A June Caps Fans will Never Forget

Remember back in May 2018 when the Capitals surpassed previous expectations and entered the final round of the NHL Playoffs? Remember when Caps fans went crazy as their team returned from Las Vegas tied in the series 1-1 to play their first home ice game on June 2nd? Continue reading “A June Caps Fans will Never Forget”

Caps Have Up-and-Down Week, Defeat Vegas Before Falling to New Jersey and Toronto

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Folks don’t blink. We’re back and the Washington Capitals are already charging forward into the 2018-19 season! This past week was an interesting one that began with a home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, a Stanley Cup rematch. Then the Caps quickly turned around to head up to New Jersey to take on the Devils in another back-to-back for the second week in a row (thanks schedule makers!) before coming back home to host Auston Matthews and the high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs offense who made the biggest splash in the summer by acquiring John Tavares. FiCP takes a look back at these games as we await for more Caps action to come on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers. Continue reading “Caps Have Up-and-Down Week, Defeat Vegas Before Falling to New Jersey and Toronto”

Rock the Road! Capitals Win All Three Games Away as Their Attack Gets More Deadly

Washington Capitals complete the road trip with three wins, a four-win streak, and ready to win at home! #caps

Playing away from home wasn’t a problem for the Caps, who faced three teams before meeting again with the fans in the hometown. Their attack has been more deadly and the defense looks more solid, though it does still need some additional caution. But anyhow, it’s a great improvement compared to the last few months. The team has been able to improve its season stats, with 240 goals. Combined with the 223 goals against, the Caps now hold a +17 goal differential. Continue reading “Rock the Road! Capitals Win All Three Games Away as Their Attack Gets More Deadly”

Dmitry Orlov: Canidate for Caps’ Goal of the Year

Dmitry Orlov may have potentially scored the Washington Capitals’ goal of the year. A very Alex Ovechkin-like goal, Orlov came roaring down the right side on the rush on Dallas Stars’ defenseman John Klingberg. Orlov pulled a backhand toe drag on the puck between his legs and made him look silly, turning him inside-out and forcing him to stumble hard. Always quite embarrassing for a defenseman when that happens. Orlov then went to bury it short-side, top-shelf on Ben Bishop for a highlight reel goal. Orlov’s face said it all in his celebration, “Did I really just pull that off in an NHL game???” It is still way too early in the season to declare it the goal of the year, but this will definitely be one of the top plays for sure. I personally think it will, unless someone pulls a Connor McJesus on someone while going bar-down on the goalie. We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Here is a video of the goal just in case you missed it, or you just want to re live this over and over again like I do.

Rocking the Hometown: Capitals Win all Four: Streak Totals 12

The Washington Capitals had a four-game homestretch and won all of them. In total, they’re 12 games undefeated at Verizon Center and 11 of those with five goals or more. The Caps won the first two games with shutouts, by 5-0 over the LA Kings and Carolina Hurricanes.  In the last two, the Capitals scored six goals for the win.

It’s important to note how the offensive and defensive players are doing their jobs. If a team wants great achievements, all of their members must work well and harmoniously. And the Caps have got that. The top-six and the bottom lines are scoring and adding points to their totals.

watermarked432016-11-17-0815The Caps are now the second team with the most goals at 192. Their rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are leading by 193. But the gap was even bigger last month when the difference was around 20 goals. The defensemen are still doing a great job, keeping the team as the one which suffered fewer goals, with 121.

The goaltending? Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer noted a shutout each. Holtbeast got his 14th straight win, tied for the second-longest by a goalie in NHL history.  In the season, Holtby has 29 wins, ranking third.  img_7194 The first place is tied between Sergei Bobrovsky and Devan Dubnyk.

In their last game against the Ducks, the Caps won by 6-4. With the first goal, scored by TJ Oshie, he recorded  400 points and Nick Backstrom, with the assist, reached 700 points. Backstrom is ranked second in points, with 60, tied with Sidney Crosby. The leader is Connor McDavid, with 61.

The Caps have reached an important mark. They tied a record with the Boston Bruins as the team in NHL history to score 5+ goals in 11 straight home games. The Bruins’ 1970-71 roster, which reached the record, featured three Hall of Famers: Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr and Johnny Bucyk.

The Caps head into bye week leading the NHL and as the only team to reach the 80’s, with 84. After, they head into a three-game road and the first foe is the Red Wings, at Feb. 18.img_7629

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!

SWOT Analysis of Washington Capitals

Welcome to our new feature: SWOT analysis of the Washington Capitals based on what we have read by you, the experts, and our own in-game experience. SWOT analysis is a way of looking at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization and then considering the threats and opportunities. For us we will be considering the positive and not-so positive aspects of the team in the previous week and areas in which we think they could improve and the threats to winning if they don’t make some changes.

For the week of 6 to 12 November the Caps played the San Jose Sharks (at home), the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Carolina Hurricanes (away games.) Based on those games we offer the following analysis:

Strengths

Coach Trotz has a plan

Dmitry Orlov blocking & shooting

TJ Oshie can play any line

Daniel Winnik on the PK

Marcus Johansson is a scoring machine

Weaknesses

Defense in front of the net

Jumbled lines- inconsistency

John Carlson not fully himself

Threats to Scoring

Too many penalties

Travel with back-to-back games

Opponents trapping Ovechkin

Potential injury

Opportunities

Increase shooting and number of shots on goal

Tighten the  defense

Increase power play goals (John Carlson)

Spread the scoring power across all lines

All-in-all the Caps are playing well. They had the five-game winning streak and were able to bounce back from the loss to San Jose with a narrow OT win in Chicago. Coach Trotz is flexible with the inter-changeability of the lines; he knows TJ Oshie brings energy to any line he plays and probably is one of the strongest assets to the team.

Caps Week in Review: The Tumultuous Battle

Capitals’ head coach Barry Trotz often talks about the battle the Caps are in and the need to manage the puck. When the team struggled during their Western Conference road trip, he spoke about fighting through adversity. It seems this week the Caps are back in that spot with two tough losses in four games played since Sunday, March 20.

Pittsburgh Energy

The slide started with a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This was the team’s first of three away games. Although Washington looked strong when they took to the ice at Consol Energy, the Pens zapped their energy and quickly took control of the game. Pittsburgh outshot the Caps 31 to 18. It was also a night in which the Caps spent a good bit of the game fighting back Pens power plays. Coach would later say, “There’s no excuse for sloppy play.”

Ottawa Clinch

The Caps managed to clinch their spot as the number one team going into the Stanley Cup playoffs as well as the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference as the top scoring team in both. Coach Trotz shifted Justin Williams up to the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the hopes that it might spark back some of the energy left in Pittsburgh. The Caps scored quickly in the first period with a great goal by Mike Richards. The remainder of the game was pretty smooth skating; however, Ottawa outshot Washington 30 to 22. There were fewer penalties this game, but the tripping by Dmitry Orlov stood out with fans who continue to question Orlov’s inconsistency. On a high note-it was Holtby’s 44th win of the season bringing him a little closer to Martin Brodeur’s record of most wins (48) in a season. Caps win 4 -2.

Devils OT

The Caps were back to fighting for an edge in Newark on Friday night. The game was probably one of the slowest games we have seen in a long time. Scott Wedgewood was in for Corey Schneider and boy was he ever a wall. John Carlson returned to the defense lines and TJ Oshie stayed home sick so Stan Galiev was given the chance to play. It took until the last five minutes of the third period before we really saw any enthusiasm on the ice and even that wasn’t enough to score. It would take until overtime and a slap shot (assisted by Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera) by the much improved John Carlson to give the Caps the win and two points.  Caps barely outshot the Devils 26-22.

Blues – Yes the Caps were Blue for Sure

This one is hard to write about. The Caps came home Saturday to play the then number one team in the Central Division. Philipp Grubauer was in the net, giving Holtby a bit of a rest. Oshie was still out sick and his absence was felt. The Caps made it through the first period but the second was disastrous. Orlov got the blame again for keeping the puck out of the zone and by the end of the period St. Louis was up 3-0. The third period only got worse. Jake Alan was solid and blocked 32 shots from the Caps. Caps outshot the Blues 32 to 29 but lost the battle 4-0.

In Conclusion

 Having Carlson back is a good thing and helped to turn things around in his hometown of Newark. The Caps have been  pretty confident winning against Eastern Conference teams but even those games have been a bit shaky of late. And there is a growing concern about them playing against Western Conference teams –one that they will have to face if they make it all the way to the finals. Check our look ahead to see how we think this week is likely to unfold.

 

Washington Capitals Road Trip Battles

The Washington Capitals started their longest road trip (four games in nine days) of the season in Boston. We had our concerns about the teams they would meet–especially the top three in the Pacific Division. Boston was not a bad game. Coach Trotz said he was pleased with the team’s ability to battle through adversity and take the win. The Caps recorded 100 points on the trip and according to the Washington Capitals “This season marks the fastest the Capitals have reached 100 points in franchise history (65 GP) and Washington became the 10th team in NHL history to reach the 100-point plateau in 65 games or less” They headed for the west coast on a high.

And then the real battle began. The Ducks proved to be tough opponents. The Caps barely walked away with the win. The LA Kings highlighted the chinks in the Capitals defensive armor and their “comeback” team reputation was tarnished. It was even worse when they played the San Jose Sharks resulting in a 5-2 loss. It is apparent that the coaching staff needs to consider some adjustments it they hope to lead the team back to a final run, which might include one of these teams.

Is it time to panic? It seems that many have been waiting for the signal to start the wringing of hands. We think not. This has been a learning week. It comes at a good time when the Capitals are in a good position to secure their spot in the playoff berth. This gives them some latitude to improve The Caps are now 49-14-5 with 103 points. They end their road trip 2-2.  In addition, the Capitals’ 103 points already mark the fifth-most points in franchise history. We aren’t worried yet, but we think there is room for improvement. Some things to consider:

  • How can they improve the first period and gain more control over the game.
  • Do they need to bring back some of the fourth-line players to  stir things up?  Michael Latta and Stanislav Galiev were scratches the whole series,
  • They are still giving their opponents to many opportunities to score with all the penalties.
  • Alex Ovechkin isn’t scoring right now. He has had three assists in the last five games. We can’t help but ask what distracted him during this road trip?
  • TJ Oshie is back to scoring and doing what he does best in the shootout. He has three goals in the last five–all power-play goals.
  • Andre Burakovsky showed real promise. He had a goal and two assists. Evgeny Kuznetsov and he are creating openings to score. Kuzy had three assists in four games.

 

Bottom line: NO it is NOT time to panic. It is time to learn, correct, and succeed.

Caps Hit 100 points with a  2-1 over Boston

Even though the Caps gave up the first goal in the first period, this was an improved first period. During the second period  the Capitals penalty kill would be successful, thanks to goaltender Philipp Grubauer and his iron friend, defenseman Karl Alzner, who tied the game. The score was tied when the final buzzer sounded, forcing the game into overtime with the Caps and Bruins tied 3-on-3. The OT was active and eventful. Matt Niskanen, set up by Andre Burakovsky, blasted one past Tuukka Rask and the Capitals finally collect both points in Beantown. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer had a great night in net for the Capitals. at this point in the season, the Caps still have not lost two consecutive games in regulation.

Caps over Ducks

Monday night in Anaheim, the first of three California games this week, the Caps discovered just how difficult this road trip could be.  Braden Holtby squared off against John Gibson between the pipes. The Caps would again trail in the first period with a  1-0 at the end of 20 minutes. The Capitals started the second significantly better than the firstbut not by much. After 40 minutes, Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin did not have a shot on goal yet and the second ended with no goals. Thankfully in the third, Andre Burakovksy tied the game with a beautiful pass by Evgeny Kuznetsov. Mike Richards almost scored the game-winner with less than a minute left in regulation; however, it was OT time. 

The Russian connection almost ended the game. Matt Niskanen almost scored another game winner. There were too many Ducks with 1:40 left in the extra session but 15 seconds later T.J. Oshie was called for closing his hand on the puck. Braden Holtby made some great saves on the Ducks. No goals were scored in the extra session so the game needed the shootout to decide a winner. T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom secured the win for the Capitals in the shootout.

LA Kings Crowned Pacific Leaders

There was some emotion before the game as Justin  Williams and Mike Richards entered the Staples Center to old friends and fans, who honored both Stanley Cup winners with standing ovations.  Holtby got the start again for the Caps and Jonathan Quick got the start for the Kings. Yet again, the Caps were in the hole early by allowing the opposing team to score first. They also seem now to enjoy their trips to the penalty box. The Caps picked up the pace early in the second period; however, LA had some very impressive and extensive offensive zone time which zapped the energy out of the Caps. They managed to add a goal to tie the game late in the third and force an overtime.

After knocking Drew Doughty down with his power shot, Ovi almost ends it about 40 seconds into OT but is stopped by Quick who was deep in his crease. LA tried the same but was denied by Holtby. There was a lot of very fast back and forth, up and down the ice before Jeff Carter went top shelf on a sprawling Holtby to give the Kings the victory. The Caps erased a three goal deficit to force overtime, and then gain a point. With this win, the Kings reclaimed the Pacific Division lead.

Losing Their Way in San Jose 

Washington Capital sand San Jose Sharks met for the Caps last game of their west coast trip. . Philip Grubauer got the start in net for the good guys while Martin Jones was in for the Sharks. Even though the Sharks got on the board first, the Caps had nine shots on goal to the 11 by San Jose. Jay Beagle orchestrated an almost goal that led to some scrapping after the whistle.Twenty seconds into the second, the Sharks were called for another penalty, giving the Caps a 5 on 3 power play, which the Caps took advantage of. However, the Sharks had a 2 on 0 breakaway and scored a shorthanded goal, giving them back the lead.  Caps and Sharks tied, 2-2  The third period looked like a bad version of the  “comeback Caps” we are unfortunately used to seeing lately. Bad passing, turnovers and sloppy play gave way to two San Jose goals before the period was three minutes old. The Caps spent way too much time in their own zone. But alas, our boys could not pull off the victory. Hard to do with only 4 shots on goal all period.