Bring Out the Bird! Evgeny Kuznetsov Delivers in Overtime, Caps Top Avs 4-3

This was a game full of de ja vus. In the end, an Alex Ovechkin feed to Evgeny Kuznetsov for the breakaway that was shades of Game 6 of the Caps second round series in Pittsburgh last year that would be the difference. Kuznetsov came through with the overtime goal as the Washington Capitals defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime at Capital One Arena in D.C. In the midst of a season-long six game homestand following the all-star break and bye week, the Capitals have now won three of their last four games after a season-long seven game winless drought entering the break.

Continue reading “Bring Out the Bird! Evgeny Kuznetsov Delivers in Overtime, Caps Top Avs 4-3”

Caps Road Trip Roundup: Injuries, Controversy, and Intense Games

michael banner 2The 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”

The Long Strange Journey of Brooks Orpik Back to DC

NHL Free Agency is one of those times that we who bring you the news about hockey and the Washington Capitals get a little giddy. We talk and talk about who might get signed for how much or who is most likely to get traded. And we like to think we are pretty good at this projecting thing.

And then along comes Brooks Orpik and we throw our hands up in the air and start all over. Many times we did that here!

It all started with the Capitals being too tight to sign John Carlson and the players they really want to hang onto for a few more seasons. And the desire of Philipp Grubauer to become a starting goalie.

There was talk last summer about buying out Orpik to make room in the cap ceiling to sign big-name contracts with TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmity Orlov. The conclusion was that it was too expensive to buy out his contract and so we kind of assumed the same thing was true this summer.

What we didn’t see was a deal during the first round of the draft that would send Grubi and Orpik to Denver. We knew they had to make space for Carly, we just didn’t see this as their move.

As soon as Orpik’s move to the AVS was announced talk began that they would buy him out. And if they did buy him out, well then the Capitals might be able to afford to bring him back.

So we waited… and waited…and waited

For Tuesday! The Capitals announced that they finally signed Brooks to a one-year $1 million contract, with a $500k bonus!!

General manager Brian MacLellan had this to say in the Caps press release: “Brooks has been a valuable player and a great mentor for our young players and we are thrilled to bring him back to our organization. We feel his leadership and competitiveness on and off the ice will be welcomed back to our group.”

Orpik brings back a maturity that the Caps need in their locker room. He is the constant steady voice that whispers in the ears of younger players. And the Caps young roster needs that. And he has some decent stats, including a playoff goal!

From the Caps today:

Orpik, 37, led the Capitals with 168 blocked shots and ranked second on the team, and first among Washington defensemen, with 218 hits in 2017-18. He recorded 10 points (0g, 10a) in 81 regular-season appearances and five points (1g, 4a) in 24 postseason contests. The 6’3″, 217-pound defenseman has recorded 53 points (3g, 50a) and 830 hits in 279 games with the Capitals.

Inside the Caps Opponent : JT Compher

As the Caps look to bounce back from a loss in Brooklyn last night, they’ll again see a team with a good young rookie. JT Compher may not be as dazzling as we saw in Barzal with the Islanders, but he is proving to be a very solid every day player. With 10 pts so far this season, and maybe more importantly considering he hasn’t played 60 games in the NHL yet, is his ability to defend and play at both ends hard. He competes, so the Caps will have to deal with his forecheck. Think Nathan Walker type energy. Is that too early?? lol

Compher represented Team USA at the 2015 World Junior tournament during his time skating in the NCAA.  He also made an appearance at the World Championships with the U.S. in both ’16 and ’17. The former University of Michigan captain, originally drafted by the Sabres in ’13, is giving the Avalanche some needed depth up front. Colorado acquired his rights in the O’Reilly deal and have found a player responsible in both ends and can keep up with the faster skaters in the league.

Go Caps Go

Photo from The Denver Post

The Colorado Avalanche: On the Road Washington DC

The Colorado Avalanche met the Washington Capitals on the ice at Verizon Center Tuesday night.

Semyon Varlamov was fantastic, as usual, in the net with 37 saves. Unfortunately for him, three got past him, one by friend Alex Ovechkin and two by T.J. Oshie, giving the win to the Caps 3-0.

Here are some shots we thought Avs fans might enjoy:

Varly Comes to Town; Grubauer in Caps Net, and More Pre-game Info

Former Caps player Semyon Varlomov will be minding the goal for the Colorado Avalanche tonight. Coach Trtotz has decided to give Philipp Grubauer a workout for the Caps in place of Braden Holtby.

img_5553  Brett Connolly (10) will also get his starting debut with the Caps tonight. That means the young Zach Sanford will be taking a seat in the viewing area.

Your Caps lines tonight, according to Daily Faceoff are:

The Avs are coming off a sweet win against the Pittsburgh Penguins–something the Caps failed to do in their first game of the season. They also have a new coach, Jared Bednar, having beat out Caps assistant coach  Lane Lambert for the job. With that comes a bit of unpredictability but he is a guy who likes to win so expect a tough battle for the win tonight. Here is their line up:

Coach told the media today, ““Probably the No. 1 thing is they sort of stay with it.” We hope we see a bit more energy both from the players and the fans tonight.


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Caps Win 4-2

The Capitals visited Denver, Colorado and a familiar face in Semyon Varlamov Friday night in the first of their back-to-back games. The team was one Swede short after an announcement came earlier in the day that Nicklas Backstrom would be sitting out due to an upper body injury. In his place was Stan Galiev who…. Caps were coming off a tough SO loss to Philadelphia and the Avs were in fight mode as they try to clinch their own playoff spot. The combination of these made for an exciting game.

First Period: Lots of Pipe

The speed of the first period is something we like to see from the Caps on a regular basis. Within the first two minutes Marcus Johansson made an excellent attempt on Varlamov that unfortunately hit the pipe, Richards would do the same thing not long after. Justin Williams would head to the box at 4:43 for a tripping call on Avs Blake Comeau. Caps managed to limit the bad guys to 1 shot on the PP while Jay Beagle had a great breakaway that yet again hit the pipe next to Varlamov. Jay Beagle headed to the box for a Hi-Sticking call against John Mitchell at the end of the first, Avs would have a power play going into the second. Varly faced a whopping fifteen shots, while Holtby faced only seven. End of period score: 0-0

Second Period: All the Goals…

The fourth pipe hit came from TJ Oshie at 3:31. Shortly after, Tom Wilson laid a hard (legal) hit on Nikita Zadorov that left the defenseman down for a few minutes but he ultimately left the ice fully coherent with the help of trainers and teammates. Varlamov continued to be stellar in goal for Colorado; robbing Johansson with a sprawling save.DSC_0090 All the shots finally pay off when Jay Beagle sneaks one past Varly with no helpers for his eighth of the season and first since March fourth at 8:50. Blake Comeau received a hooking penalty after a hook on Jason Chimera. Not long after the boys show they still got it when Ovechkin scores his 45th of the season via Johansson and Kuznetsov. And with the third goal of the night just two minutes later Jason Chimera scores his 19th of the season with help from Richards and Carlson. The second period ended same as the first with a penalty call against Matt Niskanen for hooking on Gabriel Landeskog. The power play for Colorado resulted in a goal from Jerome Iginla his 20th on the season. Shots continued to be lopsided with a final shot count of 30-13 Washington. End of 2nd score: 3-1 Caps.

3rd period: That’ll do Caps, That’ll do.

The third period began with just as much speed. Colorado defense were on top of their game; saving a puck that nearly crossed the line after a series of shots the pulled Varly out of his crease. Chris Bigras heads to the box for a Hi-Sticking call on TJ Oshie. Not for lack of trying, Caps could not get one passed the Avs killer defense and seasoned goaltender. With the FIFTH pipe of the night, Carlson just misses. Gabriel Landeskog makes it a one goal game with the help of Soderberg and Comeau. This was Landeskog’s 20th goal of the season and his 100th career NHL goal. To no avail Colorado pulled Varlamov at 2:19 for the extra man. TJ Oshie scores on the empty net to put the nail in the coffin. Your final shot count is 47-19 in favor of the Caps. Final Score 4-2

 And your Washington Capitals win another one. That’s another record in the books with 55 wins in a season. Braden Holtby is now just one win away from tying Martin Brodeur for most wins in a single season (48).

Next up:

 Tomorrow night Caps will take on the Phoenix Coyotes at 10:00 PM on CSN

Sunday will be a day off and the team will return to Kettler for a 10:30 am practice on Monday morning.

Caps Need To Capitalize

Brandon’s Predictions

The Capitals face an interesting week as they play half of their final eight games with three of them being on the road.

First up Columbus Blue Jackets: Monday, March 28, 7:00 pm EDT

Columbus has always played the Caps tough and I would expect nothing different on Monday. Something to watch for is the possible return of TJ Oshie who missed the last two games with the flu. In those two games, the Caps scored zero 5×5 goals culminating in the 4-0 loss to the Blues on Saturday.

Second, Philadelphia Flyers: Wednesday, March 30 8:00 EDT

The Caps head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers who are fighting for not only their playoff lives, but even playoff positioning. In what is a very likely first round playoff series, I would hope the Caps come out  strong to make a statement.

Next Up, Colorado Avalanche: 9:00 pm EDT

Much like the Flyers, the Avalanche are fighting for their postseason lives. In what is game one, of a back to back, expect the Caps to roll all four lines regardless of the score. If Holtby wins the games against the Flyers and Blue Jackets, then a win in this game would tie the NHL record for wins in a single season.

Last up, Arizona Coyotes: 9:00 pm EDT

Arizona is a very young and talented team. The Caps will need to come out of the gates strong or they could be down big early. Expect Phillup Grubauer to get this start as he looks to rebound after a rough performance on Saturday.

The last couple of road trips haven’t gone that well. Lets hope this week is better!