Capitals and Golden Knights Meet Again Wednesday

Remember all those times the Caps played the Golden Knights??

When the Road Crew and Fan Club flew out to Las Vegas and were really part of the VGK hype? Oh and we went to see Nate Schmidt because we felt like George McPhee stole him from DC??

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The Game Three Alex Ovechkin Goal

There was so much excitement in Chinatown Saturday. The Caps were playing their first Stanley Cup Final game since 1998.

That’s when another Russian Sergi Federov, a former Caps player himself, scored in game three of that series to give the Detroit Red Wings the win. Fitting for Ovi, a life-long fan of Federov.

Captain Ovechkin got the Caps on the board first in this game three with a glorious backhanded goal that dazed Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Our photographer, Brittney Marcum, caught the moment in keen detail!

It was the perfect set up for a winning night in Penn Quarter. We can’t wait for more hometown celebrations on Monday!

Capitals – Golden Knights: Game One Jitters? Simple Things to Fix.

The Capitals and Knights finally met up in Las Vegas for Game One of the Stanley Cup Final and there was little doubt that both teams were a bit on edge. They were focused, but neither team came out playing their best. In the end, Vegas took a final goal lead and closed the deal with an empty net goal, 6-4 VGK.

Continue reading “Capitals – Golden Knights: Game One Jitters? Simple Things to Fix.”

Knights Outshine Caps: Story in Photos,

There was a great deal of excitement Sunday afternoon at the Capital One Arena. The new kids in the league, the Vegas Golden Knights, were playing their first game in DC against the Washington Capitals.

And Nate Schmidt was “home.” Warm ups were full of cheers for him as he landed on Caps home ice. Signs welcoming him wrapped the rink. Fellow player James Neal seemed to be a bit confused by the excitement for Nate

The Knights have come to rely on Nate too. He led the team in on-ice time at 2232 minutes. He would also garner an assist on the Ryan Carpenter goal.DSC_0890.JPG

So how did the rest of the day go?

Chandler Stephenson got on the board fist, assisted by Jay Beagle and Matt Niskanen. The Knights answered with the Carpenter goal, ending the first tied 1-1.DSC_0687.JPG

Each team added a goal in the second; first Nisky (Kuznetsov and Orlov assist) and then Reilly Smith, ending 2-2 before the intermission.DSC_0164

The third period was lively as Nick Backstrom got on the board with a beauty of a wrist shot fed from Djoos and Burakovsky. But the Knights would come back with a second goal by Smith followed by the GWG by Alex Tuch. Final score: 4-3 to the guys in Gold.

In the nets for the game were Marc-Andre Fleury and Philipp Grubauer. Flower has never been a friend of the Caps and tonight was no different. We did; however, really love his mask! And while he didn’t play, we could see that Malcolm Subban has quite the career ahead of him (11 wins in his 16 games with Vegas).

The arena was more alive then we have seen in a while. We can understand how Gerard Gallant is likely to be named coach of the year for what he had accomplished with this new team.

The Caps also kicked off Hockey is For Everyone with an on-ice scrimmage by the American Special Hockey Association.

Knights Inaugural Visit to DC- A Golden Experience

The Vegas Golden Knights visited for  the first time in the team’s existence and they did not disappoint.  If you have paid any attention to our posts of late you will know that we still have a huge empty space in our hearts where Nate Schmidt used to be. Today we were able to fill that void for just a brief period, and he brought friends.

Erik Haula #56

Deryk Engelland #5

Malcom Subban #30

James Neal # 18 (he threw the puck to this little man during warm-ups!)

David Perron #57

Marc Andre Fleury #29

William Carrier #28

And last but MOST CERTAINLY not least… our boy, Nate Schmidt #88 but #1 in our hearts…

NHL Expansion Draft: Goalie Watch

Now that the complete available lists are out, Caps fans are wondering if we might really lose Philipp Grubauer to George McPhee (GMGM). He has lots of  interesting  picks available to him.

If McPhee is looking for experienced starting goalies, there are some great players on the list. With the Pittsburgh Penguins releasing Marc-Andre Fleury following the playoffs, GMGM now has a goalie with Stanley Cup experience to add to his list of possible number one goalies. And then there is Robert Luango who could come in as a number two behind Fleury, although his is one of the oldest goalies in the league at 37.. Of course there is Michael Neuvirth who McPhee hired and fired so we don’t really see him as a viable pick given how much young blood there is on the available list.

GMGM can pull up to three goalies from the available list. We would think McPhee is going to go with a mix of experience and players who he and the coaching staff can groom over the next couple of years as they come together as a team. No one expects greatness right out of the gate, but if they even want to prove themselves contenders, they will need a strong goalie in the net who is ready to face down opponents in the Western Conference.

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From our perspective, we think Grubauer really should be his number one choice but we expect him to go with Fleury. Picking Grubi means that Phoenix Copely is safe with the Caps and could become the back up goalie. Bottom line, the pool is wide open and George McPhee has been known to do the unexpected. Going with some veteran players might be safe, but we could all be surprised in the end.

Here is the list of now available goalies:

Dustin Tokarski – Ducks
Louis Domingue – Coyotes
Anton Khudobin – Bruins
Malcolm Subban – Bruins
Anders Nilsson – Sabres
Linus Ullmark – Sabres
Brian Elliott – Flames
TEddie Lack – Hurricanes
Michael Leighton – Hurricanes
Cam Ward (G)om McCollum – Hurricanes
Mac Carruth – Blackhawks
Jeff Glass – Blackhawks
Joe Cannata – Avalanche
Calvin Pickard – Avalanche
Jeremy Smith – Avalanche
Oscar Dansk –  Blue Jackets
Anton Forsberg Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo Blue Jackets
Henri Kiviaho – Stars
Maxime Lagace – Stars
Kari Lehtonen – Stars
Antti Niemi – Stars
Justin Peters – Stars
Jared Coreau – Red Wings
Petr Mrazek – Red Wings
Edward Pasquale – Red Wings
Jake Paterson – Red Wings
Laurent Brossoit – Oilers
Jonas Gustavsson – Oliers
Reto Berra – Panthers
Sam Brittain – Panthers
Roberto Luongo – Panthers
Jack Campbell – Kings
Jeff Zatkoff – Kings
Johan Gustafsson – Wild
Darcy Kuemper – Wild
Alex Stalock – Wild
Al Montoya – Canadiens
Marek Mazanec – Predators
Keith Kinkaid – Devils
Scott Wedgewood – Devils
Jean-Francois Berube – Islanders
Christopher Gibson – Islanders
Jaroslav Halak – Islanders
Magnus Hellberg – Rangers
Antti Raanta – Rangers
Mackenzie Skapski – Rangers
Mike Condon – Senators
Chris Driedger – Senators
Andrew Hammond – Senators
Steve Mason – Flyers
Michal Neuvirth – Flyers
Marc-Andre Fleury – Penguins
Aaron Dell – Sharks
Troy Grosenick – Sharks
Harri Sateri – Sharks
Jordan Binnington – Blues
Carter Hutton – Blues
Peter Budaj – Lightning
Kristers Gudlevskis – Lightning
Jaroslav Janus – Lightning
Mike McKenna – Lightning
Antoine Bibeau – Maple Leafs
Curtis McElhinney – Maple Leafs
Garret Sparks – Maple Leafs
Richard Bachman – Canucks
Ryan Miller – Canucks
Pheonix Copley – Capitals
Philipp Grubauer – Capitals
Michael Hutchinson – Jets
Ondrej Pavelec – Jets

 

 

Who is This Matt Murray Who Is Stopping the Caps??

The Pittsburgh Penguins are riding a hot goaltender in the 2016 playoffs after starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion more than a month ago. A 21-year-old rookie goaltender named Matt Murray was called up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has been a rock in net. He’s been in net since game 3 against the New York Rangers, replacing Jeff Zatkoff, and hasn’t looked back.

According to the Internet Hockey Database, Murray’s career began in his home country of Canada, where he played 40 games for the Thunder Bay Kings midget minor league team in 2009-10. Thunder Bay went to the 2010 OHL Cup with Murray recording a 2-1 record and a 2.67 GAA. In 2010-11, he was drafted by OHL team Sault. Ste. Marie in the second round (35th overall) where he played four seasons. He also played on the Canadian World Junior team in 2012, earning a bronze medal.

He was chosen as a third round draft pick by the Penguins in 2012. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he quickly developed into one of the top goalie prospects in the league. He recorded a record 12 shutouts in his first full AHL season and swept most of the AHL rookie awards in 2014-15. With Fleury under contract for three more seasons after this, one tends to wonder if they will make him or Fleury available if and when an expansion draft is called or make either one trade bait. I doubt Fleury or Murray want to be a backup.

Being a rookie netminder, he admires a lot of players, including Braden Holtby. He can get a little star struck when meeting players he idolized growing up. He also has no animosity from Fleury, as he took the young goaltender under his wing and helped him through some rough patches in the regular season. He has earned the right to stay in net even with a healthy Fleury watching on.

At 6 foot 4, he’s fairly tall for a goaltender. The more he sees, the better his play becomes. He’s a rookie so his puck play, especially when he passes from the net, could improve. His stats so far in the playoffs are mind blowing for a rookie: 5-1, 1.79 GAA, .944 save percentage and a shutout.

He’ll have an even bigger challenge Wednesday as Kris Letang’s suspension is definitely going to lead to more chances for the Caps.

Penguins 2015 2.0

Monday the Washington Capitals will fly into Pittsburgh for the last leg of their road trip before returning home to face The Senators. It has been a bumpy trip so far and it’s anyone’s guess who they’ll face in the “City of Champions,” but it isn’t likely to be the team we have seen in seasons past.  pens lockerroom

  • They fired Coach Mike Johnston on Friday and replaced him with AHL coach Mike Sullivan. They also fired assistant coach Gary Agnew.
  • They have slipped in the rankings. At 15-10-3 they are 5th in the Metropolitan Division and outside of contention at this point even as a Wild Card.
  • Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are well below their personal best this year. Crosby has 6 goals in 28 games and a -6. Malkin has about twice that with 13 goals in 28 games and leads the team in total points. Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be off his game with a .927 save percentage.
  • They are struggling with their defense and with their powerplay (27th in the league) –once strong areas for them.

But change can be good.

Remember when we lost the lovable Bruce Broudreau? Remember the coaches that dragged the team down? Remember the Ovi slump?

We bounced back with the right coach and the right inspiration. It might seem too late for the Pens this season, but they are a fiercely competitive club and we should expect the unexpected on Monday.

Maybe having their favorite rivals in the house—ones who are having their own problems of late—might be just what they need to send the puck into our net. Either way, look for Monday to be a great game as two teams step it up to claim their place at the top of the leader board.