Experiencing the Caps 6-2 Win… in the Prudential Center

 

Winning 6-2 against the New Jersey Devils was already a wonderful experience, but it was even better being in the Prudential Center to cheer the Caps along.

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It was my first time going to a Caps away game, and it turned out better than I could have ever hoped. However, being at an away game is much different than cheering with 18,000 Caps fans in the Verizon Center. It’s almost a little threatening, knowing that you are cheering for the enemy team, but there’s nothing like the pride of standing up and shouting when the Capitals score on unfriendly ice. And boy did the Caps give us reasons to cheer today.

Even being there for the boys during warm ups felt good, knowing that they were able to see just how many fans were there to cheer them on.

And if they didn’t see us during warm ups, they definitely heard us during the game. There were plenty of fans Rocking the Red in the Prudential Center, even though after every goal we could practically feel the Devils fans glaring at us. In fact, we embraced it!

img_7050The satisfaction of watching Devils fans leave their own arena as the Caps continue to increase their lead was incredible and I know I wasn’t the only Caps fan with a huge smile on my face in New Jersey.img_3995

Caps with Plenty of Opportunities Fail to Win Over Devils

What a weird night as the Caps played their last home game in 2o16 against the New Jersey Devils in the first of home-and-home games. The Capitals would tie up the game in the second which ultimately led to overtime and a shootout–which they lost. Devils take it 2-1.

So the game was pretty uneventful overall, expect for a few players who really stepped it up with a whole heck of a lot of shots on goal. By the end of regulation Dmitry Orlov and Daniel Winnik had six SOG each.

 

Alex Ovechkin, TJ Oshie, Nick Backstrom all had four SOG. And all but four players (Eller, Wilson,Schmidt, and Johansson) had SOG in regulation.

img_7025In general – they Caps showed up but so did Devil’s goalie Keith Kinkaid.

In short: The Caps shot and blocked and Kinkaid sad, “no” to all attempts in the first period. Meanwhile, PA Parenteau would score first giving the Devils something to celebrate.

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By the second period Daniel Winnik scored on a Devils’ power play and hope was restored at Verizon Center. They looked stronger in the third period, but penalties continued to chase them and they just couldn’t get past Kinkaid.

Did we mention Keith Kinkaid???

By the end of regulation the Caps had 40 SOG to the Devils 23. The Caps were dry in the overtime play and neither Oshie or Kuznetsov could get their shot past the Devil’s goalie while NJ rapidly got two past Braden Holtby.

img_7033One remaining question is:  what’s up with Kuzy?  Some interesting behavior tonight – like an elbow to the Devils’ bench as he passed and his continued frustration with scoring. Coach Trotz put him in second for the shootout which didn’t make much sense to most Caps fans and media type alike.

Well friends, 2016 is nearly behind us. Caps will meet the Devils in New Jersey for New Year’s Eve – maybe we will end the year well. Lets hope!

Here are a few more random photos from tonight. Thanks Mel for keeping us covered!

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New Year; New Marcus Johansson

The Capitals are currently approaching the midpoint of the season. We have had some stars stay bright from past seasons and some stars just begin to shine. This is a time to ask which player has improved the most.

game-marcus  I think the star who has shined more this season than past seasons is our Marcus Johansson. This season MoJo has scored 13 goals and gotten 11 assists in the 33 games he’s played. Last season he got 17 goals and 29 assists in 74 games. He is on track to get more goals than he did last season and maybe even the season before where he scored a career high of 20 goals and got 27 assists in 82 games.

Johansson’s shot percentage, meaning his percentage of shots going in, is at an all time high of 23.6%. His percentage has actually almost doubled since last year when he had 12.9%. His second highest percentage was in the 2011-2012 season when he scored 14 goals in 80 games. During that season his shot percentage was at 15.6%.

So as you can see by all these stats he’s improved greatly. Now this is the time I get a tiny bit cheesy. This is the time of year for me and everyone else to start a new. 

img_7007Today is my birthday and on Sunday the new year starts. Now let’s all try and be like Johannson and improve this year.

 

Please join us in wishing our girl Lily a HAPPY CAPS BIRTHDAY!!

Caps, Taps, and Telos; A Night of Joy

The Washington Capitals have forged a special relationship with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Telos to raise awareness about US military families who have survived the loss of a loved one. One night a year, the Capitals host these families at Kettler Ice Plex to skate with a few players as part of a supportive community.

watermarked212016-12-22-2100We first came to know about TAPS through the incredible support they provided to family friends, Courtney and Brooke. These two wonderful ladies have come through the other side and devote much of thejr time to help other military families heal and become part of this wonderful community.

 

On Thursday night Zack Sanford, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Oshie signed autographs, took tons of pictures with these special families, and more importantly, listened to their stories. It was an honor to witness this spectacular event and to talk with families and supporters of Taps and Courage Caps. It truly was a joyful night as spirits were lifted and this community did what few can–lift each other up and walk with one-another.

We hope we have honored those families with these photos and thank TAPS for allowing us to photograph them tonight.

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If you would like to find out more about TAPS and how you can become part of the support system, please click here.

watermarked242016-12-22-2100-1January 11 the new Caps Courage shirts and hats go on sale. We spoke with Telos about this year’s hats and they can’t wait for you to buy the merchandise in support of military families. This is the sixth season of Telos support to TAPS.

Caps Practice: Fine Tuning

Nothing much new to report from practice today. They came, they drilled, they went off and spread more cheer after practice.

Doesn’t look like any change in lines for now, other than Connolly may be back in come Friday. Maybe that will be different at morning skate on Friday before the game. Nor sure about Sanford at this point.

Coach spent a good bit of time feeding pucks and adding comments…

watermarked102016-12-22-2155  The buzz around the rink today was all about Alex Ovechkin. There are a couple of article out there about the “slump.” Washington Post, Japers Rink, CSN, and CSN/USA News.

Practice went longer than we expected today. With Ovi meeting the Fort Dupont Cannos and TJ Oshie shooting a commercial, and TAPS in the evening, we thought it would be abbreviated today. Nope, full practice and then some stayed after to shoot the puck old school with some fun shooting challenges.

 

 

Fort Dupont Holiday Skate with Caps

Fort Dupont Ice Arena has a close relationship with the Washington Capitals and its fan base. Today the Caps, and captain Alex Ovechkin welcomed founder Neal Henderson and almost 50 players with the Cannons to skate after practice today.

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ovi-shootingSo Ovi made a quick change after practice and reappeared as Santa O!

How cool is it to take a puck from one of the greatest shooters of all time.

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Friends and families had a great time! And an honor to have Neal Henderson in the house. And many Caps players stayed around to watch too.

If you would like to help support Fort Dupont, stop by the Fan Club table Friday night and bid on a Christmas ball or just drop a donation with them. Or click here to find out more.

Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, founded in 1978 by Neal Henderson, is a developmental program that provides local and inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. (From their home page)

Caps Lose Intensity Match to Flyers in OT

Wednesday night rivalry.

The Washington Capitals versus the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both riding some great win streaks. Both bringing their all to a heated competition. Both bringing hatred for their opposition. This promises to be a great game!
The first period was intense. It was fast-paced. Both teams playing with ferocity. While it was not necessarily the no holds barred, constant fisticuffs we have come to know between these two teams, it was a great battle between two great teams. It was relatively quiet the entire period. The Caps committed the only penalty of the period. At 6:16 into the period, Daniel Winnik was called for tripping Wayne Simmonds. Flyers only had one shot on goal during their powerplay but did not score. The Caps drew first blood when Andre Burakovsky scored with 1:30 left in the period. Caps up, 1-0.
The second period was very similar to the first. Lots of back and forth. Some great chances by both teams. However, most chances were met by even better saves by the goalies. There were three penalties committed. There were also three goals scored. The penalties were committed by Lars Eller and Justin Williams for the Caps and Shayne Gostisbehere for the Flyers. Williams and Gostisbehere were matching minors so the teams played 4 on 4. Goals were scored by Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux for the Flyers, and Lars Eller for the Caps. Caps and Flyers tied, 2-2.
The Flyers started the third with the remnants of a power play, but could not convert. The third period was a very similar look to the first two periods. Lots of back and forth. Tom Wilson started getting pretty physical. While on a two on one, Wilson laid a Flyers player out in front of his own net. A few seconds after that, Wilson and Simmonds exchanged aggressive hugs next to Braden Holtby. One of the refs took a puck from Simmonds off his body and went down. Luckily he was ok and stayed in the game. With 1:43 left in the game, the Caps got their first powerplay of the night when Radko Gudas was called for hooking Wilson. However, the Caps could not score and the game goes to overtime.
Caps started OT with an abbreviated powerplay, going 4 on 3 for 12 seconds. The Caps did not score, so back to even strength they go! Holtby stood tall, making some great saves to keep the Caps in this game. Steve Mason was not tested much in OT, but when he was, he was phenomenal as well! Neither team scored, so we go **Wes Johnson voice**

TO A SHOOTOUT. Flyers elected to go first. Gostisbehere was up first, and lost the puck. TJ Oshie went first for the Caps and scored. Claude Giroux was up next and was denied by Holtby. Evgeni Kuznetsov was up next but was stopped by Mason. Jakub Voracek scored. Nicklas Backstrom was denied by Mason. Simmonds scored. Williams missed.

Flyers win, 3-2.
Not gonna lie, that one stung a bit. Well, at least we got a point, right?

Caps are now 19-8-4. Their next game is against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday at home in the Verizon Center at 7pm. See ya then, Caps faithful.

Caps-Flyers: Everyone Expects  Intense Game

Coach said it Tuesday, there is a huge mental component to playing the game of hockey and the game against the Flyers has “been intense, so I don’t expect anything different.” We expect speed, hitting, fighting, penalties, and hopefully lots of SOG leading to goals on the board! Not only will the players need to keep their feet moving they will need to have their heads in the game for 60 solid minutes. Both teams are coming in off a loss and both looking to gain a solid spot in the Metropolitan Division.

The Flyers agree, writes the  Courier Post in Philly, and both will be fighting hard for the two points.

Trotz specifically called out Wayne Simmonds as one of the opponents to watch in the game. Philly.com quotes Simmonds as saying: “We owe them. We owe them something. They’re coming into our building, so we need to play a good game.” He too expects an intense game.

“We’ve reset the bar a little bit for ourselves in terms of expectations — that we can beat anybody, we can go on a run and be competitive every night,” general manager Ron Hextall — CSN-Philly

Caps need to be prepared for a tough time getting the goal past Steve Mason while the Flyers think Justin Williams, in addition to Braden Holtby could cause them some trouble, so says Philly.com today.

burakovskyLooks like Andre Burakovsky is back in tonight for the Caps. We’ve seen him fine tuning his craft at practice and Captain Ovi seems to be wishpering in his ear!

The expected lines for the Washington Capitals:
Sanford, Chorney, Connolly scratched. Grubauer goalie in waiting with Holtby in the net.

In case you missed it, Neuvy is out for several weeks and Steve Mason should be in the net tonight.

The expected lines for the Philadelphia Flyers:

 

Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

 

Pre-Flyers Practice Photos

The Capitals had a full practice this morning and they remained in good cheer. Could it be that practice is sandwiched between a visit to Caps MedStar yesterday and skating with Seth from TAPS after practice today that has put them in a positive mood.

Lets start with our goalies. Coach Mitch Korn started their practice early this morning with a little one-on-one with Holtby.

The team went through normal warmup routines and practice shots.

There were a few odd moments – like what kind of a move was Mojo making? Even Ovie seemed confused.

marcus-squatBut then even Ovi had is awkward yoga style shot move…

ovi-leg-shot We know that the coaches are constantly looking at ways to help each player improve their game and today that even included goalie coach Mitch Korn spending time with Ovechkin.

But we have to say that much of what we saw today had to do with the players pushing themselves and pushing Braden Holtby in the net as they prepare for the firepower of the Flyers.

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In the end, Hotby looked pretty happy and we are feeling good about the Caps in Philly.

But, the one thing we don’t want to see tomorrow is this:

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Caps Giving Continues with Seth & TAPS

Following practice today many of the players stayed after to skate with seven year old Seth Parrish from TAPS–the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors–and organization which provides care for the families of America’s fallen heroes. Seth started his morning meeting TJ Oshie and then donned his jersey to skate with the players.

Seth started his skate experience with Braden Holtby and TJ. We’re pretty sure he was running things at that end of the rink.

From there he had some three-on-one with the likes of Jay Beagle, Jakub Vrana, and Tom Wilson. Zach Sanford got in on some of the fun too.

Clearly,Tom Wilson was loving today as he, and later Taylor Chorney, spent the most time with young Seth. At one point Seth ‘knocked’ over Wilson and nonchalantly skated around Tom as he lay on the ice.

Chorney and Wilson stayed on the ice until Seth was finally ready to go. Tom tried to change sticks with him, but Seth was having none of it. Seth took a couple of breaks on the ice – first to make snow angels and then to rest in the back of the net. Tom kept asking if he was getting tired and Seth would just get up and go again. It was the cutest thing ever!!

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Eventually, Tom and Taylor convinced Seth to help them clean up the pucks and he headed off the ice with Wilson. We aren’t sure which of the three was more exhausted. All we know is they all had big smiles when they left!!

Here’s more about Seth from ABC7:

http://wjla.com/news/local/capitals-surprise-7-year-old-boy-who-lost-military-dad

If you would like to know more about TAPS and how you can contribute to the families who have given so much for us, please click here. The Caps will host TAPS later this week for their annual skate with the players, another wonderful part of their outreach program.
Here are a couple more videos from Seth’s time with the Caps.