There was a War of Words after Caps-Bruins Game Between Lars Eller and Brad Marchand

Back on opening night, Lars Eller scored a goal in the third period to put the Washington Capitals up with a commanding 7-0 lead over the Boston Bruins. On a night that clearly belonged to the Caps after raising the Stanley Cup champions banner before the game, Eller celebrated in front of the Bruins bench and Brad Marchand wasn’t having any of it. He ambushed Eller and threw several punches knocking him to the ground.  Continue reading “There was a War of Words after Caps-Bruins Game Between Lars Eller and Brad Marchand”

Caps Defeat Bruins 4-2 to Win 3rd in a Row

The Washington Capitals continued to roll with a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins in a brief stop up in Boston before a big two home games come up on the horizon vs. the Blue Jackets and the Blues. Jakub Vrana continued his fire with a fast breakaway goal. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom added a goal of his own. The win was the Caps’ 14th straight victory over the B’s, including their previous meeting on banner night, outscoring them 45-21 in those victories.  Continue reading “Caps Defeat Bruins 4-2 to Win 3rd in a Row”

Top 10 Capitals Games to Look Forward to This Season

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The dog days of summer are almost over and soon enough Capitals players will return to the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex to begin training camp. Players have already stopped partying and started training as they gear up for a chance to defend the Stanley Cup. Here are the top 10 games to look forward to this upcoming season.  Continue reading “Top 10 Capitals Games to Look Forward to This Season”

Caps Dig Themselves Out for OT Win Over Bruins

We knew this was going to be a goalie match with the likes of Tuuka Rask in one end for the Bruins and Braden Holtby at the other end for the Caps. Oh and T.J. Oshie returned to the line-up tonight, although he took a puck to the shin and was seen limping off at the end of the first period. He stayed in but fans were a little worried.  The Caps determined early n the first period that they were going to control the ice and the scoring. Then they took a break during the second. They did even worse in the third allowing the Bruins to tie it up. But they pulled it out in OT which is all that matters right???

By the end of the game the Caps would be down a defenseman and showing some real vulnerabilities in defense, shooting, and scoring. Yes, we are concerned now.

HOLY CRAP WILLIAMS!  Sorry  but that was what everyone was saying (or something like that) when Justin “Stick” Williams took advantage of some Russian play from Ovechkin and Kuznetsov to tip in the puck 23 seconds YES 23 SECONDS into the first period. And with 12.02 left in the period, WILLIAMS sneaks once past Rask making it 2-0 Williams Caps! This Ovi Kuzy Stick thing is working pretty good so far. Lars Eller was called for a hooking penalty but while in the box Patrice Bergeron SLAMS Matt Niskanen into the boards, snapping his neck back. Nisky went off the ice for evaluation and BadBoy Bergeron gets a boarding penalty. Lets hope this is looked at more carefully tomorrow. Period ends with the Caps leading in shots on goal (SOG) 13-10 and 2-0 in goals.

On a side note – there was lots of justified griping outside of Verizon as fans struggled to get in the building with many missing that first goal. This is NOT a good thing.

Second period started pretty slow…three SOG between the two teams until Daniel Winnik, with a little help from Jay Beagle, makes it 3-0. Caps go on another power play with about 13 minutes left in the period,but no luck. Boston goes to the power play next but is unable to get one past Holtby. With just over three minutes left, Dominic Moore gets a sneaky goal off the face-off. And two and a half minutes later they light the lamp  again at the hands of David Pastrnak; 3-2 Caps. This would end the 3rd period scoring with the Caps only getting off two SOG compared to the 11 from the Bruins.

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Third period we heard that Nisky would be out for the remainder of the game and be further evaluated on Thursday.  With that the Caps apparently quit playing. Bruins kept the second period momentum going. Another scrum after Tom hit Blidh and ended up with an interference penalty on Wilson and a roughing call for Jay Beagle matching with Dominic Moore of the Bruins.  Colin Miller would tie it up on the PP.

Finally with 7:34 Caps get a SOG–hadn’t done that since the second period. With six minutes left Rask sends the puck out and over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Oh but wait, the Bruins challenged the call because basically the Caps were credited a SOG and you can’t have both, so they withdrew the penalty.  And down in front of Holtby the teams went into fight mode again. They were pretty good with that this period! Karl Alzner would take a shot off his leg and headed down the tunnel but whew, he returned.  And we go to OT as the Caps end the period with a sad four SOG. That’s a total of 34 for the Bruins and 19 for the Caps in regulation. Unimpressive.

OT goes three on three for five minutes. Verizon stayed loud sending energy down to the Caps. And with a smooth transition down the ice Backstrom did what he said fans have been yelling at him: he shot and scored ending the game with two points for the Caps.

Perfect ending for an awful game. 4-3 Caps.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Caps Take the Win Back in Boston

Game Review (Tuesday, 5 January 2016)

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The Washington Capitals played the Boston Bruins before a sold out crowd. The first period started off with three shots and two good hits by the Caps. The third period ended with the Caps getting back on the winning train before heading to New York to face the Islanders and the Rangers.

Ryan Stanton and Michael Latta were healthy scratches for the game, in Latta’s place was #49 Stanislav Galiev who had no shots and ended the game with a -1. There was a lot of line juggling, especially in the second period when Marcus Johansson was missing from the ice for a period of time.

First Period

The Capitals went on the penalty kill early in the game due to a weird interference penalty called on Karl Alzner but managed to keep the Bruins from capitalizing. Then Bruin Zac Rinaldo leaves his feet and hits Tom Wilson hard from behind. No penalty on the hit but Jason Chimera is assessed a two-minute roughing penalty.

win burkyAndre Burakovsky, from a beautiful pass by Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Caps a 1-0 lead 15:01 into the first period. Kuznetsov is a master of passes, he just puts the puck right in the sweet spot and various Caps players have benefited from it.

Second Period

Zach Sill threw a questionable hit on Adam McQuaid, causing trainers to rush to the ice. McQuaid was able to get up and leave the ice on his own power. McQuaid did not return to the game and hopefully he is okay. At 12:40 into the second period, while on power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov did what Evgeny Kuznetsov does and scores, Caps up 2-0.

Loui Eriksson put the Bruins on the board at the 15:26 mark of the second period, Caps up 2-1. Then 10:41 into the third period, Marcus Johansson scored one of his own and the Caps are up 3-1.

Third Period

Patrice Bergeron would cut the Caps lead back to one, 3-2, on a Bruins power play at the 11:52 mark. Braden Holtby made some great saves late in the period to secure the win. Caps stop their losing streak at two games and pass the Dallas Stars (28-10-4, 60 points) for first overall place in the league with a record of 29-7-3, 61 points.  win holtby

Marcus Johansson earned his 10th goal of the season, joining six other players on the team as double digit scorers. No other team in the NHL has as many goal scorers with 10 or more goals. Additionally, th is MoJo’s sixth game winning goal of the seaons and is second in the league only to Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks. “It’s always fun to score,” he said after the game.

Next Up

Thu Jan 7, 2016 Capitals Islanders, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS, SN360

Sat Jan 9, 2016 Capitals Rangers, 1:00 PM CSN-DC, SNE, SNO, SNP

Written by Renee Garces

Photos by Brittney Marcum