Caps End 2017 14-Game Regulation Winning Streak in Loss to Ottawa

The Washington Capitals went to the Canadian capital Tuesday  to keep it’s 14-game point streak, but fell to the Ottawa Senators in Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. It was the Caps’ first regulation loss  this year.

Since 29 Oct. 2016, the Capitals didn’t know what losing looked like. In regulation, at least. During this 14-game point streak, the Caps have won two games against the same Senators, by 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.  Washington didn’t keep the rhythm and suffered a shutout loss by 3-0. The team had six power play chances, but didn’t capitalize any of them.

The Caps weren’t able to keep the deep-scoring, losing without scoring a single goal. Washington couldn’t count on it’s “sheriff” (as we say here in Brazil, the team’s reference in defense) John Carlson again, out with an upper-body injure.  Also, it was a tired team that won Carolina Hurricanes just one day before, in 6-1. Tuesday was the third time this season the Caps were shutout. Last game was an unusual one because the Caps ceded a shorthanded goal and a power play goal a few minutes later. The last time the Caps didn’t score a single goal was at 01 Dec. 2016, losing by the same score, 3-0, to the Islanders.

Anyway, tonight the Caps remain the league leader, since Columbus fell to the New York Islanders by 4-2. Also, the Capitals are still the best team in goals against, with 105 and 2.08 goals against/game. The league’s average is 2.72. Before last game, Washington was  the only team to remain a single-digit loss, with nine.

The Caps take on the New Jersey Devils Thursday – a team that is struggling this year. Let’s hope the rest will rejuvenate the Caps and get them back in the win column. Jay Beagle is back while TJ Oshie is out for personal reasons. John Carlson continues to nurse his injury. 

Stats for Back to Back Games

In the past two weeks we have had two pairs of back to back games. This season we have played 7 back to back games altogether. Tuesday night we lost to the Senators 3-0 as the second game of a back to back. The night before we beat the Hurricanes 6-1.

Back to back games are very difficult. You need to have enough strength to skate fast, score goals, even sometimes have huge fights two days in a row. It isn’t very easy one day let alone two days in a row. It is no wonder that the players can get tired! It is a natural thing to not play as well when tired. As a former hockey player I remember back to back games; it was exhausting and that isn’t even NHL level.

Anyway so what are the stats for back to back games. We have won two games in two sets of back to back games. We have lost one game in the rest of the sets. We have won only the first game in 4 of the 7 sets. We have only won the last game in only 1 of 7 sets. That shows my point that the players do tend to get more tired and play worse on the second of the two games.

What about scoring? We have scored an average of 7.28 goals per set. We have let them score an average of 4.71 goals every set. That is amazing for two games in a row many would think that we would actually let in more goals two games in a row. 

Our next game back to back will be on the 31st of January against the Islanders, and February first against the Bruins. How do you think we will do them?

At the End of the Road, Caps beat the Stars and Break a Taboo Since 2008

In three games on the road, the Caps have collected five of six points. Differently compared to that nine-win streak, two of these three games were really tough. The Caps were able to remain the only team in the league with single digit in losses (nine).

The first game on the road, a wild one against it’s greatest rival, the Penguins, the Caps would manage to tie the game in Pennsylvania, but lost in overtime by 8-7. Anyway, the Caps got a point and it was important to continue a point streak, with 13 games. In all these three games, the Capitals couldn’t count on an important piece: defenseman John Carlson.

The second game was easier, beating the Blues, T.J. Oshie’s former team, by 7-3. Seven different Caps scored and all the 12 forwards got a least one point. And also, the team scored seven goals for the second straight game. It was the first time since Feb. 11-13, 1993 the Capitals scored at least seven goals in back-to-back games. Then it was a 10-6 win over the same Blues and a 10-3 win over the Kings.

Against the Stars, the Caps had the pressure to break a big curse (or as we say in Brazil “break a taboo”): the last time they defeated the Stars was in Oct. 28, 2008. Although it was the league leader against a 27th place team, but it was hard for the Caps to garner the victory in The Lone Star State. Andre Burakovsky wrote his name in franchise history, as the player with most scored-opener in consecutive games with four goals. The Caps saw the Stars turn the score in their favor, 3-1, but they were able to tie it with two PPGs, by Ovi and Oshie. Jay Beagle needed 19 seconds in overtime to get the OTGWG and extend his point streak to 15 games. The last time the Caps defeated the Stars in Dallas, during the regulation, Burakovsky was just a few months old– in 1995.

The road trip did show us some important things about the team and individuals:

  • the team was able to manage to tie a tough game against a strong foe, in their home, in order to get a point in OT;
  • seven different Caps scored and all the 12 were able to note at least one point in St. Luis, Missouri;
  • Burkie wrote his name in franchise history;
  • Ovechkin tied with Wayne Gretzky for 15th in career power play goals, from the Ovi-spot;
  • the team were able to tie a tough game again, ending a drought against them almost 10 years with an heroic OT win by Beags, who has now a 15-game point streak;

To close out the trip, the Caps remain the only team in this regular season with a single digit loss, at nine; and the Caps are tied for first in the NHL with Columbus for goals-against, with 100; and leads the league with 68 points and Goal Differential, +48.

All-in-all; this road trip (with the dads and mentors) has been pretty successful!

Thinking About Potential Trades…

Chris Cleveland has given some thought to what the Caps might do about trades for the coming season. 

What about trading Karl Alzner, Tom Wilson, or even  Dan Winnik and throw in a draft pick to seal the deal?? 

Imagine if the Caps picked up Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog from the Avs? Those names have been bantered about lately as likely on the trade block–see Friedman’s  piece.

I really think it makes perfect sense to consider these. If we want to win the cup this year, I think adding another big element will really help. In my opinion, Alzner and Wilson are both have trade potential.  I also think the Alzner trade is something to consider because it is unlikely the Caps can keep him over TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Andre Burakovsky.

With Wilson, I’m just lost with him right now. Other than being good on the penalty kill,  he hasn’t done much of anything else this season (three goals, five assists so far) He is not that big enforcer he once was. I feel like it’s a waste of a roster spot when you could be using that spot to develop Zach Sanford or Jakub Vrana, which is something the Caps seem highly interested in doing.

The Caps have a few guys who just don’t play well in the playoffs and that’s where a Duchene or Landeskog could come in big. One of them could also really help the Caps power play, which has struggled this year and they are both just such gifted offensive=minded players. I think it could be a boost to our playoff roster and make us legit cup contenders.

New lines

Ovi nicki oshie

Duchene or landeskog kuzy mojo

Vrana buraksovky Williams

Sanford beagle Galeiv

Caps’ Streak Ends in 8-7 (OT) Loss to Penguins. What Did the 10 Last Games Show Us?

Monday night the Capitals’ streak came to an end. But nobody could ever guess how it would be. After a wild game in the Steel City, tied 7-7 in regulation, the Penguins won in OT. The last 10 games, with nine wins, show us a lot about the Caps’ development as a team.

Monday  was the Caps’ first loss in 2017. The streak began on New Year’s Eve, after a 6-2 victory against the Devils. In nine games, the Caps scored 40 goals and 11 against. The team was in the Wild Card and, for a moment, was the league’s leader. In a tough schedule, the team had a 5-0 winning over the Blue Jackets, Canadiens (4-1), Penguins (5-2) and 6-0 over the Blackhawks. In other words, it was 20 goals for and just three against, playing with elite teams in the NHL, including the Caps’ greatest rival and Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. During the nine-game streak, the Caps got four shutouts.

In a wild game against their greatest rival, the Caps saw the streak ending. However, the game itself, with fans complaining about some possible goalie interference, did show that the team has the strength and capacity to fight against adversities. The Caps tied twice as a visitor, in 5-5 and 7-7. Certainly, the game was a “prologue” of what may come ahead: that was their last meeting during the regular season (two victories each in four games) and there’s a huge chance to untie it in the playoffs.

watermarked82017-01-13-2204Even with the streak ending, the Capitals show us a good chemistry. The bottom lines are also scoring and participating effectively on the team’s campaign. Teamwork is evident with moves, passes, showing the important factor a team must get in order to have big achievements: individual skills and the aptitude  to combine it collectively. It’s a mature team that surely shows that they deserve to be in the league’s top rankings and it’s on pace to fight anyone.

Grubi Shutout, Nine Wins, and Flyers Loss in Photos

Ok, lets keep this simple. The Philadelphia Flyers flew into Washington DC after a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday hoping to end the Caps eight game streak. It didn’t happen!

Here is proof that the Flyers were there: photos from pre-game skate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Flyers stated with Steve Mason in the net. That worked pretty good, in large part because the Caps were having a hard time getting any shots on goal. That is until the second period when Andre Burkovsky, unassisted we might add, scored. By the end of the second period the Caps had 10 SOG to the Flyers 17. Caps also had four penalties to the Flyers two.

We aren’t sure what happened during the intermission but the Capitals jumped back on the ice determined to win and determined to get Grubauer his second shutout. They out-shot the Flyers 12 to seven and made each attempt count. Mason couldn’t keep up so they tried our old friend Michal Neuvirth. That didn’t work either.

Justin Williams scored with the assistance of Johansson and Kuznetsov

Matt Niskanen scored with the assistance of Ovechkin and Backstrom

Nisky decided to score again, this time with the help of Wilson and Beagle.

And just to sweeten the deal – Stick scored again, this time with the assist to Backy and Orpick.

And Grubi had 24 saves for for his second shutout!!

There is no way to adequately explain what was going on in the phone booth other than to watermarked92017-01-15-1325say that from the moment Nick Backstrom was honored for 500 career assists to the fan salute at the end–but we loved it!!

watermarked102017-01-15-1558The Caps took their ninth win and sent the Flyers back to Philly with their ninth consecutive loss on the road.

On the downside, John Carlson left the ice in the second period and it is reported he is suffering with a ‘lower-body’ injury. Lets hope it isn’t serious and he isn’t out too long.He is scheduled to travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Monday’s game, according to Coach Trotz.

And lets hope that whatever they are doing as a team — they keep on doing. They sure seem to be having fun now and so are we!!!

FiCP Goes to Hockey N’ Heels

By Brittney Marcum

Hockey N’ Heels 2017, hosted by Courtney Laughlin, was in my opinion, much improved from 2016. The previous year the Caps only used one of Kettler’s rinks; however, this year they utilized both, making the sessions much less rushed and giving us time to truly enjoy them.

Once again there were three on-ice sessions, as well as three off-ice. First up,  our group (the red group) went to learn about face-offs from the legend Rod Langway. He explained to us how to hold the stick as well as why players get thrown out and replaced at the circle. We had so much fun going against each other and unleashing our inner Jay Beagle!!

Next on the agenda was a lesson in goalie skills from the man behind the beast, Coach Mitch Korn. Mitch explained to us the importance of the different pieces of goalie equipment and gave us directions on how to use them. We even got take a go at playing goalie for ourselves. We also spoke to him about how long goalies really have to react to those pucks flying at them from all angles and his responses were astonishing. He said that goalies watch video of players on other teams shooting so that they know what to expect come game time.

Our last on-ice activity was broom ball with Daniel Winnik and Nate Schmidt. Our half of the group was playing alongside Dan Winnik who explained we really needed to moonwalk while playing as to not fall over on our butts… If you must know I definitely fell on mine. Nate Schmidt was really getting into it which made it that much more enjoyable for everyone involved.Brett Connolly and Philipp Grubauer hosted similar groups on the other side of the ice.

The off-ice sessions included a chat with Chef Robert Wood (SuperFd and Eco Catering) who has an AWESOME cookbook coming out, including recipes from  the Caps better halves. The food he cooked up for the evening was delicious[ the shrimp- pineapple skewers were my personal fave! We also got the opportunity to talk with Coach Trotz about his thoughts on how the team is doing and who their biggest competitor is. In case you were wondering he said it was the Blackhawks, and we all know how that went. The third off-ice session was a chat with Caps Alumni Craig Laughlin, Paul Mulvey, and Rod Langway. We discussed the expansion draft and the biggest changes they have seen in the game since they played.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and recommend anyone trying it at least one time.

We want your input!  Let us know what you thought of the event good or bad!

Congrats Again Nicklas Backstrom

watermarked92017-01-15-1325The Washington Capitals and their fans had a chance to show Nick Backstrom just how proud they are of his accomplishment: 500 career assists in 691 NHL games. He is the first Cap player to record 500 assists, the second fastest Swedish player to record 500 assists, third fastest current player with 500 assists, and seen by his teammates as a team leader – all from the Capitals video which played as we were given a chance to congratulate Nicky.

In a sweet ceremony, Backstrom was joined by fiance Lisa Berg and his two children as the Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis and Team President Dick Patrick.presented him with a ceremonial gold hockey stick. The quiet Swede had that big grin as he held his son Vince while waving at fans.

Nicky has already notched an additional five assists (one on Sunday) since becoming the 139th player to reach this impressive milestone a week ago. No doubt he will continue to lead his team forward and feed players the puck while scoring a few of his own goals too!

 

We’ve Got Friends in Hot Places Too: FiCP Welcomes Luis to the Team

A few weeks back our contributor and Twitter King Chris Cleveland was complaining that he needed another guy on our girl team. I knew he was right but we also wanted to make sure we added the right person. And then it came to me; ask Luís Felipe Rodrigues, better known by many of you as @WCapitalsBR (Capitals Brasil) on Twitter. And he agreed. He’ll be writing on a regular basis about life as a Caps fan outside of the country and some pieces about his perspective on the Caps. Please welcome him here and give him a follow on Twitter too. 

Here is an introduction to our newest team member:

Where do you live?

I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, born and raised. The place is a reference of summer, beaches, sun and our most popular sport, soccer. I love soccer, but I love hockey with the same intensity.

You recently said you graduated with a history degree? What do you do?

I’ve got my History degree last December, now I want a Master degree in Medieval History. I also would love to write about hockey. I’m in the Navy since 2013, same year I founded the Washington Capitals Brasil.

How did you come to like hockey and the Caps?

It was around 2000-2001, I was six or seven years old at the time. My cousin called me to play the game he bought: NHL Face Off 2000 (for PlayStation One). I always liked winter sports, even living in a tropical country. So, I fell in love with the sport at that very moment. My cousin chose Colorado Avalanche because the logo is a big “A”, and his name is Adriano. I chose the Caps because of that weagle logo; the blue one was my favorite jersey. The player I like most it’s Peter Bondra.

How do you watch or listen?

Here in Brazil, just ESPN has the NHL’s broadcasting rights, but it’s just a few Caps games. It’s just two guys, Ari Aguiar (play-by-play announcer) and Thiago Simões (analyst) are hockey fans and doing a great job, but it’s just one channel and it’s 30 teams in the NHL (now 31, with Las Vegas). So, when it doesn’t broadcast Caps’ games, I use streaming websites, because we don’t have channels like CSN here and the NHL GameCenter is kinda expensive, because we must pay in dollars if we want to get it. One dollar at this moment is worth around R$ 3,20 (Brazilian Real). Sometimes I listen to John Walton in the App.

How hard is it to follow since English is not your first language?

I have loved the English language since I was a kid. So, I studied hard by myself, because the courses are expensive here and it takes some time. You have to do a monthly payment and also, buy the material, like books. I think I can write pretty well, but I need to practice my speaking and listening skills. But I’m improving it lately.

Have you been to a game?

Unfortunately, no. Now it’s 17 years since I started to love hockey and it’s a big dream I MUST realize as soon as I can. It’s taking longer than I expected. I was close last year, I tried to get the Tourist VISA, but it was denied. I can’t wait to see the Caps.

You tweet a lot and have a blog- are there many followers or hockey fans in Brazil?

Thanks to internet and the broadcasting on ESPN, people are knowing hockey. It’s getting known slowly, but it’s a progress. Gradually, people are contacting us and asking to join our WhatsApp group. We have groups like Capitals Brasil on WhatsApp and NHL Brasil on Facebook and WhatsApp. We have followers from Brazil and abroad, mainly USA.

I’d like to take the opportunity and say “thanks” to all the Americans who follow and interact with us. Some of them said very kind words of support and admiration to our project. They’re also part of our history. And, representing the Washington Capitals Brasil, I’d like to say thank you to FiCP for your invitation, I loved the interview and you girls’ project is great!

So there you have it friends. We are thrilled to have Luis collaborating with us. We are also really excited to see the Caps and the hockey community growing outside of the traditional markets. You’ll be hearing more from Luis soon.

If you would like to join our team, just send us an email at friendsincoldplacesdc@gmail.com and tell us how you would like to contribute–especially if you would like to be part of our Caps Friends Around the World.

Caps Silence Hawks in Six Goal Shutout!!

What can we say about tonight? The Caps blew us away–we can only imagine what it was like in the Blackhawks locker room after Braden Holtby held off all attempts at scoring and the entire team came together to wow the crowd at Verizon.

We saw it during warmups–the guys just had that look of determination.

And then the scoring started in the first period with Jay Beagle followed by Nick Backstrom and Brett Connolly. Second period the Caps came out strong again with Tom Wilson finally getting on the board. And the Caps just kept firing away and playing off each other with TJ Oshie and Beags (again) scoring!!

watermarked42017-01-13-2147The Blackhawks were there – we have the photos to prove it! The Caps outshot them 34 to 24. It didn’t matter if it was Crawford or Darling in the net, they just could not keep the Capitals from scoring. There was a brief moment when it looked like maybe they had scored until Holtby pointed out the interference in front of him and the goal was overturned!

It was an amazing night.

Karl Alzner played his 500th game in a row! What an inspiration.

watermarked112017-01-13-2147Holtby earned his sixth shutout of the season. And he made it look easy!

Wilson scored a goal and had two assists.

watermarked22017-01-13-2231Schmidt and Burakovsky were on the assists and looked like they could have scored. It takes the team playing as a team.

Jay Beagle scored twice…we just love him!

We are excited for this team and the way they are pulling together. This is their eight straight win–a trend we can get behind.

 

Next up is Sunday and the Flyers. Let’s do our best to send them home win less too!

Game time has moved to 1 pm and the Caps will celebrate Nicky’s 500 point milestone.

 Photos by Mel Abernethy