LA Kings are Ready for the Capitals

The Washington Capitals had their pucks handed back to them Monday night in Anaheim. Goalie John Gibson walked away with a shutout while Braden Holtby was pulled after the first period and Philipp Grubauer stepped in, but to no avail. The Caps fell 4-0 to the Ducks.

Wednesday night the Caps will travel up the road to the Staple Center, the home of LA Kings, who sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division and are currently in a wild card position. The Kings are feeling pretty good after a nice win (5-2) over the Blue Jackets and yet still smarting a bit from a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks on 3 March. They need this win against Washington.

The Kings and Caps have played 16 games against each other since 2005. The Kings have won 11 of those match ups. Of those 16 games, the Caps have won only one game in LA. Let’s face it, the Caps have a hard time on these Western Conference trips. Is it a different style of play? Is it a time change? Is it is mindset?

 A 2017/11/30 Los Angeles Kings   5  -  Washington Capitals   2      W 
 H 2017/03/11 Los Angeles Kings   4  -  Washington Capitals   2      W 
 A 2017/02/05 Los Angeles Kings   0  -  Washington Capitals   5      L 
 H 2016/03/09 Los Angeles Kings   4  -  Washington Capitals   3 (OT) W 
 A 2016/02/16 Los Angeles Kings   1  -  Washington Capitals   3      L 
 H 2015/02/14 Los Angeles Kings   3  -  Washington Capitals   1      W 
 A 2015/02/03 Los Angeles Kings   0  -  Washington Capitals   4      L 
 A 2014/03/25 Los Angeles Kings   5  -  Washington Capitals   4 (SO) W 
 H 2014/03/20 Los Angeles Kings   2  -  Washington Capitals   1 (SO) W 
 H 2012/01/09 Los Angeles Kings   5  -  Washington Capitals   2      W 
 A 2011/02/12 Los Angeles Kings   4  -  Washington Capitals   1      W 
 H 2010/01/02 Los Angeles Kings   2  -  Washington Capitals   1      W 
 A 2009/02/05 Los Angeles Kings   5  -  Washington Capitals   4      W 
 H 2008/11/20 Los Angeles Kings   5  -  Washington Capitals   2      W 
 A 2007/02/08 Los Angeles Kings   3  -  Washington Capitals   4 (OT) L 
 H 2005/12/14 Los Angeles Kings   2  -  Washington Capitals   3      L

It won’t be easy for either team. The Kings, like the Caps, have been spending more time in the sin bin then they would like. Top guys like Drew Dougherty need to set the tone for the team. The Caps have had issues with defenseman Brooks Orpik, especially taking some late game penalties. The Kings have an 83.4 percent penalty kill average and ranks second it the league–the Caps not so much.

The Caps will need to keep a watch on Jeff Carter – not to mention Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli who have been playing a strong game of late. Oh and lets not forget Kopitar – our favorite to watch. They of course have to deal with the power year Alex Ovechkin is having. Ovi leads the team and the league in goals at 40. He is also on the prowl to notch two more goals for 600. Kuznetsov leads in assists and lets not forget defenseman John Carlson who has more time on ice then anybody and keeps bringing it night after night.

We don’t know for sure who will be in the net for either team. Could be Holtby but we have a sense coach will go with Grubauer given how quick he was to pull Holtz on Monday. And speaking of Quick, if he is in the net he is sure to be a formidable presence in the net.

LA Insider Jon Rosen talked with Coach Stevens about the pending match and coach indicated that the Caps could be fired up after the big loss in Anaheim–something about the Caps forecheck. The Capitals want to hang onto the top spot while the Kings want to move up from wild card and into a sure spot in time for the playoffs. Any way you look at it, this is going to be a great game for DC fans to stay up late and watch.

Team Europe Surprise Defeat over Team USA WCH2016

We’ll keep this short: Team Europe managed to get around goalie Jonathan Quick. Team USA, with 35 shots on goal, couldn’t break through the Wall of Halak.

Some have said USA seemed to lack a sense of urgency or desire to win. We think their shots show the opposite. We actually think it may be more of a coach issue. John Tortorella has something to prove with this team; however, he doesn’t seem to have created a cohesive system or even a team the can read one another.

We won’t totally blame Torts. The guys need to take this loss and find a way to return energized against the dynamic and cohesiveness of Team Canada on Tuesday if they hope to advance.

We remain cautiously hopeful and have faith in Quick!!

DSC_0487.JPG

Go USA!!

Photo Highlights of Team USA from WCH2016

watermarked-photo-1-2016-09-13-2259
Team USA Celebrates it’s Win Over Team Finland

Team USA plays Team Europe at 3:30 EST.

Washington was treated to a great pre-tournament match between Team USA and Team Finland. The night was extra special because three Washington Capitals’ players are on the team. We had a chance to wave the flag, sing our anthem,and chant “USA, USA” for a few hours.

It was great seeing the Caps players on home ice. We also had the privilege of seeing some of the best American hockey players come together to take a 3-2 win over Finland. A sign of things to come in the tournament???

T.J. Oshie always gets the crowd excited when he puts on the Team USA jersey and Tuesday night was no different. Just remember when watching the games the next couple of weeks that he is wearing number 74 and not John Carlson!  So confusing…

Speaking of John Carlson-he has had a great showing in the pre-games. That’s a good sign for the Caps. He will be wearing the number 4 jersey as he usually does in non-Caps games.

Matt Niskanen, another Washington Capital, is also on the team. He at least is wearing his normal number 2.

 

Team USA has some great goalies minding the net: Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop, and Corey Schneider. Quick, who will get the start on Saturday, is an Olympic silver medalist and two-time Stanley Cup winner. He also earned the Conn Smythe trophy as most valuable player in 2012. (sorry, no shots of Schneider)

Other favorites from around the league include Patrick Kane (88) and Ryan Kesler (17). Kesler scored a goal and an assist in the USA-Finland game in DC.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the whole Team USA and how they progress through the World Cup of Hockey. For now, we will cheer on the likes of Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, (33-Jets), or Ryan McDonagh (27-NYR).

In the end, we think it will come down to how good this guy is in the net and how team stands up against a strongly united Team Canada who is playing at home and Team Russia who is determined to show the world that they are still competitive.

GO USA !!!

USA – Finland World Cup 1st Period Round the Rink


Verizon Center is rocking!! Wes Johnson was in his rightful spot and Slapshot was all patriotic waving the flag!!!

TJ Oshie was first to score! Go Caps!!

Power play for USA but nothing makes it to the goal.

PP for Finland with a little more than two minutes left and with only one SOG, they returned to five on five without scoring. 

LA Kings Jonathan Quick was barely challenged stopping 11 SOG. 

End of second it is USA leading 1-0

Finally, Holtby Named Vezina Finalist

We knew it was coming but it sure is great news that Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy. The Trophy is awarded to the player who the NHL managers vote as :the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”

Also nominated are Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning)  and Jonathan Quick (LA Kings) .

We’re kind of partial to the Holtbeast but these other guys are pretty good too! Her’s some of our favorite shots from this season:

Caps Look to Take the Crown in LA

This is the second and final regular season match up between the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals took the first game against the Kings by a score of 3-1 on February 16 at Verizon Center.

Your confirmed goaltending match up for this evening is Braden Holtby against Jonathan Quick. Holtby continues to prove he is one of the best goalies currently playing. As it stands right now Holtby has 41 wins, seven away from tying and eight from becoming the new record holder for most wins in a single regular season as a starter (48) which currently sits with the great New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.

The Capitals are currently in the drivers seat and have complete control over the Metropolitan Division and the league with 102 points; 14 points ahead of the second place Dallas Stars, who have captured 88 points. I know most Caps fans have fear and concern in their minds because the Caps are playing so well and their playoff history makes it hard to be confident.

But look at the team now compared to every year before this season. Now tell me, when at ANY point has ANY hockey team looked as good as the 2015-16 Washington Capitals? The team is winning and is strong and confident. The community support for the Caps and the team’s support for the community is at an all time high. If that doesn’t motivate a professional athlete, then I don’t know what does.

The goalie is the key to a teams success. They are the fuel for the team. Without them, the team doesn’t run. Holtby has helped this team get to where they are now. It’s time for this team to finish the season strong and be ready for playoffs. Things will change when the playoffs start but the Caps should be ready this time. With veteran presence and the team in the top five of nearly every statistical category, Caps fans should be ready for a different type of playoff team come April.

ashleyThis story is written in memory of the recently fallen Officer Ashley Guindon of the Prince William county police department, Her sacrifice and dedication haven’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank You to all the brave men and woman who work endlessly to keep to community safe!

Caps-Kings Royal Photo Gallery

This gallery took FAR too long to post and I apologize for that, there were just too may awesome photos between Mel and myself. But let’s just get down to it:

https://flickr.com/photos/139128575@N06/sets/72157665641003622


Hope you enjoy our game gallery!

As always feel free to use our photos but please give credit where it is due.

Photos by : Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Holtby & Grubauer: Keeping the Washington Capitals Alive

After a tough loss in Dallas where Braden Holtby was pulled and replaced by Phillip Grubauer, the Capitals faced the Los Angeles Kings with Grubauer in net for the Capitals and Jonathan Quick in for the Kings. This was Quick’s first game back after missing the previous three, with a lower body injury. Grubauer played his best game in recent history against a fast and powerful Kings offense.

IMG_9982Anze Kopitar opened up the scoring with a shorthanded goal in the first period, but the capitals would respond with three unanswered goals to grab the W. Despite giving up a shorthanded goal, Phillip kept his head in the game and was a master of rebound control; something that has been a struggle for him this season. The goalies were the stars of the game; Quick stopped 28 of 32 shots while Grubauer stopped 39 of 40 shots.
The season is now just beyond the halfway point and the Capitals aren’t looking back. This season has been a history-making season, not only for the organization, but for the NHL. The Capitals have become the FIRST team to have 40 wins in 53 games in a season and the big reason for that is goalie Braden Holtby. Braden has been playing the season of his career so far with a record of 35-6-3. He is fast approaching 60 games, which is the average number of games played for an NHL goalie before he is relievedIMG_9983 by the backup to prepare for the playoffs. With 86 points this season I wouldn’t be surprised to see the number of games in which Holtby starts begin to decrease.

The Capitals next game is Thursday at 7pm against the New York Islanders in New York. The starting goalie has not been announced yet for the Thursday night matchup. I’ll have more to come on Thursday’s game and who will be in net when the Washington Capitals face off against the division rivals they faced in the playoffs last year, the New York Islanders..

Photos By: Brittney Marcum & 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

Capitals and LA Kings Pregame Update & Line Projections

GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 40-10-4

LA Kings 33-19-9

Watch on CSN and listen 106.7

The Washington Capitals welcomes the LA Kings to Verizon Center tonight.

Caps Forward Lines

Ovechkin (8) Backstrom (19) Oshie (77)

Burakovsky (65) Kuznetsov (92) Williams (14)

Chimera (25) Johansson (90) Wilson (43)

Laich (21) Richards (10)  Latta (46)

Defensemen Parings

Alzner (28) Niskanen (2)

Schmidt (88) Carlson (74)

Orlov (9) Orpik (44)

Goalies

Braden Holtby (70) Philipp Grubauer** (31)

** Expected in the net tonight.

Injury List

Still: Jay Beagle.

 Reachable Milestones:

Nicky Backstrom one goal away from a new Caps franchise milestone: (162) for 12th place.

LA Kings

Forwards

Lucic (17) Kopitar (11) Brown (23)

King (74) Carter (77) Toffoli (73)

Pearson (70) Lecavalier (44) Lewis (22)

Clifford (13) Shane (21) Nolan (71)

Defensive Pairings

McNabb (3) Doughty (8)

Muzzine (6) Martinez (27)

Gravel (53 ) Schenn (52)

Goalies

Enroth (1) Quick** (32)

** Expected in the net.

Injury List

Marian Gaborik