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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Caps beat Devils 3-0 and Marty Erat SCOAR!

no biscuits in the basket

The New Jersey Devils are the worst good team in hockey. For the last thousand years, they’ve mined success by sucking the fun out of hockey. If it feels like the game is less exciting when the Devils are playing, it’s not just you. The team’s style inhibits shooting by both teams– on average almost 20 fewer shot attempts per game. That’s part of why I was a bit mild heading into Saturday’s pre-Olympic finale between the Devs and the Washington Capitals.

The teams traded power plays in the first period without biscuit-basket despositage. The Devils owned the puck for the most the second period, but left the basket unbiscuited. The third period was more of the miserable same until rookie Julien Brouillette put the biscuit in the basket with ten minutes left. The Devils emptied their net and then Marty Erat finally brokered a biscuit-basket merger and then Troy Brouwer was like, “yeah, this basket can handle more biscuits.”

Caps beat Devils 3-0. Braden Holby’s third shutout!

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No Defense, No Problem: Caps beat Jets 4-2

Mojo smear Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

The Washington Capitals knew they needed points badly going into the Olympic break, and this game against the Winnipeg Jets seemed like a prime opportunity to get them. One problem: they didn’t really have the ingredients to make it happen. With Grabovski and Green out, Neuvirth sick, and a whole bunch of Hershey squirts filling out the blueline, the Caps had to get a little lucky to get two points out of this one.

Troy Brouwer put Marcus Johansson’s pass in the net about five minutes into the game, but a defensive-zone turnover tied it back up (Erat helped).

Dustin Byfuglien gave the Jets the lead in the second with a pretty goal allowed by some weak Capitals defense, but Tom Wilson evened it up in the third period by catching a rebound low in the slot. Alex Ovechkin recorded number 40 with a dirty one with 12 minutes left, and Troy Brouwer made it a two-goal game with a pretty sweet backhand move.

Caps beat Jets 4-2.

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Nabby Nabs the Shutout: Isles beat Caps 1-0

strachan martin - Patrick Smith

Strachan vs Martin (Photo: Patrick Smith)

They’re not all barnburners. Some games merely are. They start, sixty minutes pass, and then they’re over. Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game wasn’t completely free of drama, but it was a low-scoring, mostly sleepy affair. Every time something cool was about to happen, a countervailing uncool thing (whiff, penalty, Milbury) canceled it out. Worst of all, the Caps lost.

The game went scoreless for 42 minutes until Andrew MacDonald’s muffin floated past Neuvirth. Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. That’s dumb.

Isles beat Caps 1-0. Shut out for Evgeni Nabokov.

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Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, which means the Washington Capitals once again played a matinee game to set the stage for a whole lot of couch-sitting  by you all day. You’re gonna go through a lot of wings, chips, pretzels, assorted other fried things, and bad beer on your way to gridiron glory and hypertension. I shall join you, but not before we revisit the real big game: the Detroit Red Wings at Caps. With a national audience, two (or three) crucial standings points on the line, and a triad of Caps scratched to injury, this was a big one.

Jason Chimera got rewarded for some hard work in the opening minutes, recording the game’s first goal five minutes in.  Joel Ward caught a great pass from Nick Backstrom to score a powerplay goal and make it 2-0. The momentum shifted as the Wings got the puck more, resulting in a powerplay goal by Gustav Nyquist, but the Caps struck back with another PP marker– this time from John Carlson.

Tomas Tatar got a sneaky shot under Neuvirth’s shoulder to make it 3-2, but Joel Ward struck back nineteen seconds later. A two-handed slash (a greatslash?) by Troy Brouwer gave the Wings a power play and Nyquist’s second goal of the game.

Nyquist got the hat trick early in the third, obliterating the Caps’ lead, but Troy Brouwer crashed the net and created a new lead following a Wings turnover. That one didn’t last either. Justin Abdelkader was all up in the paint to score after a faceoff in the Caps zone. Into overtime we went.

Or shall we say… OVI TIME!?!?!

Caps beat Wings 6-5 (OT).

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