Keys to Beating the Penguins

Opinion Piece by Chris Cleveland

Now that the Caps have survived the Maple Leafs and are on to the Round Two, it’s time to tackle what it is they need to do to finally get over that second round hump–for the first time in a long time. Lets look at what’s ahead.

watermarked362016-11-17-0815First, the Penguins don’t have their best defenseman Kris Letang and that really hurts Pitt but is great for us. Not having to worry about Letang will be a huge help this series for the Caps since he is one of the best all around D-men in the NHL.  I don’t think the Pens were really tested that much playing the Blue Jackets and it wasn’t as obvious that they were missing Letang. The Caps really need to throw as much pressure as possible on this short handed defense lineup. We are a much better team then Columbus and I think we can really expose the hole in the Penguins defense without one of their best weapons.

Another key factor to this series is the Caps power play. It has been up and down all season but I really do think this is going to be the most important aspect for the Caps this series. Their power play struggled a bit against the Leafs. Watching Game Four the other day and seeing them not score on the 5 on 3 they had for two minus drove me absolutely crazy!! Coach Trotz needs to have them at Kettler for the next few days getting the power play right.  I’ve been to a few practices during the playoffs and I don’t think they spend enough time working on the power play. Even if it takes up half of practice go for it. Not to mention the power play was also 0/4 in Game Five. That’s when you know it really needs work. If the Caps can get the power play going early in the series Pittsburgh might be in for a long ride. When our PP gets going there is no stopping it.

The last big key to beating the Penguins in the Round Two will be the 5 on 5 play. The Caps looked to be struggling at times in this series. I actually don’t blame them too much. The Maple Leafs are a young team with blazing fast speed so I wasn’t all that surprised this series was a cat and mouse game. Speed is a really concern as we look at the Caps overall this past round. If the Caps can improve their 5 on 5 play against the Pens, I really do think this series will be good for them.

The best advantage that the Caps have this series is home ice. I think they really need to jump on Pittsburgh early in this series. They need to get the best defensive pairs out there when Crosby and Malkin are on the ice. Winning the first two games of this series is totally crucial for the Caps, especially on their home ice.

With all that said, if the Capitals can come out firing the first two games of the series and play like we know they can,  I really do believe they can win this in five games. They are perfectly capable of winning at home then going up to Pittsburgh and at worst, splitting 1-1 there. Then they can bring the round back home and it in a triple OT game five thriller in front of the noisy Verizon center crowd!!

LETS GO CAPS!!

What to Expect in Week Ahead: 28 November to 4 December 2016 for Capitals

The past week (November 21 – 27) we saw two wins and a loss. In the two home games before and after Thanksgiving we saw a spark in the Caps that gave us hope. And then there was the sad game in Toronto that had us asking what the heck is going on???

The Caps have plenty of time to work out whatever is holding them back. First game isn’t until Thursday.

Game Schedule

Thursday, 1 December, NY Islanders at Verizon Center, 7:00  pm on

Saturday, 3 December, at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:00 pm on CSN-DC

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps held practice at Kettler  Capitals Iceplex at 10:30.

Tuesday practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 10:30

Wednesday practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 10:30

Thursday Morning Skate will likely be an optional skate.

Friday  TBD

Saturday morning skate Tampa Bay

Special Events

Thursday is German Heritage Night at Verizon Center. FWe’ll have to see if he is net as the week unfolds.ans typically wear black, red and gold and cheer on Germany’s own Philipp Grubauer.

Per the Caps website: “Join us as we kick-off the first of four Caps Heritage Nights, celebrating hockey’s German heritage. Fans who purchase a Heritage Night package will receive an exclusive Capitals Oktoberfest-themed beer stein and the opportunity to attend a postgame Q&A with German Capitals player(s). All fans in attendance will enjoy German themed food and drink specials from Aramark and thematic experiences throughout the concourse with Slapshot and the Red Rockers.”

Theme tickets are available through washingtoncaps.com

Thursday is Third Jersey Night!

Washington Capitals Week Ahead:  14 to 20 November 2016

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After a tough schedule and roller coaster of scoring, the Caps have a chance to restart with a clean slate. They have one away game and then cans settle in at home for five in a row – three this week.

Game Schedule

Wednesday, 15 November at the Columbus Blue Jackets, 7:00 pm on CSN-DC

Thursday, 16 November, Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center, 7:30  pm on NBCSN

Friday, 18 November, Detroit Red Wings at Verizon Centers, 7 pm on CSN

Sunday, 20 November, Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center,  12:30 pm on CSN

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps held practice at Kettler before flying out for Columbus, Ohio.

Tuesday Morning Skate at Nationwide Arena in Columbus at 11:30

Wednesday is another day off as they settle in before the Pens game.

Thursday Morning Skate is a scheduled day off.

Friday Morning Skate likely at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:15 am

Saturday Practice at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:30 am

Special Events

Friday is Third Jersey Night!

The Caps will hold a canned food drive on Sunday during the CBJ game. All food collected will go to the Capital Area Food Bank. Fans who donate two or more non-perishable items will receive a Nick Backstrom poster.

The Capitals announced: “ Washington Capitals players Braden Holtby, Nate Schmidt and Tom Wilson will serve as Muscle Team Members during the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 2016 Muscle Team Gala on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View in Arlington, Va.”

Media Touch Points

Tuesday, 8:40 a.m.: Karl Alzner on The Sports Junkies, 106.7 The Fan
Wednesday, 5 p.m.: John Carlson on Chad Dukes vs. The World, 106.7 The Fan

Washington Capitals Week Ahead: 7 – 13 November

The Caps have three games on the schedule for this week: one at home and two on the road. After a busy week with a fifth win in a row and the events surrounding Hockey Fights Cancer, the week ahead may give them a bit more family time and time to bond on the road. We’ll keep an eye out for line changes after Ovi, Backy, and Oshie were reunited for a successful win on Saturday.

Game Schedule

Tuesday, 8 November, San Jose Sharks at Verizon Center, 7:00 pm on CSN-DC

Friday, 11 November, at the Chicago Blackhawks,  8:30 pm on CSN-DC

Saturday, 12 November, at the Carolina Hurricanes, 7 pm on CSN-DC

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps have a day off.

Tuesday Morning Skate at Kettler Caps Iceplex, 10:30

Wednesday Practice Kettler Caps Iceplex: 11:30

Thursday Practice Kettler Caps Iceplex, 10:30 am (Could be cancelled for travel)

Friday Morning Skate likely at United Center in Chicago

Sunday, we likely a day off as has become the tradition.

Special Events

Tuesday the nation votes for its next president and Caps fans vote for their next bobble head!!  Per the Caps press release your candidates are:

Braden Holtby (squirting a water bottle), Tom Wilson (as Wilson from “Cast Away”) and Justin Williams (with bed-head), and they’re all winners.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8, fans may cast their votes on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram using one of the following three hashtags: #VoteHoltby, #VoteWilson or #VoteWilliams. Voting will end at 9 p.m., during the Capitals’ home game against the Sharks.

Who to Watch

 

Zach Sanford turns 22 on November 9. Be sure to send him lots of birthday wishes on his twitter: @zachsanford21 or Instgram @zachsanford.

Ovechkin: Count down to 1,000 career NHL points. He has 977 as of 11/7.

Ovechkin: One goal away from matching Jaromir Jagr’s 19 regular season overtime goals and two from taking the lead in one more category. (as of 11/7)

Ovechkin: Three goals away from a new career high 200 power play goals (977 as of 11/7)

 

AND US!!  We’ll be live from Carolina on Saturday and Lily will be providing some information on the Blackhawks game after her visit on Friday. Stay tuned friends – we are everywhere for you!!

Washington Capitals Weekly: 31 October to 6 November 2016

The Caps have one more game in Canada (Jets) on Tuesday and they return to a re-match with the Jets on home ice on Thursday.   Check the times below for game and practice times.

Game Schedule

Tuesday, 1 November at the Winnipeg Jets, 8:00 pm on CSN-DC

Thursday, 3 November, the Winnipeg Jets at Verizon Center,  7 pm on CSN-DC

Saturday, 5 November, the Florida Panthers at Verizon Centers, 7 pm on CSN-DC

     (Hockey Fights Cancer auction concludes)

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps have a day off.

Tuesday Morning Skate at MTS Centre in Winnipeg (Closed)

Wednesday is another day off as they settle in back home.

Thursday Morning Skate at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:30 am

Friday Practice likely at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 11:30 am

Saturday Morning Skate at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:30 am

Sunday, we are betting they have the day off as has become the tradition.

Special Events

The players will don lavender sweaters for Hockey Fights Cancer during warm ups on 5 November. The shirts will bear the names of those people to whom the Caps dedicate the game. The jerseys, and other signed items, are part of the ongoing auction, which closes after the second period intermission. Click here to see how you can bid on these items. (Current top item is a jersey for $1,000 and lowest is a $50 signed puck)

Who to Watch

Zach Sanford – he has his first NHL point and keeps coming close to a goal. Could this be the week?

Marcus Johansson – Everyone is buzzing about his two two-goal games. Is there a hat trick coming?

Washington Capitals Weekly: 24 to 30 October 2016

The Caps have three games this week; all in Canada  They will be in town for a couple practice sessions and a a Season Ticket Holder’s event before heading north. Check the times below because we have some late nights ahead of us.

Game Schedule

Wednesday, 26 October at the Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 pm on CSN-DC

Saturday, 29 October at the Vancouver Canucks,  10 pm on CSN-DC

Sunday, 30 October, at the Calgary Flames, 9:30 pm on CSN-DC

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday Practice at Caps Kettler Iceplex at 10:30

Tuesday Practice  at Caps Kettler Iceplex at 10:30

Wednesday Morning Skate at Rogers Place, 11:30

Thursday the Caps have the Day OFF

Friday Practice To Be Announced

Special Events

The Washington Capitals will host their annual Season Ticket Holders Member Party on Monday evening at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Fans will be taking pictures and getting autographs and your FiCP team will be there to bring you all the news!

Formidable Four

Seventy-eight games down, four to go. The Caps have four games left before people judge this season. In their final four games, the Caps won`t have any easy ones as all four teams are battling for playoff position.

First, the New York Islanders Tuesday, April 5 7 p.m. EST

In what may be a potential first round playoff series, the Islanders sit two points out of third in the metro with one game in hand on the Penguins, but only two ahead of the Flyers for the second wild card spot. They also only sit three points ahead of Boston but have two games in hand on them. The Caps will need to come out strong at home against a fighting Islander team.

Second, Pittsburgh Penguins  Thursday, April 7 7 p.m. EST

The Caps will face the Penguins in what will be a hard fought game. The Penguins will look to lock up second place in the metropolitan division. The Caps will look to show that the 6-2 defeat in Pittsburgh last month is nothing more than a bad night. This will be a fun game to watch as both sides will have something to show.

Third, at St. Louis Blues, Saturday, April 9 8 p.m. EST

The Blues will look to solidify second in the Central, if they haven’t already by this point. In the final regular season road game, the Caps will look to play a hard and tough game like they will need to in the playoffs. By this point, the Caps may know who they will play in round 1 and if that is the case, look for them to finalize their round 1 line up.

Last up, Anaheim Ducks, Sunday April 10, 7:30 p.m. EST

In what is the make up game from the snow storm back in January, the Caps will close out the regular season at home. The Ducks currently sit 1 point out of first in the pacific and will know their fate by this game. The Caps on the other hand, may not. The Flyers and Islanders also play on this day. In that game, the loser may be coming to D.C. If Justin Williams plays in the three games leading up to this game, this will be his 1,000 career game.

In these final four games, look for the Caps to finalize their line up for round 1 and for them to try and help Holtby break the single season wins record while trying to prevent injuries. Enjoy these final four games of a historic season.

Caps Need To Capitalize

Brandon’s Predictions

The Capitals face an interesting week as they play half of their final eight games with three of them being on the road.

First up Columbus Blue Jackets: Monday, March 28, 7:00 pm EDT

Columbus has always played the Caps tough and I would expect nothing different on Monday. Something to watch for is the possible return of TJ Oshie who missed the last two games with the flu. In those two games, the Caps scored zero 5×5 goals culminating in the 4-0 loss to the Blues on Saturday.

Second, Philadelphia Flyers: Wednesday, March 30 8:00 EDT

The Caps head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers who are fighting for not only their playoff lives, but even playoff positioning. In what is a very likely first round playoff series, I would hope the Caps come out  strong to make a statement.

Next Up, Colorado Avalanche: 9:00 pm EDT

Much like the Flyers, the Avalanche are fighting for their postseason lives. In what is game one, of a back to back, expect the Caps to roll all four lines regardless of the score. If Holtby wins the games against the Flyers and Blue Jackets, then a win in this game would tie the NHL record for wins in a single season.

Last up, Arizona Coyotes: 9:00 pm EDT

Arizona is a very young and talented team. The Caps will need to come out of the gates strong or they could be down big early. Expect Phillup Grubauer to get this start as he looks to rebound after a rough performance on Saturday.

The last couple of road trips haven’t gone that well. Lets hope this week is better!

 

Start Strong; Caps This Week

Brandon’s Caps Look Ahead

This week, it is essential that the Caps continue to play better in the first period. In the last two games, Carolina and Pittsburgh, I thought the team played well in the opening frame compared to what we have seen in recent weeks. This week, the Caps need to continue that drive in the home stretch.

First up, the battle of the nations capitals as the Caps travel to face the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 Tuesday. The Senators are not likely to make the playoffs. The Caps should dominate them, but easy games do not exist at this level. I look for the Caps to come out angry after the horrible game against the Penguins on Sunday. The team needs to keep the “not losing in back to back games” streak alive.

If they win in Ottawa Tuesday, they will clinch the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference top seed.

Second comes the New Jersey Devils on Friday, March 25, 7:00. The Devils once held hope of making the playoffs, but when All-Star goaltender Corey Schneider went down with an injury, it all vanished. The Devils still play a heavy defensive game. When the Caps get chances, they will need to convert on them. This is game one of a back-to-back and the Caps will need the ability to run all four lines.

Third we have the St.Louis Blues on Saturday, March 26 at 7:00. Troy Brouwer will make his return to Verizon Center with the St.Louis blues who, as of today (Tuesday) sit two points back of the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central. The Blues are fighting for a playoff spot and will definitely come out strong. The Caps will need to be ready for a playoff team and won`t be able to “flip the switch”with this one.

The Caps need to continue to focus on gaining and keeping the lead. We are in the home stretch, it is time to show up or shut up.

Lets GO CAPS!!!!

Caps: Home Relaxation

After a grueling stretch of 7 games in 12 nights with a cross country flight, the Caps return with only two games this week. However, these games are not going to be easy at all.

First up, Carolina Hurricanes, Tuesday  (3/15) at 7 EST.

Carolina is fighting for their playoff lives. They are five points back from the Red Wings. Carolina is 3-0-2 since the trade deadline. The Caps can lock up a playoff spot tonight with a win, however it will not be an easy task. When these teams match up it is always close, I expect this one to be another one goal game. However, if the Caps can get out to an early lead at home, they might just take all the confidence out of this desperate Hurricanes team.

Game 2: Nashville Predators, Friday, March 18, 7 EST.

As of Tuesday, the Predators are a safe nine points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for a playoff spot. However, with the Blackhawks starting to slump, the Predators may be looking to pounce. They sit only five points back out of the third spot in the Central Division. They may be looking to make a run for that spot.

In these two upcoming games, it is important that the Caps feed off the Verizon Center crowd early. If the Caps start out slow, and allow the first goal, the fans could go into the “here we go again” mentality and be quiet the whole game. Hopefully with a less heavy game week, the Caps can get back on track and fix these slow starts before the playoffs.