Alex Ovechkin Scores 40th Goal but Caps Fall to Ducks in Anaheim

The Washington Capitals were looking to build off a big win Thursday night in San Jose but they fell to the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday night. Alex Ovechkin achieved another milestone, John Carlson added a goal too but in the end, the Caps couldn’t stay out of the box and the Ducks made them pay with three unanswered goals. The Ducks have swept the Capitals this season after they stunned them in December at Capital One Arena, overcoming a four-goal deficitContinue reading “Alex Ovechkin Scores 40th Goal but Caps Fall to Ducks in Anaheim”

Capitals suffer 6-5 loss to Ducks after squandering lead.

With the Caps carrying a seven-game winning streak and Anaheim donning a three-game streak themselves, the two teams squared off in a Sunday matinee which turned out to be quite the high-scoring affair. Continue reading “Capitals suffer 6-5 loss to Ducks after squandering lead.”

Caps History: Steve Konowalchuk

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The Capitals like firsts. Before Australian Nathan Walker made some history as the first player from down under, there was a left winger from Utah that made a little history of his own. This athlete came from the days when the Capitals jerseys had an eagle across the front.  Steve Konowalchuk was selected as the Caps fifth pick (third round, 58th overall) of the 1991 NHL Draft and became the first Utah-born athlete to play in the NHL, having been born on November 11, 1972, in Salt Lake City. Continue reading “Caps History: Steve Konowalchuk”

Will He Do It????

As I spent my day busy with work, my anticipation for tonight’s Caps game was increasing.  I know there will be those that will doubt what Ovi can do and then there will be the haters. Eiither way he will do it; if not tonight than another night.

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I know he will because The Ice Is Strong With This One. I know when it gets close to puck drop I will break out in my praise dance because the wait would have become too much for me. My only issue with tonight’s game is, it is a late game and I will have to do everything to stay wake.

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But I refuse to miss the moment when the man with the golden hands scores that SIX HUNDRED that will be worth all the caffeine I have to slurp down to stay wake. And yeah, my hubby may look at me side eye because I will be like George Jefferson dancing on the bed like the TV show The Jefferson’s when he scores that Six Hundred.

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WILL HE DO IT! YES HE WILL!!!! GO CAPS!!

Ovechkin – The Goal Scorer

Alex Ovechkin once again came up with a big goal for the Capitals as he blasted a slapshot by the stingy John Gibson at 1:58 of OT, or OviTime as we Red Rockers call it, to beat the Anaheim Ducks and put the Caps back on top of the close Metro division.

It was his 23rd of the year to pace the NHL and has now scored in five of his last eight and eight of his last 12.

Is he the best goal scorer ever? Of a generation? I will explore this more in an upcoming article. Stay Tuned….

Go Caps Go

Inside The Caps Opponent : Josh Manson

When the Caps face the billed birds from Anaheim tonight they’ll have to deal with one of the best young physical defencemen in the league. At 6’3″ and weighing 213, Josh Manson plays a big game. And while he may not be as quick to drop ’em like his father (former NHL’er Dave Manson), he picks his battles and is not afraid to take on anyone. You could call him more disciplined than Dad was, maybe with more ability with the puck and skates better.

The Ducks locked up the versatile Dman for four seasons after signing him to a $16.4M last year and along with Vatenen, Lindholm and Fowler he will provide a pillar on the back end. While remaining physical, Manson was also able to suit up in every game last season proving some durability in a league where that is priceless.

The Caps forwards will have to keep their head up and expect a rough ride in front of the net with #42 on the ice. At the same time, the Caps forwards will use their creativity and speed to play keep away from the big man.

Go Caps Go

Washington Capitals Top Week 6-4 Over Ducks (A Few Photos)

Saturday night in Washington DC the Capitals downed the Anaheim Ducks in their last home game before the mandatory ‘bye week.’

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The Ducks are in a pretty good position in the Pacific Division, sitting in third place just behind their rivals the LA Kings. Goalie John Gibson has been having an ok year with a .918 save percentage and he was solid against the Caps with 33/39 saves.

The Caps; however, were having no losing at home taking the game 6-4.

The Caps played without an injured Andre Burakovsky. Zach Sanford made the drive from Hershey to fill in for Burky, first with season ticket holders on Friday night and then scoring on Saturday–his first NHL goal and the go-ahead goal to win it for the Caps.

Other stars of the night for the Caps were the Daniel Winnik with a goal and an assist. TJ Oshie got the boyz started with his goal; Nick Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Marcus Johansson would also record goals for the team. Ten players total had points on the board before the night was over.

BB on the Move Again

Bruce Boudreau has once again been released from his duties as an NHL head coach. We’re actually pretty surprised that Anaheim hung in there as long as they did this season.

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General Manager Murray said about BB’s firing: “In no way, shape or form is this pointing a gun at Bruce’s head. Let’s make that perfectly clear. But you’ve got to start somewhere.” Sounds familiar.

When teams fail to thrive quite often there is a disconnect between the coach and the team. For whatever reason, the team may no longer hear or respect the coach and the coach can no longer find the way to reach or encourage the team. It is what happened in Washington and it looks like its what happened in Anaheim. Change has to happen when a team falls short of full success. You can’t exactly fire the full team so the first to go is usually the coach.

Bruce is a talented coach. He is a great guy. He is likable, which is why he still owns a warm spot in Caps’ fans hearts. The rumor mill has already spinning in full gear as the media guesses where he will end up next. Ottawa, Minnesota, and maybe the Islanders. Where ever he lands, we wish him well–unless the Caps are playing against him!

Ducks Shutout the Caps in Regular Season Finale

This was the last regular season game for the Washington Capitals and the Anaheim Ducks. Goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Frederik Andersen were in net for the Caps and Ducks respectively. The Ducks were playing for a Pacific Division title. In other news, Justin Williams hit the 1,000th game milestone so big congratulations to him! 

First Period: Good Start

Each team had healthy scratched many of their top players; Captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Orpik and John Carlson sat out for the Caps. Jay Beagle did not play either and was listed as day-to-day with an injury sustained during the Blues game. Even though some of the key players were not in the lineup, it was not a boring first period. The teams traded some quality chances but Grubauer and Andersen allowed nothing. Michael Latta and Clayton Stoner dropped the gloves with 4:40 left in the first period. The teams were scoreless after the first period.

Second Period: Ducks Wake Up

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer made some big saves early in the second period. But Corey Perry gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead 4:34 into the second. Two minutes and two seconds later, Nick Ritchie doubled the Ducks lead with his second of the season. Halfway through the period, there was a parade of penalties as each team had a few power plays, no more goals were scored though. The Capitals trailed the Ducks 2-0 after two periods.

Third Period: Finish out the Season 

The third period was not the fast paced hockey we are use to seeing from the Capitals. Andersen and the Ducks were able to keep the Capitals off the board. The Capitals pulled Grubauer for the extra attacker with 1:30 left in regulation. Even though the Capitals lost 2-0 they outshot the Ducks 24-21. It was unfortunate that the Capitals got shutout in the final regular season game but this game did not have much meaning to the Caps. Now, the Capitals will now look to their round one opponent in Philadelphia.

What’s Next? (Playoffs!)

Practice: Day off on Monday and practices on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Playoffs Begin:Game one is on Thursday at 7pm on CSN/NBCSN at the Verizon Center. The Capitals and Flyers will be a physical entertaining series, that is for sure.

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.