Ovi, Ovi, Ovi… Caps Wild Postgame

The Minnesota Wild had lost six straight games and had not won at home since the turn of the calendar. The Capitals had not won in the last eight games at Xcel Energy Center. Birthday boy Mike Richards was a game decision but he was in the lineup.

First period: Penalties Galore

Braden Holtby continued to be the best goaltender in the league. The Capitals killed off a slashing penalty to Justin Williams early in the first. Alex Ovechkin draws the first Wild penalty and the Capitals went on the power play. The teams had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey after a penalty negated the power play. With 6:02 left, the Wild had 9 seconds for 5-on-3 and another power play. The Capitals penalty kill was perfect during the period. With six seconds left, Wild Folin took a penalty and the Capitals went on the power play.

GOALS: None

PENALTIES: Justin Williams (slashing); Nate Prosser (roughing); Oshie (interference); Matt Niskanen (hooking) and Christian Folin (holding).

SCORE: 0-0

Second Period: Ovi hat trick!

The Capitals started the second period with 1:52 of power play. Unfortunately, they did not score on that power play but Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would score his first of the game shortly after. Early in the period, Tom Wilson spent a few seconds in the Wild bench (none of the Wild players helped him out, a linesman did though). The Caps power play is scoring again! Ovechkin scored his second of the night and is now the NHL’s leading scorer (33) passing Chicago’s Patrick Kane. But Ovechkin wasn’t finished, he would score again to complete his 14th career hat trick. The Wild would challenge for offsides but would end up losing not only the challenge but their time out as well.

GOALS: Alex OvechIMG_9289kin scored his 32nd (Assists: T.J. Oshie & Nicklas Backstrom), his 33rd (Assists: John Carlson & Nicklas Backstrom) and his 34th of the season (Assist: Nicklas Backstrom).

Charlie Coyle scored his 15th of the season, assisted by Miko Koivu and Zach Parise

PENALTIES: Thomas Vanek (slashing); Dmitry Orlov (slashing) and Charlie Coyle (Tripping)

SCORE: Caps lead 3-1

Third Period: Out of Control Wild

Michael Latta and Zach Parise exchanged pleasantries early in the third. The Wild decided to start roughing up the Capitals younger players. Matt Dumba crunched Andre Burakovsky into the boards and a scrum ensued with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. Williams would be the only one in the penalty box. Ryan Suter would score for the Wild on the following power play. Then Mikael Granlund injured Kuznetsov by hitting him in the face/head area with the butt end of his stick. Kuzy would head to the locker room and Capitals PR later announced that he would not return to the game. Jason Chimera, the Ice Cheetah, scored an empty netter in the final minute of regulation. With three seconds left in the game, Granlund scored and Braden Holtby was visibly furious. There was clear goaltender interference as Zach Parise had his glove on Holtby’s pad. But the refs, as they were all night, missed the call and the goal was deemed good. The Caps were victorious, 4-3.

GOALS: Ryan Suter scored his seventh of the season. Assisted by Matt Dumba and Zach Parise. Jason Chimera scored an empty net goal, his 15th of the season. Assisted by Tom Wilson. Mikael Granlund scored his fifth of the season, assisted by Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek.

PENALTIES: Justin Williams (cross checking) and Jarret Stoll (tripping).

SCORE: Caps won 4-3.

The Capitals now have 40 wins and 84 points. Alex Ovechkin got a hat trick and they leave Minnesota with 2 points. Unfortunately, Andre Burakovsky’s point streak ended at eight games. Let’s hope Kuznetsov is healthy and everything is going to be okay.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals have Friday, February 12, off.

Game: The Capitals will visit the American Airlines Center to play the Dallas Stars on Saturday, February 13 at 8:00 .

I Like It, I Love It; Caps Best Preds in Smashville

 

On Tuesday night, the Washington Capitals took on the Nashville Predators. Andre Burakovsky was celebrating his 21st birthday and Mike Ribeiro was celebrating his 1,000th NHL career game. Marcus Johansson was finally back in the line-up, while Stanislav Galiev was a healthy scratch yet again. Brooks Orpik and Jay Beagle are both still out due to injury.

PERIOD 1- Whistle while you work…

This period seemed to start out very similar to the last couple games. The Caps were called for a few penalties, as were the Preds. The Caps scored first and on just their third shot of the game. Preds had some great opportunities, but ever the awesome tendy, Braden Holtby kept them at bay.

GOALS-Jason Chimera scored his 14th goal assisted by Tom Wilson

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PENALTIES-Nate Schmidt called for holding, Mike Fisher called for tripping, Justin Williams called for hooking, Craig Smith called for tripping, and Marcus Johansson called for hi-sticking

SCORE-Caps lead, 1-0

PERIOD 2-Penalties can kill

This period started out quietly, and stayed that way until about five minutes in. The Caps scored and seemingly took the crowd out of it. At least until the Preds got one past Holtby on the back to back power plays caused by too many men on the ice. There goes the shutout. It started to get pretty heated in the last few minutes but nothing amassed past one goal each.

GOALS-Tom Wilson scored his 5th goal of the season assisted by Marcus Johansson, and Filip Forsberg scored assisted by Craig SmithIMG_9150

PENALTIES-The Caps were called for 2 consecutive bench minors of too many men on the ice (Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson served the penalties)

SCORE- Caps lead, 2-1

PERIOD 3- Mojo magic

The Caps were testing Pekka Rinne early, but he stood tall and kept the Caps off the board until a lucky bounce gave them a two goal lead. A beautiful save by Rinne gave way to another Caps goal as a rebound was put in past the Nashville netminer. A couple of deflections past Holtby gave the Preds some life. A late PP gave the Caps the victory as an empty net goal was scored when Nashville pulled the goalie.

GOALS-Justin Williams scored his 17th of the season assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson scored his 14th of the season assisted by Justin Williams, Roman Josi scored assisted by Calle Jarnkrok, Filip Forsberg scored his second of the night assisted by Mattias Ekholm, and Alex Ovechkin scored his 31st goal of the season, an empty netter assisted by Nicklas Backstrom.

PENALTIES-Mattias Ekholm called for tripping, and Matt Niskanen called for interference

SCORE-Caps win, 5-3

Caps are now 39-9-4 with 82 points. The third line has been fantastic! Tonight was no exception. With the re-entry of Marcus Johansson, that line showed why they must be feared! They are fast, feisty and can score. The Caps are showing more and more why they are a team to be taken seriously.

UP NEXT-the Caps next game is Thursday against the Minnesota Wild at 8pm on CSN.

No home practices until they return home this weekend.

Happy 21st Birthday to Burkie and Congratulations to Kuzy on 100 NHL career points!

Written by : Ashley Reid

Photos by: Brittney Marcum

Caps-Islanders Photo Gallery

Welcome to our first official gallery post! We have so many wonderful photos that are going to waste so we thought you might enjoy the opportunity to see them!

We are so excited to share and if you have a specific player you would like to see more of please let us know and we will do our best to cater to you. Also, feel free to use any of our photos, we just ask that you give credit or leave our watermark in the bottom.

Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Without further ado:

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The boys wore special camo jersey’s for warm-ups to support USO Metro and Defending the Blue Line

 

 

 

Caps-Islanders: Something to Prove

The New York Islanders slide into Washington hoping to redeem themselves after the 4-2 loss to the Caps in December. Jaroslav Halak did not start on Tuesday; instead they opted for the new guy, JF Berube. The strategy seemed to work as they sent the Wild home with a 5-3 win over them. The Islanders sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division and a win could help them jump ahead of the NY Rangers.

GAME TIME IS 7:30 pm

After a disastrous loss to Atlantic leaders, the Florida Panthers, we all are happy that Alex Ovechkin’s one-day suspension is over. Evgeny Kuznetsov helped hold the team together with his All-Star buddy, Nicky Backstrom. And then there was Andre Burakovsky with his 10 shots and a goal.

  • All these pieces moving together should help the team to rebound on Thursday against the Islanders. The team looked tired on Tuesday night and seems to be dragging some at practice. Let’s hope they find new energy by puck drop Thursday because we can’t afford to leave for New Jersey with three losses at home.

Check in Thursday for practice notes and pictures and then before the game for final line projections. Keep the faith fans!!

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle: He continues to recover. We don’t expect him for another couple weeks. Beags is skating and working with the trainers before practice starts.

Brooks Orpik skated with the team for practice on Tuesday but did not skate with them Wednesday. He seems to be improving and growing stronger and we hope that he will soon rejoin the team for an actual game.

Taylor Chorney left the game on Tuesday with flu-like symptoms. We will watch to see if he is at practice or if there will be a last-minute call up from Hershey… we vote for Connor Carrick.

Marcus Johansson is still suffering with an upper body injury although he has been skating before practice. Not expected in for Thursday.

Islanders

The Islanders carry three goalies—just in case Holtby wears them out!!

John Tavares got the infusion he needed during the All-Star Games, scoring a goal and an assist in the win over the Wild on Tuesday.

Goalie JF Berube recorded his first win with the team and his second in his NHL career. Don’t know yet if he will be defending the crease.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

 

Photos by Brittney Marcum

Caps Practice Surprises

Practice Update
The team took morning skate at Kettler this morning. Joining the rest of the team were our All-Star Game stars: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby.
Big celly for Kuzy who was named NHL Star of the Month!!!

BIG NEWS! Brooks Orpik skated with the team for the first time in forever, the boys were so pumped they cheered and gave Brooks some stick taps before practice:

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If you look closely you can see a VERY happy Brooks Orpik grinning from ear to ear!


Ovechkin skated and looked to be ok, but remember, he sits out tonight after skipping the All-Star Game.
Your goaltender for tonight is expected to be #31 Grubauer
And there was a general fun-filled attitude around the rink as seen in these shots of the day:

Washington Capitals Face New Challenges in February

caps schedule

The Caps are the most talked about team in the league as they hold the dominating lead. Nearly every press report references the stunning control of Braden Holtby over the crease. And this weekend Nicklas Backstrom finally got his due with an appearance at the NHL All-Star Games, walking the carpet with teammate Evgeny Kuztnetsov, who is quickly gaining his own notoriety. The Caps have become more than just a show-case for the talent of Alexander Ovechkin.

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With a 35-8-4 record returning from the All-Star break, the Caps will soon begin a series of games against Western Conference leaders—most who they have yet to play this season. They are home for a good bit of February to meet with several Eastern Conference teams starting with the Panthers. Come mid-month, they take off to Nashville and will finally meet the Stars in Dallas, who they spent the first half of the season challenging for first place in the NHL. They end the month in Chicago playing current second place defending Cup champion Blackhawks.

Here’s a quick look at some the challenges the boys face. One common thread in all these challenges is the goalie match-up against Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. We’ve got the best team in the league, but the Western Conference clearly has some standout goal tenders combined with scoring machines.

Again with the Flyers—any maybe Michal Neuvirth. He is back to leading the league in save percentage (.933). He has won the last three games when in the net; however, there is some question about his health…no surprise for Neuvy. The Flyers have a small chance of making it to the playoffs, but they always give the Caps a run for their money. Jakub Voracek put a hurting on the Caps last time they came to town and is the rising star of the team.

The Panthers have clawed their way up to the top and will be coming in from Nashville after a weekend of festivities that focused on them and Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo. They lead the Atlantic Division with a 29-15-5 record. They have won their last three games with “Strombone” in the net. He has four shutouts this season. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points (34 with 8 goals & 28 assists). Jagr follows with 33 points and sits behind Riley Smith (16g) with 15 goals. (BTW: Kuzy did score on Luaongo during the Games)

The Dallas Stars have had an amazing season so far and have some of the best players in the league on their team right now. Jaime Benn is second on the charts with overall points (58) as well as second in goals with 28—ahead of Ovi simply because he has played one game more. Tyler Seguin follows closely behind with 53 points (25 goals & 28 assists). They each have three game winning goals on their record. This could be the most challenge of all match-ups.

LA has found its way back to the top of the Pacific Division with a 30-16-3 record. The Kings not so secret weapon against the Caps will be Jonathan Quick who ranks third in the league with wins (26 in 41 games) and has had three shutouts so far this season. He is the player often credited with leading the Kings to two Stanley Cup wins. Oh, but the Caps do have a slight advantage now that two of their winning players (Richards and Williams) have moved to Washington and can give the coach some insight into what to expect.

The Blackhawks want to keep the Cup in Chicago. Despite all the booing of Patrick Kane during the All-Star Competition and Games, he is having another stellar year, leading in points, goals, and assists; (73p, 30g, and 43a) and a +22. There is hope though—he failed to score against Carolina or the Panthers in recent weeks proving he can be undone. And the Caps found their weak spot in October sending them home after a 4-1 loss. John Carlson scored in that game and now that he is back the Caps have an improved defensive play—add Brooks Orpik and the threat could be minimized.

With February full of first-time meetings with leading Western Conference teams, the Caps will be facing some of the best teams in the league. Are they up to the challenge? Having a coach that has played in the West for most of his career, and new team members with years of experience in the Conference, we think they will continue to surprise everyone and keep moving closer to the Cup challenge!

The NHL All-Star Hype

all star log

The NHL hosts their version of the All Star game this weekend in Nashville, TN. Its an annual event players and fans have come to love and hate. We love seeing our favorite players outside their home environment and teaming up with rival players. But most hate the interruption of the season just as we pass the mid-point threshold.

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Kuzy having a little fun with pal Leo Komarov (Leafes)

 

This year is a little different for Washington Capitals fans though. The excitement started with the announcement that Barry Trotz had been selected as the Metropolitan Coach. Added to the team line-up were Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, and Nicklas Backstrom. Coach started almost immediately to lobby for the inclusion of the “underrated” Backstrom at the games. Nicky said he had nothing to do with Coach’s decision but is honored and excited to be in Nashville.

The one thing keeping national hockey fans engaged, beyond seeing all our favorite players in one place is the John Scott drama. A less-than top quality player, enforcer Scott was voted in by the fans as one of the team captains. Scott has gone with the flow read his own take on it here) despite some backlash from the league itself. There is no denying that he has stolen some of the limelight this year.  Even Holtby managed to get his picture taken with him.

The big change for the Caps was the decision to hold Alex Ovechkin back to rest a nagging minor injury. (Oh and he was suspended for one game as a result)The disappointment of Ovi staying home was quickly overtaken with the excitement that Evgeny Kuznetsov would be taking his place. He was just who we needed to replace Ovi–one skilled charismatic Russian for another. And he seems to be having a blast and creating his own buzz:

The Format

 Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena will host the NHL All-Star Games new format of three 20-minute 3-on-3 hockey games. According to the NHL: “Each team will be made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders”  Check out the team rosters here. Additionally, there will be a skills competition to highlight the special skills of the players voted in to participate.

Key segments of the weekend schedule looks like this:

Saturday

Player Red Carpet Arrivals

3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Mascot Showdown Shinny Game 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition 6:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m.

 Sunday

2016 NHL All-Star Game 4:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

For Barry Trotz this is a special homecoming weekend as he still has family in the are and a link to the special needs community. One of the things we love about him is his commitment to community. He paid a visit to Best Buddies in between meeting his media obligations:

Check out the All-Star Game site for more information on the game. In the meantime, here are some great shots of Trotz BoyZ captured during Friday’s media day. Check back with us later for some shots of what the other players are doing this weekend…like shots from the beach…

Our thanks to the NHL and the Washington Capitals for some great shots of our Boyz and the events.

Flyers and Caps Back After the Blizzard

PUCK-DROP IS 8:00 PM TONIGHT!!!

The Washington Capitals return to the ice after being snowed out of two games (Anaheim and Pittsburgh)  this weekend. The Flyers missed their game against the Islanders and then proceeded to lose to the Bruins on Monday.  The Caps have won their last two games while the Flyers have lost their last three. This is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Caps remain in the solid lead for the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. With 46 games played they have 73 points, technically three points ahead of the Blackhawks with 70 points. The Hawks have played 52 games so the Caps have a lock on first place going into the break.

Michal Neuvirth is the projected goalie for this match, the second this season between Washington and Philadelphia. Read our column from January 25 about Neuvy and his journey from DC to Philly. He was reportedly moving slowly after the Monday game but has said he is fine at practice on Tuesday. Steve Mason missed his second day of practice following “maintenance day” on Monday.

Injury Report

Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play on Wednesday.  He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.

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John Carlson looked solid this morning

Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.

Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.

Caps Roll Call

Braden Holtby, who leads the league in wins (30), is expected to be defending the crease on Wednesday. His 2.01 goals against average ranks third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence. He has had to step in for Holtby in recent games.

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That is one happy Holtbeast

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the stars of the game against the Blue Jackets. Nicky had three shots that brought two goals for the team while Kuzy had four assists that contributed to the team’s 6-3 win. We can expect more WOW moments from both these guys on Wednesday.

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Nicky zeroed in on the bench before practice

It’s hard to single out potential stars for Wednesday when this is a team in which everyone contributes to its success. Keep an eye on Jason Chimera, simply because…he is amazing!

Extra Photos from practice:

Upcoming Milestones

Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and with this game passes Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.

Nicklas Backstrom with three goals will pass Kelly Miller (162) for the 12th place of Capitals goals scored

Flyers Watch

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers in overall points (37) with 14 goals and 23 assists. He was scoreless against Boston on Monday; however, he has tallied two goals and two assist in his last five games.

Jakub Voracek has been leading the team in the past five games in points (5) with one goals and four assists.

Wayne Simmonds was the first star of the game against Boston, despite the loss. He had nine shots with the two goals scored by the Flyers. Keep a watch on him in the scoring zone.

Coming Up:

Jan 27  Morning Skate at 10:15 am

Jan 27  Philadelphia at 8 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 2   Panthers at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 4   NY Islanders at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Photos by Brittney Marcum

Bringing Neuvy Back: Caps and Flyers Goalie Matchup

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Michael Neuvirth as a Caps goalie.

One-time Caps and Hershey Bear’s goalie, Michal Neuvrith may finally be in the net against his former teammates on Wednesday. Michal started his pro career with the Caps and when he left had a .910 save percentage. He now has a .934 save percentage and often leads the league in that category. Unfortunately, he also has a history of injuries that have probably prevented him from earning the starting position he keeps seeking.

Since leaving the Caps in a trade to the Buffalo Sabres in March 2014 (for Jaroslav Halak), Neuvy has continued to struggle with injuries that sideline him as well as an inconsistent playing record. Nearly a year later to the date, the Sabres traded him to the Islanders for Chad Johnson, which has worked out pretty well for the Sabres so far. In 27 games with the Sabres he left with a .918 save percentage. In a weird set of circumstances, hp,aged as  back-up to Halak during his brief stint. After only playing  in five games, Neuvirth continued his quest to find a starting position which landed him with the Flyers in July 2015 on a two-year back-up goalie deal.

The Flyers have the benefit of a dynamic duo for goalies. Neuvy is having one of his best years. Although Mason has lost his last three games, the Flyers organization seems to have more faith in him, despite the stats that Neuvirth keeps posting when he is defending the crease. Neuvirth lost in their match against Boston Monday leaving the Flyers with their fourth consecutive loss.

  • The Bear’s Calder Cup winner has only had one showing against the Caps since leaving in the playoff round of Islanders in 2014. Mostly he has been injured or watching the game from the bench. No word yet if he gets the net nod for Wednesday, but clearly he will be in the building.

How do our goalies compare? Glad you asked, we have highlighted the categories in which each goalie leads in this comparison:

holby grubauer

GAA Save Percentage Games Played Games Won Shutouts
Holtby 2.01 .930 38 30 2
Grubauer 2.12 .925 11 5 0
Mason 2.72 .914 29 10 3
Neuvirth 2.05 .934 20 10 3

No word yet on who will be in the net for either team on Wednesday. Mason is the most likely candidate for Wednesday. Expect to see Holtby in as well. Check with us on Wednesday for the final line-up and net minder selection.

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Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth Flyers Photo by CBSphilly.com

Steve Mason Photo by Bleacherreport.com

Michael Neuvirth Caps, Holbty, & Grubauer Photos by Brittney Marcum

NHL Injury Role Call—December 28, 2015

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Caps Join the Player Injury Roster

We are about mid-way through the 2015/16 season and we are starting to see the player injury count rise around the NHL. The Washington Capitals, with the exception of Brooks Orpik, have had their bumps and bruises and until last night none of our players had missed a game for an injury.

John Carlson’s consecutive game streak (412) ended after warmups and he concluded that he just couldn’t come back and play. He is out with an ‘upper-body injury’ which we hope won’t leave him sidelined for long.

And then there was the Michael Latta fight. Stepping up to defend a bruising to teammate Justin Williams, Sparky took on Nicolas Deslauriers, who issued a strong beatdown in return. Latts left the ice and is reported to have an arm injury. Still waiting for more details.  Continue reading “NHL Injury Role Call—December 28, 2015”