The Capitals played an exciting game Thursday, 11 March against the Carolina Hurricanes. There were some ups (like a 3-0 lead in the first period) and some downs (like no scoring in the second) and some areas of frustration (letting the Canes score twice in the third). In the end though, the Caps were valiant and won the first battle in what many hope will be another long summer of playing. FiCP photographer Mel Abernethy was up close to the glass capturing some of the before, during, and after moments. Continue reading “Capitals Round One Game One Winning Photos”
So much good to say about the Capitals tonight! It was a tight match. The Capitals needed a win to hang onto that first place position in the Metropolitan. They did not clinch their playoff berth yet; however, they kept that first place spot for one more night. Final score 4-1.
First- it was Evgeny Kuznetsov Bird Man Bobble Head Night! He may not have scored but he did have three assist points.
Last game the Caps were in their whites- we confess, we kept getting confused. This time the Hurricanes and Caps were in white/red red/white Jerseys and it took a hot minute to figure out who was who. Until the Capitals scored! Continue reading “Caps Take the Wind Out of Hurricanes”
It was a pretty awesome day for Capital One Arena where the Capitals defeated the Flyers for the fourth time this season. The sweep added two points for the Caps in the NHL and pushed the Flyers seven points behind the Canadiens for a wild card spot. And there was a sweet marriage proposal too!
TLDR: Brett Connolly scores 21st goal of the season, and the Caps power play continues to struggle. Sluggish start by the Capitals never gained steam, Minnesota beats Capitals 2-1.
Tonight, the Washington Capitals took on the Minnesota Wild at Capital One Arena. After dropping their last game to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the boys in red were certainly hoping to rebound and add to their 3-point cushion in the Metropolitan division. Conversely, Minnesota was fighting for a playoff run in the West, and heading into tonights’ game, were just one point out from the second wild card spot.
The Caps elected to start Braden Holtby tonight, but were missing defenceman Michal Kempny, who suffered a lower-body injury versus the Lightning. Christian Djoos was inserted back into the lineup, having been paired with John Carlson. Washington announced shortly before puck drop that Carl Hagelin would not be playing, due to illness. The Wild decided that goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has just one win in his last 5 starts, would get the start between the pipes.
Early on in the first period, Jakub Vrana took a hard sliding hit into the boards behind Dubnyk. Luckily, he was able to quickly recover. The Capitals started off very similarly to the way they did versus Tampa. They quickly and successfully forced turnovers by the Wild, and spend a good amount of time in Minnesota’s defensive zone. The Capitals would receive the first power play of the night, as Kevin Fiala went to the box for slashing. However, they would not score. As the period progressed, the Caps seemed to lose some steam, and at one point, hadn’t registered a shot on goal in eight minutes. The Wild would score first, as Jordan Greenway snuck the puck past Holtby with under three minutes remaining in the period. Providing an opportunity for the Caps tie the game, they received a late power play, as Marcus Foligno went off to the box for slashing. Heading into the first intermission, the Capitals trailed 1-0.
The Capitals started off the middle frame with 46 seconds left on a late first period power play. Minnesota would kill off yet another shot-less Caps’ power play. Washington simply has not played with enough drive or desire, and the Wild took advantage. Luck was very much in the Caps’ favor as they were gifted another power play as Hunt went off for slashing. The Capitals would eventually waste yet another man-advantage. We would get four-on-four play for two minutes, as Brooks Orpik and Justin Zucker were sent to the box for roughing. A shot by Nick Jensen deflected, ending up behind Dubnyk, and Brett Connolly would be credited with his 21st goal of the season.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 23, 2019
With 8.6 seconds remaining, the Capitals would be faced with their first penalty kill as Tom Wilson would go off for hooking. The Wild would start the third with 1:52 left on their power play. The two teams were tied at one goal each.
While it may not have been the most exciting game of the season, it was nonetheless an important one. A Caps win would provide a decent 5-point cushion between them and the 2nd place Isles team. Tom Wilson got a great breakaway immediately out of the box, but the puck just wouldn’t cooperate. Lots of high-danger chances generated for both sides, but both Dubnyk and Holtby were sharp as could be. A missed pass led to a breakaway by Luke Kunin, and with less than eight minutes left, the Wild took a 2-1 lead. Todd Reirden would elect to pull Braden Holtby for the extra attacker, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Minnesota Wild would win this one, splitting the season series, holding the Caps to a 3-point lead in the Metro division.
FiCP’s Three Takeaways of the Game
- The Power Play needs a recharge.
- The Capitals need to improve their passing and stop. passing. in. front. of. Holtby.
- Less turnovers, please. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, this is a hockey game, not a bakery.
Even before the puck drops there is a chance for Caps fans to win some Alex Ovechkin memorabilia:
“The Capitals have partnered with NBC Sports Washington for Authentic Fan Friday! The first 500 fans to visit the NBC Sports Washington table at Section 423 will receive a limited amount of Ovi cheer cards.” (Caps Game info) Click here for a chance to win an original painting by Taylor Kampa Olson as a Caps Authentic Fan. Runs from 6 to 10 pm.
Check us out on Twitter and follow us to find out how you can skate at Capital One Arena on Sunday. Continue reading “Capitals Game Day Watch for Caps-Wild On Friday (Update)”
The Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched their spot in the Playoffs as well as the Presidents’ Trophy, which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season. This is a big deal for the Bolts; they have never won the trophy before and it guarantees them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. A huge advantage which the Capitals would have liked to have. Continue reading “No Presidents’ Trophy for Capitals but Still Best Average in NHL”
TLDR: Despite goals by Lars Eller, Carl Hagelin, and T.J. Oshie, and the equalizer by Kuznetsov, as well as 50+ shots on goal, the Caps just couldn’t solve Vasilevskiy for the second time this season. Tampa Bay wins 5-4 in overtime. Capitals still maintain top spot in the Metro.
For the second time in less than a week, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference played one another, but this time, it was in OUR house. Coming off of a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils last night, the Washington Capitals took back the Metro division, and headed home for the first of a four-game home stand. The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, have not only clinched their playoff spot, but have also claimed the Presidents’ Trophy as their own. Now just because a curse exists, that doesn’t mean a certain event will not occur. However, only 8 teams have won both the trophy and then gone on to also win the Stanley Cup. Sure, that’s a 1 in 4 chance, but I just keep thinking back to the Capitals in years past. Despite a valiant comeback effort, last Saturday, the Lightning beat the Capitals 6-3, after scoring two empty net goals. Tonight, the Capitals looked to match Tampa, with a win of their own. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.
Once again, the Capitals entrusted tonights’ game to Braden Holtby, and Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start for Tampa. Expected to be a Round 2 battle between the two powerhouses, we knew it would be a very fast and very physically demanding 60 minutes. As mentioned last week, it was imperative for the Caps to get on the board early. They simply could not afford to have another slow start like they did a few days ago. Not even two minutes past puck drop, and the Capitals already had a number of great scoring chances. An early stop by Holtby on an Anthony Cirelli breakaway kept the game at zero each. An unfortunate turnover by Tampa allowed Carl Hagelin to feed the puck up the center of the ice, and with that, Lars Eller scored his 12th goal of the season.
Lars Eller to the toy department.
The @Capitals strike first!
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) March 20, 2019
Shortly thereafter, the Capitals would earn their first power play of the night, as Steven Stamkos would go off for holding. The good guys would only register on shot with the man-advantage, and Tampa’s Number 1 penalty kill would keep the Caps from improving their lead. Braden Holtby would be hit up high through the mask by the stick of Brooks Orpik, drawing some blood, but would be good enough to finish the period. With three minutes left in the period, the Capitals would get a second power play, as John Rutta would go to the box for tripping. Tom Wilson would unfairly be called for holding, and Tampa would get their first power play with 30 seconds left in the period. While the Lightning would start the second with the remainder of that man-advantage, the Capitals lead 1-0 heading into the intermission.
The second period started with a power play goal by Nikita Kucherov with just eight seconds left on the man-advantage, tying the game 1-1. Now the Capitals need to play the remaining 40 minutes with just as much, if not more power and drive than the first 20. Unfortunately, Ovechkin would go off for elbowing and Tampa headed right back on the power play. Off the faceoff, Steven Stamkos would score, giving the Lightning their first lead of the game. What once seemed to be a manageable game, started to tilt. Another deflection off of John Carlson gives Tampa a 3-1 lead. Anthony Cirelli would ultimately be credited with the goal. A set up by Lars Eller would give Carl Hagelin a nearly-wide open net, and, in scoring his 5th of the season, 3rd with Washington, would bring the Caps within one.
Carl Hagelin in 38 games with Penguins and Kings: 2 goals, 6 assists
Carl Hagelin in 13 games with Capitals: 3 goals, 5 assists
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 21, 2019
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 21, 2019
The Capitals would get another power play opportunity as Mikhail Sergachev was sent off for slashing. T.J. Oshie would get second-chance bounce off his skate, and the puck would find the back of the net. The Caps power play goal would be the game-tying goal.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 21, 2019
Dmitry Orlov would go off for slashing, and in a high-scoring second, the Caps would fight to keep Tampa from scoring again. Nikita Kucherov would score his second as the Caps’ defense couldn’t keep it together and Holtby was asked to make one too many stops. The Tampa’s #1 power play strikes again, and the Lightning would reclaim the lead, 4-3. Michal Kempny would need to be carried down the tunnel with a lower body injury, and a scrum involving players on both sides would ensue. Jakub Vrana and Yanni Gourde would both receive five-minute majors for fighting, Michal Kempny and Cedric Paquette would receive two minutes for roughing. Sergachev would also get two minutes for roughing. The Caps would end up with a power play, but would not score. Six goals were scored in the 2nd, and the Lightning lead 4-3.
Michal Kempny did not return to play the last period, and per the team, suffered a lower-body injury. The Capitals would receive an early third period power play, as Ovechkin was taken down by Ondrej Palat. The Caps would not tie it. It was encouraging to see Braden Holtby sharpen up as the period progressed. With under 10 left, the Caps would head back to the power play, and despite a number of great looks, again, they would not score. Head coach Todd Reirden would pull Holtby with under 2 to go, and somehow, Evgeny Kuznetsov would tie the game with under 60 seconds left. The Capitals would go to overtime.
— NHL (@NHL) March 21, 2019
3-on-3 Sudden Death Overtime: Victor Hedman would score the game-winning goal. Tampa wins 5-4.
FiCP’s Three Takeaways of the Game
- Stop. Drawing. Penalties. I don’t care how bad the referees are. They will always call bad penalties, so don’t give them a reason to call them
- Scratch Orlov. Or Carlson. But not Djoos.
- The power play needs work. Especially against top penalty-killing teams.
Word slipped out on Tuesday that the Washington Capital Stanley Cup Champions would keep with tradition and visit the White House on 25 March. Only seven of the players are US born, and as of today, only Brett Connolly has said he will not attend the celebration. Other players may decide against going; however, for now it looks as if most of the team will reunite with Lord Stanley on Monday. Continue reading “Capitals White House Visit Sparks Fan Controversy”
The Washington Capitals start their week with a game at the Prudential Center, the home of the New Jersey Devils. The Caps held practice at MedStar Caps Iceplex before boarding a plane to Newark, NJ. Continue reading “Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils: Pregame”
With ten games left in the regular season it’s time to get really excited or really nervous about the Capitals remaining games. As this goes to press, the Capitals are on top of the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division. The challenge for them to hold that position is the New York Islanders, led by their former coach Barry Trotz. Their playoff rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are nipping at their blades in the hope of upsetting the balance.
The schedule for the run up to the Playoffs is maybe one of the toughest the Caps have had in a long time. The Tampa Bay Lightning come to Capital One Arena on 20 March and after their match-up in Florida, it is clear the Bolts will be a challenge, now and in the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes want to jump above the wild card line and have to get through the Capitals to do that. That could mean two more tough games for the men in red. Although the Caps beat the Philadelphia Flyers the last two times they met, one should never underestimate the tenacity of them. Additionally the Devils, Panthers, and Canadiens always seem to have a surprise up their sleeve and can’t be discounted when it comes to playing the Capitals. Finally, the last regular season game is against the Caps newest rival- the Islanders. It’s almost like playing themselves because of the Trotz Touch.
Nervous is what we do in the DMV. That said, we have no doubt that the Capitals will clinch a playoff spot. Although the schedule ahead is a tight one, the players are really stepping it up. Alexander Ovechkin is on the brink of his eighth season of 50 goals or more. Nicklas Backstrom is on tap for his fourth season in a row of 20 plus goals and sixth season in a row of 50 assists or more. Tom Wilson is having his best season in six years of NHL play. Sprinkle in Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie, Jakub Vrana and some great defensive play starting with goaltender Braden Holtby, and we still have faith that the Capitals will be making it to the final round.
The fun is now. The push is now. Let the excitement build and let’s go ALL CAPS as they finish up the regular season!!