The Washington Capitals have recently concluded a four-game road trip with stops in Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado, and Montreal. FiCP takes a look at what was a roller-coaster type week. Continue reading “Caps Road Trip Roundup: Injuries, Controversy, and Intense Games”
Tonight the Capitals are in Manitoba where they will find a team much different then last years squad. Washington and the Winnipeg Jets both are battling for top spot in their respective divisions and this is a great match up to see where Caps fit versus a strong Western Conference team. The Jets are one of the best teams in the West and the Capitals know that they boast a great defensive nucleus. One of the less heralded blue-liners is 22 year old Calgary, Alberta native Josh Morrissey.
With the skill set to be an elite player, Morrissey has progressed maybe even ahead of the Jets schedule as he’s only in his second full season and is counted on in many areas of the Jets game. He appeared in all 82 games as a rookie last season, no easy feat for a young defenceman at the National Hockey League level. Blessed with an offensive mind as well he is a great skater with passing ability to break out of the Jets zone with ease. Not a big player at 6′ 195 lbs, but his physical game is underrated.
While Morrissey was in the WHL he was traded mid-season in 2014-15 from Prince Albert to the powerhouse Kelowna Rockets where he paired up with current Capitals rookie defenceman Madison Bowey. The two led the Rockets to a WHL Championship and fell just short of a National Championship. Was a member of two Canadian National Jr teams (played with Bowey there as well) and also represented Canada at the 2017 World Championships.
Go Caps Go
On the 1st of November, the Washington Capitals played the first game of a home and home against the Winnipeg Jets. With Braden Holtby in net for the Caps and Connor Hellebuyck for the Jets, there was sure to be some stellar saves on both ends. The Caps defense needs to pay particular attention to rookie sensation Patrik Laine. The 18 year old already has six goals and two assists in his nine game professional career. This has to potential to be a great game!
In the first period, Alex Ovechkin had the games first penalty. The Caps captain was called for slashing. During the ensuing power play, the Jets were called for a penalty when Adam Lowry was called for tripping. There was 4 on 4 play for 37 seconds and then the Caps had their first power play of the night. Neither team scored on their respective power plays so back to even strength they go. Both net-minders standing tall for their teams and keeping the opponent off the board. Shawn Matthias was injured as he was held by Dmitry Orlov. Holtby kept the Jets off the board with some fancy moves and the Caps killed the penalty
successfully. Late in the period, Karl Alzner scored to give the Caps the lead. Caps go into the first intermission up 1-0.
In the second period, the Jets officially announced that Matthias would not return due to a lower body injury. Matthias hurt his knee as he fell awkwardly behind the net. Hopefully it is nothing serious and he will return to play soon. It was a pretty quiet period until 11:45 when Marcus Johansson scored off a great pass from behind the net from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Two minutes later, Orlov was called for slashing as the Jets got a step on the Caps defense and almost scored. Holtby made a great stop to keep the Jets scoreless and the Caps killed the penalty. Things got really interesting with two minutes remaining when TJ Oshie used his stick to scoot a puck away from the goal line behind Holtby after Holtby made a great toe save. As bodies piled up in the crease, the refs had initally waived it off but the play was under review with the NHL officials in Toronto. The call was upheld and the Caps maintained their lead, 2-0.
The Caps got a power play 1:14 into the third period when Kyle Connor was called for hooking. The Caps did not score, however. It stayed pretty quiet with a lot of back and forth between the two teams. With just shy of nine minutes remaining, the refs spotted another infraction. Justin Williams was caught hooking and the Caps were back on the penalty kill. There have been a lot of penalties in this game, even though they have been called evenly between the Caps and the Jets. The Jets power play was cut short when Tobias
Enstrom tripped Oshie. There was 4 on 4 play and that’s when the Jets finally got one past Holtby. Mark Scheifele got one in off a rebound. The Caps then went to an abbreviated power play, but that was for naught. The Jets seemed to play with renewed force after their goal. With 2:25 left in the third, Adam Lowry pots the goal that ties the game. With :30 seconds left, Jay Beagle squeaked one past Hellebuyck to give the Caps back the lead and to seal the victory.
Caps win, 3-2.
This was a much closer game than the score showed. The Jets peppered Holtby with 45 shots on goal and only two of those got through. The Jets have great offensive capability and are a solid team all around. There are very few teams that can keep a team off the scoreboard when they are hit with over 40 shots on goal. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby was definitely a huge factor in this game. However, having players like Jay Beagle, who fight until the very end, are what make this Caps team huge competitors. The Caps
are now 6-2-1 and won three out of their four road games in this swing through Canada.
The Caps next game is at home against Winnipeg. It starts at 7pm on Thursday, November 3rd. I know I will be there. Will you?
LET’S GO CAPS!!