatti too. Plus Orlov is suspended. That left the Hershey Bears to fill the ranks: Carrick, Stoa, Brown, Schilling. I don’t want to do the math on if losing Ersk was a bad thing. Doesn’t matter. Even if the Caps didn’t suit up a bunch of sub-NHL players, the Caps aren’t a match for the Bruins.

The whole “let ‘em shoot, but keep those shots on the outside” plan failed again. Gregory Campbell got a deflection up front during a delayed penalty, and then Loui Eriksson scored on a turnover from like 0.00214 feet out. Those two goals did nothing to shake the Caps from their torpor. Brad Marchand got the empty netter.

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This is Not My Beautiful House: Flyers beat Caps 6-4

Vinny - Matt Slocum

Photo: Matt Slocum

This is the “game” recap. I’m putting game in scare quotes, because I don’t know what the cram happened during this Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals …event. The Caps looked like a clown trying to fight off a direwolf with a whiffle bat for the first 45 minutes. And then– and I have no idea how they did it– they started stabbing their way back. 

Here’s the part where I summarize the scoring. I don’t wanna do it. It’s like that episode where Josh Lyman is talking to Adam Arkin and he can’t differentiate music from gunshots. Okay, here goes (deep breath.)

Claude Giroux feasted on a puck stolen from Hillen for number one. Jakub Voracek snuck one through traffic. Claude got another, and then Adam Hall. Forgive me for not remembering how: rage blackouts. Joel Ward got the Caps on the board, followed by an Ovi goal from the Ovi spot and a dart from Troy Brouwer. All of a sudden, the blowout was a one-goal game.

But then Voracek got away from the Caps defense — namely Mike Green Eric Fehr– by using the rarely seen technique of skating. 5-3. Brooks Laich tapped a Mike Green shot to make it 5-4, but then Steve Downie got the empty-netter.

Flyers beat Caps 6-4.

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simmonds-holds-erskine

Simmonds holds Erskine as Lecavalier connects with a haymaker. Disgraceful.

Who had “line brawl” on their Flyers-Capitals bingo card? Really? All of you? Okay, cool.

Well… did you “three dudes jump on Erskine?” Exactly!

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Patrick Smith - Erat

Photo: Patrick Smith

This was inevitable.

Capitals forward Martin Erat has been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Rostislav Klelsa, Chris Brown and a fourth-round draft pick. Capitals prospect Garrett John Mitchell was also included in the deal.

Acquired at the 2013 deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for Caps prospect Filip Forsberg, Erat played 61 regular season games for the Capitals, recording 2 goals and 24 assists.

Considered a disappointment by many, Erat still managed to rank second in even-strength assists and improve the team’s possession stats.

Erat’s 2013 season was limited by injury. As 2013-14 began, Erat had fallen out of favor with coach Adam Oates. Assigned to the fourth line for the first few weeks, Erat was not used as the top-six forward he was purported to be, and his stats suffered. He did not score until the final game before the Olympic break, an empty-netter.

After several games as a scratch, Erat requested a trade on November 25th. It took three months, but that trade has finally come through.

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penner

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Capitals have acquired left-shooting Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 4th round pick.

Penner is a big, net-crashing forward with 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 games. He carries a $2MM cap hit through the end of this season. He also has the third highest PDO (a proxy for unsustainable luck) in the league.

And, oh yeah, he’s most famous for injuring his back while eating pancakes. Today is National Pancake Day. You can’t make this $#!& up.

The Capitals are now over the salary cap. More to come.

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What a Waste: Flyers beat Caps 5-4 (OT)

orlov-scores

Photo: Rob Carr

The Washington Capitals wrapped up a weekend of early games by taking on the Philadelphia Flyers at noon on–

[NBC CHIMES DROWN OUT REST OF INTRODUCTION]

— my grandmother riding by on a bicycle giving me the finger, and a duck!

The Caps and Flyers are a resurgent rivalry that rarely leaves us lacking drama. This was no exception.

Dmitry Orlov capped off some great zone time by putting a one-timer past Steve Mason. Claude Giroux tied it up with an in-and-out goal that took 90 seconds of game time before the refs figured it out. Marcus Johansson got in the paint to deflect in Jason Chimera’s pass as a power play expired. Nick Backstrom won a scramble with Steve Mason, but the war room in Toronto didn’t have enough evidence to overturn the no-goal call.

Alex Ovechkin abandoned the puck behind the net during a power play, allowing Adam Hall to tie the game with a shorty, but no worries: Jay Beagle got a pass off Joel Ward to score from exactly zero feet out. Dmitry Orlov got his second goal with a nice little mudskipper of a shot from the blue line and through some traffic up front.

Jakub Voracek scored on a screened Holtby during Orlov’s five-minute major penalty and then set up Giroux for the game-tying goal with just over a minute left.

Vincent Lecavalier won it in overtime.

Flyers beat Caps 5-4.

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Ovi and the Great Eight Hundred: Caps beat Bruins 4-2

Michael Dwyer

No idea what is happening here. (Photo: Michael Dwyer)

March and its steady trickle of tough games began on Saturday with a matinee match-up against the Boston Bruins. Alex Ovechkin, perhaps still seething over his loss at the hands of Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask, was terrific (again), but the Washington Capitals needed more than their captain to win this one.

Ovi scored from the Ovi spot in the first period, then ripped a terrific shot from above the circles in the second. Both goals came on the power play. Joel Ward went Rambo-style, scoring unassisted with a backhand on Rask. Boston struck back with a nifty powerplay goal by Patrice Bergeron and a lucky deflection off Mike Green’s stick. Eric Fehr got his own breakaway and beat Rask to make it 4-2 midway through the third period.

Caps beat Bruins 4-2!

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brooks

Photo: J Pat Carter

I forget how to recap. I don’t know what the numbers on the back of the jerseys mean, and all the players look giants playing on a snack-size rink. I forgot how to get to all the stats reports. Everything looks weird to me. I’m gonna do my best, but go easy on me.

The Washington Capitals returned from their Olympic break down in sunny Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers, mainstays of the league’s bottom-5, were supposed to be the right team to face in this first game back. The Caps pulled out an early lead, promptly blew it (as they do), and then got another one, then blew that one.

Here’s how it went.

Troy Brouwer stuck first, owning a scramble in the slot to record a power play goal. Brooks Laich followed up, finishing off a nifty pass from Alex Ovechkin to make it 2-0. Hey, look at that: a two-goal lead. Sweet. Everybody relax.

Then Tomas Fleischmann caught a pass Jesse Winchester to make it 1-0 and Brad Boyes scored from the slot early in the second to tie it up. Two-goal lead, we hardly knew ye.

Nick Backstrom scored later in the second period, a layup that even a total allergy-med junkie could have hit. Troy Brouwer got his second PPG of the night, winning another fight in the paint off of Alex Ovechkin’s rebound.

A powerplay goal by Jimmy Hayes and a clustereff clean-up by Brad Boyes midway through the third made it a tie-game– erasing the Caps’ second two-goal lead. Mike Green blew the best breakaway chance ever, but Captain Alex Ovechin scored the game-winner, his 41st, on the very next shift.

Caps beat Panthers 5-4! Oh hurrah. They beat the Panthers.

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