Happy Oshie Day!! Capitals Declare #OshieDay77

The Capitals had a great announcement this morning:

In honor of his day, we give you some of our favorite photos!!!

Jakub Vrana: Ready Already?

A couple years ago, there were some Caps players – including two current ones – known as “Caps Young Guns.” As the uncertainty era has begun in Washington, fans are trying to figure out which changes that this team will face for another run. Perhaps this question already has been answered, but just didn’t have time enough to fit it in here.

The two remaining “Caps Young Guns” have grown up and they are two of the franchise’s best players. Alex Ovechkin became the all-time franchise leader in goals, points, and the second in assists. Nicklas Backstrom became the all-time franchise leader in assists. Since they are all grown up, maybe it’s time for us to watch the rise of a new Young Gun: Jakub Vrana.

The 21 year old Czech has proved to be of great value. Vrana was drafted by the Capitals in 2014 as the 13th overall, playing for the Caps AHL afiliate Hershey Bears. In 2016, a surprise: on December 1, Vrana made his NHL debut against the New York Islanders. He scored his first NHL goal a few days later, on December 9, against the Buffalo Sabres. But then, he was reassigned to the Bears on January 1, 2017. However, in just 21 NHL career games, Vrana scored three goals and three assists (six points) and it was enought to give him notoriety. Probably, some players are going to say goodbye and a cost benefit solution is the best option for this team, and they already have it.

NHL is another reality, rhythm, competitivity, intensivity, pressure and playing with the most experienced players. However, perhaps Vrana is ready. In just a few games, he proved to be ready and having the potential to contribute significantly for this franchise, which is in need of  some energy renovation.

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.

 

No Luck in the Desert, Caps Shutout by Coyotes

On the second night of a back-to-back, Philipp Grubauer was in net for the Washington Capitals. This was also the last home game of the season for the Arizona Coyotes. The Capitals did not play terrible in this game, even if the final score did not reflect that.

First Period: Chances

The Coyotes, after officially being eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday, came out speeding and shooting at Grubauer. The Capitals had a mostly forgettable start to the game but got their skating legs a few minutes into the game. Andre Burakovsky and Daniel Winnik had some of the better chances for the Caps during the first. The teams were scoreless at the end of the period.

Second Period: Goalie show

Nate Schmidt and Max Domi, son of former NHL player Tie Domi, dropped the gloves early in the period. Just before halfway, goaltender Mike Smith made a great glove save on Alex Ovechkin. Philipp Grubauer made some great saves preventing the Coyotes from scoring the first goal. Both goaltenders were solid in their respective nets. The game became more physical as it went on. In the final minutes of the second period, Jordan Martinook was sent to the box after he forcefully took down Burakovsky in the corner. The teams remained scoreless after two periods of hockey.

Third Period: Weird Bounces

The Capitals started the period on the power play (carry over from the second) but could not convert. Less than five minutes in, Jason Chimera went into the boards awkwardly but he returned to the game shortly after. Coyotes captain Shane Doan opened the scoring with his 27th of the season. 27 seconds later, Oliver Ekman-Larsson doubled the Coyotes lead. Both goals were weird and bad bounces for Grubauer and the Caps. In the final 10 minutes of the period, the Capitals had some great chances to get on the board but they had no luck (three hit posts did not help much). Brad Richardson added his 10th of the season and that was back-breaker for the Caps. The final score was 3-0 Coyotes but it was not a bad game for the Capitals.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday at 10:30am

Game: The New York Islanders visit the Verizon Center for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday at 7pm.


 

Depth Scoring Helps Caps Defeat Pens

This was the first of two make-up games from  January. The  Pittsburgh Penguins came to Verizon Center to play the league-leading Washington Capitals. Defenseman Mike Weber also made his debut as a Capital.

First Period: Another Slow Start

The Penguins scored first on 2-on-1. The Caps first shot on goal came at 8:53 in the first. Tom Wilson drew the first penalty of the game, Chris Kunitz for tripping. Unfortunately, the Capitals could not convert on the man advantage. Defenseman Karl Alzner went to the penalty box for cross-checking but 31 seconds later Kessel went to the box as well. The Capitals ended the period better than they started.

GOALS: Evgeni Malkin scored his 24th of the season (assists: Carl Hagelin and Brian Dumoulin)

PENALTIES: Chris Kunitz (tripping) Karl Alzner (cross-checking); Phil Kessel (slashing)

SCORE: Caps trail 1-0

Second Period: Penalties Galore

The CapsDSC_0137 started the second a little off. Patric Hornqvist doubled the Pens lead. But Mike Richards got the Caps on the board. Kris Letang hooked Jason Chimera and they both headed to the box because it was deemed that Chimera embellished his fall. Shortly after, Ian Cole hooked Dmitry Orlov but Orlov, like Chimera, was called for embellishment. The referees seemed to lean to one team over another. Orlov got called for tripping but the Capitals PK was successful. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game not long after.

GOALS: Patric Hornqvist scored his 16th of the season (assists: Olli Maatta and Sidney Crosby); Mike Richards scored his second of the season (assists: Nate Schmidt and Jason Chimera); Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his 20th of the season (assists: Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky)

PENALTIES: Kris Letang (hooking); Jason Chimera (embellishment); Ian Cole (hooking); Dmitry Orlov (embellishment); Dmitry Orlov (tripping)

SCORE: Tied 2-2

Third Period: Nis-cannon!

The Capitals continued to play their heavy game into the third. Both teams traded chances early in the period. Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie collided mid-way through the third period. The net hit Braden Holtby and he fell to the ice but no harm no foul. Holtby even made a jumping save shortly after. Capitals had a power play with 7:15 remaining and defenseman Matt Niskanen scored the eventual game-winning goal. Holtby with a great glove save on Carl Hagelin with 32.8 seconds left. Capitals defeat the Penguins 3-2.

 

GOALS: Matt Niskanen scored his fourth of the season (assist: Nicklas Backstrom)

PENALTIES: Evgeni Malkin (high-sticking)

SCORE: Caps win 3-2 DSC_0169

The Capitals rebounded from the Blackhawks loss. The Capitals are now 46-12-4 for a total of 96 points. They still have not lost two consecutive games in regulation. There is a good chance the Capitals reach the 100-point mark before the end of the week.

We also wish to extend our congratulations to Taylor Chorney on the birth of his son earlier today.

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What’s Next?

Practice: No morning skate due to back-to-back games

Game: The Capitals will face Brooks Laich and the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow, Wednesday, at Verizon Center at 7pm.

Caps Go Wild; A Gallery

Here at FiCP we enjoy sharing different kinds of photos with you, our viewers. So if there is ever a specific photo of a player or player(s) you want to see just leave a comment below with your Instagram or Twitter handle and we will do our best to get it to you!

Now on to the fun stuff:

EX CAPS ROOMIES WARM-UP SHENANIGANS: 

 

OH KUZY….

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I SEE YOU:

ALL ABOUT THAT GOALIE:

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WE LOVE THOSE ACTION SHOTS:

GETTIN CHIPPY:

THAT SNEAKY BENCH FLOW:

WE WIN!!!!

Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Caps-Habs Photo Gallery

Okay… so we’re a little behind in our gallery posts but today is catch up day! YAY!

First up in our series of posts today is Montreal.

Warm-ups:

The bad guys:

Game Shots:

A few pre-game moments…

Photos by Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Caps Tame the Wild

This win is the Capitals’ 45th win of the season, which matches their number of wins in the entirety of last season. The Capitals still have yet to lose two consecutive games in regulation. This season may have its bumps but it is still amazing.

First Period: Another Slow Start
The game started slow for both teams but the Wild would out-shoot the Capitals, 9-2, in the first 10:04. The Capitals would not get another shot on goal until 15:05 courtesy of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Penalty trouble was a theme in this period as the Caps took three penalties. The penalty kill was successful for the first two penalties but on the third, Minnesota’s only power play shot-on-goal got through Braden Holtby. It is now seven consecutive games that the Capitals have allowed the first goal.

GOALS: Mikko Koivo scored his 13th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter)

PENALTIES: Brooks Orpik (holding); Matt Niskanen (roughing); Tom Wilson (tripping)

SCORE: Caps trail 1-0.

Second Period: Career High for Orpik

49 seconds into the second, defenseman Brooks Orpik scored his career-high third goal of season. The Caps looked to not repeat the first period. But Nino Niederreiter got the Wild their lead back with a breakaway goal 5:05 into the second. Defenseman Taylor Chorney could not get to Niederreiter to take away the puck. The Capitals were trapped in their own zone for a lengthy amount of time during this period. Minnesota’s goaltender Darcy Kuemper made an amazing save on Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin late in the second. The Caps outshot the Wild 13-10 in the period but the Wild had a 22-16 overall lead.

GOALS: Brooks Orpik scored his third of the season (assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin); Nino Niederreiter scored his 12th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville)

PENALTIES: None
SCORE: Caps trail 2-1.

 

Third Period: The “O” Factor.

The Capitals came out shooting while the Wild got away with some penalties. The Burakovsky-Kuznetsov-Williams line had a fantastic shift in the Wild zone. Goaltender Kuemper deniedWatermarked Photo 2 (2016-02-26-2340) Burakovsky and then took a delay of game penalty for intentionally knocking the net off its moorings. Alex Ovechkin did what he does best,
score power play goals. Ovechkin is the first player to reach 40 goals this season and he is the tenth player to have eight 40-goal seasons. With about five minutes left in the game, Dmitry Orlov scored the eventual game-winning goal. Holtby secured the win by not letting the Wild tie with the extra attacker.
GOALS: Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th of the season (assisted by Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Backstrom); Dmitry Orlov scored his seventh of the season (assisted by Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov)

PENALTIES: Darcy Kuemper (delay of game)

SCORE: Caps win 3-2. Watermarked Photo 3 (2016-02-26-2340)

Notes: 

Marcus Johansson is a new dad (baby girl) and so is newly acquired defenseman Mike Weber (baby boy). There was no John Carlson (lower body injury) or Michael Latta (flu) in the lineup. Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper made his first start against the Capitals. 

WHAT’S NEXT?
Practice: 11:30am on Saturday at Ketter Capitals Iceplex.

Game: 12:30pm against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

Written by: Renee Garces

Photos by: Brittney Marcum 

Mike Richards Making the Most of His Second Chance

Monday, 22 February. Remember that as the day Caps fans everywhere celebrated Mike Richards! Richards, who joined the team on 6 January 2016, scored his first goal in a red sweater. And the crowd at Verizon Center went nuts with not one, but two, standing ovations for the former Stanley Cup winner.

About a year ago, the Caps were in discussions about possible trades come the deadline. Mike Richards was on many prognosticators radar with most writers saying the Caps should trade for him to help with the playoff push. Oh what a difference a year makes.

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Richards has been through a bit of a personal struggle the past year or so and coming to Washington after a promising career with the LA Kings would mean a fresh start for him. In typical Caps fashion, the fans welcomed him with applause the first time he joined the team for practice at Kettler Ice Plex in Arlington, Virginia.

And then we waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to get that first goal and with former teammate Justin Williams, bring us some of the Cup magic. Prior to Monday night, in 14 games he had zero points and we were all getting a little concerned for him. Monday was really a Williams-Richards night with Stick fighting hard at the net, spending four minutes in the box for two penalties, and recording an assist; the boys for LA were showing us how to get it done!!

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Old Teammates Reunited…

Richards was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2003. Most recently he played with the Los Angeles Kings from 2011-2015. Richards has had a fairly solid career. In his six seasons with the Flyers he tallied 133 goals, 216 assists, 349 points and a +39. In a little over 3 1/2 seasons with the Kings, Richards posted 46 goals, 87 assists, 133 point and a -21 while winning two Stanley Cups.

At 31, he still has some years left in the tank. In last night’s Washington—Arizona game, he showed why the Caps took a chance on him. In the third, as Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue tried to press his glove to the ice to cover the puck, Tom Wilson dove and poked it away. Richards shot it in from just outside the crease, giving him his first goal since January 2015. Domingue was furious as he yelled at the refs that he had covered up the puck. The Coyotes coach challenged the goal but the refs said it was a good goal and that gave the Caps the lead for good.

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His deal with the Washington Capitals amounts to one year, one million dollars, and a chance to prove to the hockey world that he still has what it takes on the ice. We here at FiCP loved Richards and Williams as Kings, but they are ours now and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s hoping that Mike’s redemption story concludes with the Caps hoisting the Stanley Cup come June.

 

Go CAPS GO!!!

Written by: Maggie Marcum and Chris Johnson

Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

 

Caps Serve Royal Upset to LA Kings

In their first game back at home after a three-game road trip, the Washington Capitals took on the LA Kings.IMG_9846 Philip Grubauer got the start in net for the Caps and LA got their top tier tendy back as Jonathan Quick started for them. This game also marked the return of beloved D-man, Brooks Orpik, who played after missing 40 games. With the return of Orpik, Taylor Chorney was a healthy scratch for the Caps, along with Stanislav Galiev. Jay Beagle is still on injured reserve.

 

PERIOD 1-Shorty Got Game

After an abysmal second period in Dallas, you could see a huge difference in the Caps this game. There were some great chances early but no one could sneak one past Quick. There were some big hits and bodies were definitely flying. Whistle happy refs had each team marching a few players to the penalty box. Toward the end of the period, the Caps seemed to unravel a little and that allowed the Kings to score shorthanded.

GOALS- A shorthanded goal scored by Anze Kopitar, assisted by Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.IMG_9850

PENALTIES- Trevor Lewis called for holding, TJ Oshie called for holding, Alec Martinez called for tripping, Andre Burakovsky called for holding, and Jordan Nolan called for boarding.

SCORE-Caps down, 0-1

PERIOD 2-Five for Fighting

With a quiet start to the period, both sides had some great chances; however, both netminders kept their creases clear and their goals empty. Tom Wilson and Luke Schenn had a tango on ice when Schenn took exception to a hit from Wilson that sent Schenn into and then upended his Quickie. Alex Oveckin joined Willy in the box for an additional two minutes slapped on the penalty for ‘interference.’ With less than a minute remaining in the period, a deflection finally got a puck past Quick and got the Caps on the board.

GOALS- Andre Burakovsky scored his 12th goal of the season, assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Brooks Orpik (yes, that Brooks).

PENALTIES- Tom Wilson was called for fighting (five) and interference (served by Alex Ovechkin), Luke Schenn called for fighting (five), and Brayden McNabb called for hooking.

SCORE- Caps tie it up, 1-1

PERIOD 3-Feeling Grubi…

Caps seemed to be playing with some fire. They had great scoring chances where they had Quick beat but pushed the puck wide of the net. Grubauer was amazing! He made some fantastic saves. With 2:02 left, the Caps had a great heads-up play that gave them their first lead of the game. The Kings pulled Quick and the Caps took advantage and sunk and empty net goal.

IMG_9848GOALS-Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his 16th goal of the season, assisted by Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky, Jason Chimera scored his 16th goal of the season, assisted by Marcus Johansson and Karl Alzner.

PENALTIES- Tyler Tiffoli called for hooking.

SCORE-CAPS WIN, 3-1

Yes, we were feeling a little musical tonight…blame it on the Grammys.

On social media earlier today, a lot of people were worried and nervous about Grubi starting against the Kings over an obviously stellar Braden Holtby. We think Grubi proved himself tonight and definitely showed that he is way more reliable and every bit as awesome a goaltender as is Holtby. He has a few areas that still need work but that is to be expected from a rookie. Grubi was awesome tonight and this just adds to our confidence in him.

And there is no doubt that the return of Brooks Orpik added fuel to the fire of a winning Caps team tonight. IMG_9852Surprisingly, he played 16.43 minutes with one assist, five hits, and two blocks. In his post-game presser Coach said he didn’t see any of that rust you’d expect to (from a player who missed 40 games.) When he said he was ready to come back—he wasn’t kidding around. One can only imagine what happens when a healthy Jay Beagle returns to the lineup – soon…

The Caps are now 41-10-4 with 86 points. And still in first place everywhere!

Coming Up

17 Feb, Wednesday, 1130 am Caps Practice at Kettler Iceplex (open to public)

18 Feb, Thursday, 1130 am, Morning Skate at Barclays Center (closed to public)

18 Feb, Thursday, 7 pm, at New York Islanders

18 Feb, Friday, 1230 pm, Practice at Kettler Iceplex (open to public)

 

Written by: Ashley Reid

Photos by Brittney Marcum