Jakub Vrana’s Two Goals Lead Caps to 5-3 Win Over Flyers

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CAPITAL ONE ARENA – The Washington Capitals were leading the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 just over the midway mark in the second period. The Flyers were looking for some kind of momentum to tie the game. As they had the puck in the Caps zone, Jakub Vrana stayed on his man and forced a turnover off an errant attempted pass from Sean Couturier and went off to the races. Vrana flew up the ice with only goaltender Mike McKenna to beat. Vrana went to his left and beat McKenna above the glove in the top corner.  Continue reading “Jakub Vrana’s Two Goals Lead Caps to 5-3 Win Over Flyers”

The Origin of Gritty: The Story Behind the NHL’s Newest Mascot

With the Washington Capitals taking on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena, FiCP takes a look at the fascination behind the NHL’s newest furry friend. Ever since the Flyers have introduced their new mascot Gritty to the entire hockey world in late September, hockey fans worldwide have became obsessed with the big eyed, orange furred phenomenon. Here is the story behind Gritty’s origin.  Continue reading “The Origin of Gritty: The Story Behind the NHL’s Newest Mascot”

Capitals-Flyers Ovechkin Evens the Score

The Caps-Flyers game has had its moments. So so many times the Caps came close to scoring.

Flyers got on the board first and the Capitals kept at it. Holtby has been grand!

But it is our Captain that once again has elevated the game with a goal at the 19:43 mark. He now has 29 for the season!

Maybe he had some extra inspiration today?!

The Capitals came into game two looking to make the most of their home ice advantage, and it worked in their favor. The Flyers were short one Sean Couturier after suffering an reported bruised shoulder from a clean hit from Alex Ovechkin in game one.

By the end of the game, Alex Ovechkin would sit one point shy of tying Dale Hunter’s 72 point franchise title for playoff points. John Carlson became the fifth defensemen in Caps playoff history to score two power play goals in one series, and Nick Backstrom recorded his seventh multi-assist in his playoff career, tying for third place in franchise history (CapsPR) Not a bad second night.DSC_0518

First Period: Caps Control

The Flyers came out strong taking full control of the ice and it was over six minutes before the Caps would even get their first shot on goal. On the first Capitals power play of the game, John Carlson converted to give the good guys a 1-0 lead. Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson picked up assists on Carly’s goal. In the final minutes of the period, the Capitals’ penalty kill was up to the task of killing a Flyers 5-on-3. In the first period alone, the Flyers matched their shot count from Game One (19) but the Capitals had lead 1-0.

Second Period: Weird Goal

The second period was a weird period. The teams started the period with 4-on-4 hockey after two-minute minors at the end of the first. Jason Chimera doubled the Caps’ lead with his first goal of the playoffs–from center ice. Andre Burakovsky was assessed a roughing penalty along with Nick Cousins, and there was more 4-on-4 hockey. Jakub Voracek put the Flyers on the board halfway through the period. And then captain Alex Ovechkin scored on a late period power play–his first post season goal. The Caps would lead the Flyers 3-1 after two periods.

Third Period: Big Hits

The Capitals and Flyers continued to trade big hits. John Carlson and Mike Richards made some huge hits that had Verizon Center cheering. Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than three minutes left in regulation. T.J. Oshie and John Carlson picked up the assists on Backstrom’s first of the playoffs. Braden Holtby faced 42 shots from the Flyers, he was incredible during the game. The Capitals defeated the Flyers, 4-1, and took a 2-0 series lead to Philadelphia.

That’s two down, 14 to go. But lets get there one game at a time!

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals were given Sunday off and will have an optional skate at 11:30am on Monday in Philadelphia.

Game: Game Three is on Monday at 7pm at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

 

Caps Look To Build Momentum in Game 2

What a first game by the Washington Capitals. Flat in the first period, Trotz and company woke up in the second on a goal by John Carlson then an insurance marker in the third by Jay Beagle while Holtby showed why he’s the Vezina front runner with a 2-0 shutout.

The Caps outplayed and outshot the Flyers. The Flyers just managed five shots on goal in the last two periods after Sean Couturier went down with an A/C joint sprain. He is out for the rest of the playoffs, leaving a gaping hole in the center line.

Lineup for the Caps will be more of the same while the Flyers must figure out what to do to replace their best center. Holtby and Mason duel it out between the pipes.

• In 73 playoff games,  Alex Ovechkin has 36 goals, 34 assists and a +6 overall.

• Braden Holtby recorded his third career playoff shut out. He is 17-18-7 with a 1.86 GAA and .937 save percentage in his playoff career.

• Wayne Simmonds and Tom Wilson are workout partners in the off season. They didn’t look too friendly in Game 1.

Let’s hope we see more of the same intensity from the Caps. Puck drops at 7 p.m. on CSN or CNBC.

Rock the Red and Go Caps!

Caps Shutout Flyers in Game One Victory

Playoff hockey time! The Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals went to battle with the 2nd Wild Card Philadelphia Flyers. The game began with a moment of silence for the passing of late Flyers owner Ed Snider.

First Period: Too Many Penalties

The Capitals and Flyers started their first playoff series in eight years. The theme throughout the first period was that the Capitals were shorthanded too often. Defensemen John Carlson (hooking) and Brooks Orpik (illegal hit to the head and interference) each spent time in the penalty box. Thankfully, the penalty kill and Braden Holtby were successful at keeping the Flyers off the board. The teams were scoreless after the first period.

Second Period: Captain America gets it Started! 

Evgeny Kuznetsov blocked a shot with his ankle less than three minutes into the second. The Caps’ power play did everything but score on their first opportunity. Halfway through the period, the Flyers did not have a shot on goal in the second. The Caps went on the penalty kill for the fourth time and were successful. Just 19 seconds into the Capitals’ third power play, John Carlson scored the first goal of the series. Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie collected the assists on Carlson’s goal. The Caps lead 1-0 after two periods of hockey.

Third Period: Beagle Seals the Win! 

The Capitals went on the power play less than three minutes into the period after there were too many Flyers on the ice. Sam Gagner got assessed a double minor for hi-sticking Brooks Orpik but the Caps were unable to get an insurance goal on the extended power play. Brayden Schenn cleaned out Mike Richards but no call. Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves with less than seven minutes left in regulation. With 3:24 left in regulation, Jay Beagle double the Caps’ lead. Johansson had his second assist of the night on Beagle’s fourth career playoff goal. The Capitals defeat the Flyers, 2-0, and Holtby’s third playoff shutout. One down, 15 to go.

As expected, a Capitals and Flyers series is fueled by the rivalry and is incredibly physical.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals are scheduled to practice at 11:30am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday.

Game: Game Two is on Saturday at 7pm at Verizon Center.

 

Calm Before the War 

The last mandatory practice before the first game matchup between the Flyers and the Caps took place April 13th. ICYMI the 10:15am practice on Thursday is now optional skate. The mood of the practice was light but the level of work put in by the guys was nothing short of their very best. We know many of you have work obligations and are unable to make it to practices at Kettler. So we figured we’d bring the practice to you! 

Without further ado:

Our Flickr Gallery From 4-13-16

Photos By: Brittney Marcum 

Capitals Fight Flyers and Officials but Lose in OT

 

The first game in eight days (and the last one before the All-Star Break) for the Washington Capitals came when the Philadelphia Flyers took a trip to the Nations’s Capital for a Wednesday Night Rivalry game. Capitals defenseman John Carlson was back in the lineup, after missing 12 image11consecutive games.

Also, defenseman Karl Alzner played in his 423rd consecutive game setting a new franchise record passing Bob Carpenter.

Former Capital goaltender Michal Neuvirth started his first game against the Caps since his departure.

 

First Period:  Rust 

The period started with a little scuffle in the corner and 4:48 into the game, Capital Tom Wilson headed to the penalty box for interference. Six seconds into the penalty kill, Flyer Brayden Schenn scored his 12th of the season. After a giveaway from Evgeny Kuznetov, Ryan White scored his fifth of the season to double the Flyers lead 2-0.

  • Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth with a save on Tom Wilson for the Caps 3rd SOG with 6:30 left in the first.
  • Flyers were given a penalty for too many man on the ice and Capitals get their first power play of the game 16:33 into the first. Matt Niskanen was then handed a tripping penalty on Flyers RJ  Umberger.
  • End of the first, Capitals trailed the Flyers 2-0 and were outshot 12-6.

Second period: The Swede Goals

The Capitals got all of their rust out during the first. They killed off the remaining time on Niskanen’s tripping penalty and started to test former teammate Michal Neuvirth in the Flyers net. Then something Swede happened in the span of 55 seconds. Andre Burakovksy scored his sixth of the season 7:39 into the second and then Nicklas Backstrom scored his 16th of the season 8:34 into the period.image3 The Capitals controlled most of the second period tying up the game.

  • Flyer Jakub Voracek scored off the faceoff and the Flyers regained their lead, 3-2. Fans viewing felt the officiating in this game was one-sided to say the least.
  • Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had two penalties (tripping and delay of game) in the same period. Those were his first penalties of the season.
  • Capitals trailed Flyers 3-2 after 2 periods.

Third period: Two for Andre and Calls of Terrible Officiating

Sweet Swede Andre Burakovsky scored again, his seventh of the season, 3:55 into the third period. It’s safe to say that his “sophomore slump” is over. We think he and Kuznetsov are going to be fun to watch for years to come.

  • Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was called for hooking and the Capitals penalty kill was successful once again.
  • The Capitals get their second power play of the night with 2:02 left thanks to a hooking call on Matt Read.
  • End of regulation tied 3-3

Overtime: 38 Seconds and Done

Flyer Jakub Voracek scored his eighth of the season after Caps goaltender Braden Holtby lost his stick 38 seconds into the extra period. Capitals lose 4-3 and collect one point. The Capitals home winning streak was snapped at 12, just one shy of a franchise record.

Positive things to think about: The Capitals still sit in first overall place in the league (35-8-4, 74 points). Capitals fans can see Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby and Coach Trotz in the All-Star Game on Sunday as a part of the Metropolitan division team.

Unfortunately, Alex Ovechkin will sit out the All-Star Game due to a lower body injury that the team would rather he rest during this time off. Pulling out of the festivities will result in a one game suspension. This means when the Florida Panthers visit DC Tuesday, Captain Alex Ovechkin will not be in the lineup. Oh, and Marcus Johansson left the game with an injury–no details available.

What’s Next?

The Capitals will not practice at Kettler until Monday, February 1, at 2:15pm.

The next game is Tuesday, February 2 against the Florida Panthers at 7pm at Verizon Center.

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