Thursday night the Washington Capitals clinched a spot in the playoffs. Unlike previous seasons, there was no doubt it would happen and fans were less nervous. For now, the focus is on that first place spot in the Metropolitan Division and who the Caps will play in the first round. The Caps are hoping for that home ice advantage. The NHL playoffs are based on a complex bracket system and each night in April brings teams a little closer to discovering who they will play. Continue reading “Capitals and NHL Standings Watch”
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman John Carlson were well represented at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose last week. With coach Todd Reirden at the helm of the Metropolitan Division, the trio contributed to wins over the Atlantic and Central Divisions to win the All-Star Game and split the grand prize of one million dollars. Continue reading “Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win”
To the surprise of no one, okay maybe there were some surprises since many fans lobbied for Tom Wilson, Alex Ovechkin has been named team captain to represent the Metropolitan Division for the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose. This will be Ovechkin’s eighth All-Star Game of his career and will be the second straight season Ovi has been named captain of the Metro Division. He joins an elite group featuring the All-Star captains of Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs, Atlantic Division), Nathan McKinnon (Avalanche, Central), and Connor McDavid (Oilers, Pacific). Continue reading “Back-to-Back: Alex Ovechkin is Named Metropolitan Division Captain for NHL All-Star Game for Second Year in a Row”
For the second time in 18 days, the Washington Capitals hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Capital One Arena. Once again, the Caps protected home ice with a 6-2 win, their third in a row, to keep ahead for first place in the Metropolitan Division now up by five points on the Blue Jackets with a 18-9-3 record (39 points). The offense got a boost with T.J. Oshie‘s return after being out for over three weeks with a concussion. Oshie scored in this contest that also saw tallies from Brett Connolly, Travis Boyd, and Alex Ovechkin times three. Continue reading “Alex Ovechkin’s Hat Trick and T.J. Oshie’s Return Power Caps to 6-2 Win Over Red Wings”
The NHL announced the full list of players heading to Florida for the All Star Game 27 and 28 January. Despite heavy lobbying, John Carlson was overlooked. He is listed as a potential replacement should someone become injured or unable to attend. That’s how Kuzy made it last time so who knows….
Former Cap Mike Green will be going for the second time in his career.
Congrats to Coach Trotz, Alex Ovechkin, and Braden Holtby.
Many teams playing in the Metropolitan Division have been doing well building their teams since last season. In addition, the first two draft picks were from teams in this division, which may reflect a great season for its teams and, consequently, unpredictability for the division title and classification for the playoffs. Now let’s look at each team and what we can expect for the season:
Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen and Trevor van Riemsdyk will also have the experienced Justin Williams, former Capitals and three times Stanley Cup champion; one with the Canes and two with the Los Angeles Kings. And they have a new goalie, Scott Darling, acquired from Chicago. They were in the seventh penultimate position in the Metro and 21st overall in the league. And they were eight points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs who took the Wild Card spot.
Columbus Blue Jackets: The team was one of the big highlights in the last regular season, ranking third in the division and fourth overall. The team from Ohio which already has Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson and Brandon Bubisnky will also feature Artemi Panarim, who came from the Chicago Blackhawks.
New Jersey Devils: Taking the last place in the division / conference and 27th overall in the league, the franchise has won the draft lottery and now has rookie Nico Hischier, who will play alongside players like goaltender Corey Schneider, Tylor Hall, Adam Henry, Brian Boyle and former Caps Marcus Johansson. The Devils finished the last season with 70 points and can use the boost Johansson could bring.
New York Islanders: The team led by John Tavares, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuck and former Caps Jason Chimera almost qualified for the playoffs, with 94 points, just one point behind Maple Leafs, which has been qualified with the second and last Wild Card spot. One key change is a new goalie coach, ChrisTerreri, who coached the likes of Devils legend, Martin Brodeur.
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, Brendan Smith are names that don’t need introductions. The team reached the semi-final of the Eastern Conference, being eliminated by the Ottawa Senators in six games. The team has lost Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta and Dan Girardi during the offseason, but signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (who played with Capitals during playoffs).
Philadelphia Flyers: The team that finished the regular season with 88 points, fighting in the final rounds for the hope of a place in the playoffs, has got the second draft pick. Rookie Nolan Patrick will certainly contribute the team alongside names like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gotisbehere and Valtteri Filppula.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Caps greatest rival has won two consecutive Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017), both defeating the Caps in the conference semi-final. Also in both times, the Penguins maintained names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang among others. The team lost goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights, but Matt Murray is ready and able to replace Flower. As the Penguins maintain a good base for the two-time consecutive team, they will certainly be a strong team to face in an already talented Metro Division.
Washington Capitals: The Caps have won two consecutive Presidents’ Trophies, but both times they were eliminated by their greatest rival, the Penguins. The team led by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Braden Holtby, John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky can count on a more effective participation with younger players like Jakub Vrana. Vrana has been standing out and could gain a permanent spot on the team this season. At least many Caps fans are hoping he will. However, the team lost names like Justin Williams, Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson and Kevin Shattenkirk, but the remaining roster and the new additions will be able to keep the Capitals in contender status.
Featured image by sportspresscom
Celebrate good times, COME ON!
The Washington Capitals came back home from a nail biting overtime victory in Madison Square Garden to take on the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center. After a beautiful save from Braden Holtby in conjunction with Nate Schmidt, Alex Ovechkin was all too happy to end the game on his own terms and bring the Caps home with the victory and 2 points. After scoring goals 498 and 499 in New York, everyone knew how important this next game could be to Ovi and Capitals history.
In the chase…
On the edge of his milestone 500th NHL goal, Ovi was shooting pucks galore! He had 7 shots on goal in the first period alone. However, he just could not get the puck into the back of the net. Caps fans did still get to celebrate, though. Here is how the first period shook out:
-Justin Williams scored his 13th goal of the season, assisted by Andre Burakovsky. Not to be outdone, TJ Oshie got one past Andrew Hammond for his 15th of the season. Oshie converted on the powerplay thanks to an assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
-Bobby Ryan was the first to be called for a penalty, being whistled for interference. This penalty would end up leading to the Caps second goal of the evening. During a face
off, Tom Wilson and Max McCormick get matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties with McCormick getting an addtional two minutes for roughing. Dmitry Orlov would also be called for a cross-check and Ovi got caught hooking.
-Caps lead 2-0
Oh Captain! My Captain…
With a few seconds left on the Ottawa powerplay, the Caps started the second period a man down. Just as the penalty to Ovechkin expired, Nicklas Backstrom got the puck and tossed it up to Ovi who was exiting the penalty box. As the crowd rose to their feet, Ovi shot the puck and PING!! He hit crossbar. A few more penalties were committed by both sides. The last infraction was by Mark Stone, who was called for tripping. Caps to the powerplay! You can feel it. This is it! In front of his home crowd, Alex Ovechkin blasted one past Hammond. There it is. NHL career goal number 500. The Verizon Center erupts!! Alex is swarmed by his teammates as the entire Caps bench empties onto the ice, nearly crushing a referee in the process.
History has been made. The Great 8 becomes the 43rd player in NHL history to score 500 goals and also the 5th fastest player to do so. You can breathe now…
Here is how the rest of the second period looked:
-Mike Hoffman got Ottawa on the board with his 20th goal of the season, unassisted. Zach Sill collected his own garbage to get his first goal as a Washington Capital and second of his career. Dmitry Orlov got his 4th of the season, assisted by Nate Schmidt. Closing out the second period was Alex Ovechkin and his 500th NHL goal. This was also Ovi’s 25th goal of the season.
-Dmitry Orlov was called for holding and Mark Stone was called for tripping.
-Caps lead 5-1
After a barrage of goals in the second period, my 7 year old godson decided to be the peanut gallery stating that “Otto-pilot is just not working…” As the third period commenced, you could see that this was still the trend for the Senators. A few minutes into the third, Tom Wilson decided he wanted in on the action and ripped one past Hammond. Not long after, Ovi decided “Why stop now?” and scored his second of the night. As the final minute wound down, the Caps faithful cheered and stood for a standing ovation to salute their beloved team. A fairly quiet period (on the ice anyways), here is how the 3rd looked:
-Tom Wilson got his 3rd of the season, assisted by Jason Chimera. Ovi scored his 26th goal of the season, assisted by Backstrom.
-No penalties called. Refs decided to let the boys play…
-Caps win 7-1
On the end of their lengthy road trip, which was finalized with back to back games, the Caps kept up with their winning ways. They are now 32-7-3 with 67 points. The Capitals lead their division by 16 points, and their conference by 13 points. Ovi leads the league with 26 goals and we all know, he will not stop there. Don’t forget, half off Papa John’s tomorrow and FREE WINGS at Chili’s.
Up next, the Caps have a well deserved three days off. Their next game is at home against the Vancouver Canucks at 7pm.
By the way, it’s John Carlson’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLY!!
Written By: Ashley Reid
Photos By: Brittney Marcum
Restart in Columbus
The team took off Friday to recover from their New Year’s Eve loss in Raleigh. They will have morning skate Saturday at Nationwide Arena and will play the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 pm. tonight. The Blue Jackets had a strong showing against the Dallas Stars serving up a surprising defeat at 6-3.
On Friday, the Caps recalled defenseman Ryan Stanton from the Hershey Bears and re-assigned Connor Carrick. Stanton played 54 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2014/15 and ranked fourth in hits and blocked shots for the team. This year for the Bears he has two goals and five assists in 28 games played. He also has 30 penalty minutes. He will bring a high degree of physicality to the game if in for the healing Carlson.
Beagle is having surgery according to Coach Trotz and has been placed on the injured reserve list. No timetable for his return.
John Carlson could be back in a few days, according to comments from Coach.
Brooks Orpik remains on the Long-term Injured Reserve list.
On the Bright Side
Standings: The Caps are first in the Metropolitan Division. They are first in the Eastern Conference. They are a close (1 point) second in the NHL. They have a healthy lead in the division and conference.
Team: Coach Trotz has molded this team into just that: a team that plays well together and that supports one another. It isn’t a matter of one shining star but of many who step forward to share the responsibility for winning.
Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 21 goals and is four away from 500 NHL career goals. He is fifth in the NHL.
Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (24). His 1.86 goals against average is second in the league. He’s got this! And backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence.
Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetzov are assist masters. Each has 22 assists and 11 goals. They are creating opportunities every shift for the top line to score while scoring themselves as well.
Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, and Marcus Johansson round out the top six with a fighting drive to get to the net and score. Williams and Oshie have 24 points and MoJo has 22.
Jason Chimera has notched 10 goals this season making him part of the six with double-digit goals. Although Tom Wilson only has two goals in his column, there is no denying the presence he brings to ice and the way in which he excites the team and the crowds. The hole on this line clearly is Jay Beagle, yet the team managed to fill the gap with Michael Latta and Zach Sill. Sill seems to be a great fit for now, regardless of which line he plays.
Andre Burakovsky finally broke through and scored a goal during the game in Buffalo. The fourth line, with Brooks Laich and Michael Latta looked strong on Thursday—each with shots on goal that came close to getting around the net minder.
Defense: The loss of John Carlson could be seen on Thursday. Carlson brings something more to the game than just the 27 points he is carrying—he brings real leadership too. It is less clear what coach will do with the partnering of defensemen and the temporary replacement of Carlson on Saturday. They were not all that the team needed on Thursday and hopefully they will get back in the groove and hopefully Carly will return strong and healthy against Boston.
Blue Jackets Watch
This is second meeting between the teams this season. In October Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie scored two goals ending the match 2-1 Caps. The Blue Jackets see this as a ‘must win’ match as the team on the bottom of the standings chart struggles to save face. They played a physical game against Dallas with 29 hits and one roughing penalty by Rene Bourque (18).
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was activated and removed off Injured Reserve list. The Russian Vezina Trophy winner last played December 8 and has a .918 save percentage. The Jackets have won 30 of 51 games with Bobs in the net.
Left wing Scott Hartnell (43) leads the team in points with 15 goals and 14 assists. He has two goals in his last five games.
Left Wing Brandon Saad (20) holds the second team leader slot with 14 goals and 13 assists, with three goals and three assists in his last five games.
Left wing Nick Foligno (71), the team’s leader in goals and points last season is not performing as strongly this year; however, he has stepped things up recently with one goal and six assist in his last five games.
Center Brandon Dubinsky (17) has four assists in his past five games.
Holtby, with 125 career games won is four games away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.
The Caps have a scheduled day off on Sunday. Practice is likely to be held Monday at Kettler.
Tue Jan 5, 2016 Capitals Bruins, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS
Thu Jan 7, 2016 Capitals Islanders, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS, SN360
Sat Jan 9, 2016 Capitals Rangers, 1:00 PM CSN-DC, SNE, SNO, SNP
Photos by Brittney Marcum
From practice at Kettler Ice Plex to the final horn at Verizon, the Washington Capitals played today like a team that wants to keep on winning. And win they did. They soundly beat the Montreal Canadiens—the Atlantic Division’s first place team 3-1. With this loss, the Habs slip to second place in their div. Not too shabby a day.
In the beginning of the game, Jay Beagle had a nice chance but could not put the puck in the net. Then Evgeny Kuznetsov deflects a Nate Schmidt shot and the Capitals are on the board first at the 6:45 mark of the first period.
Tom Wilson and Jarred Tinordi drop the gloves at the 12:12 mark, receiving matching five-minute majors. Then, after Daniel Carr goes to the box, the Caps’ second power play chance was better than the first but alas no goal.
A little roughing occurred when P.K. Subban expressed displeasure with Jason Chimera. Jay Beagle, with a beauty of a goal, doubles the Caps lead 1:30 into the second period, 2-0 Caps.
This bring Chimmer’s season goal count to 10 and the number of Caps with double digit goals to six.
But 24 seconds later, Carr got the Habs on the board, 2-1 Caps. Later in the period, Nicklas Backstrom went to the box for slashing on P.K. Subban and there was question of if Subban embellished. He did not get a penalty but Caps fans would boo him for the rest of the game.
11:15 into the third period, Jason Chimera sped by the Habs and put one past Condon, Caps up 3-1. We even saw our first “embellishment” penalty when Montreal’s Paul Bryon took a dive on Brooks Laich’s interference penalty. There was much chatter on Twitter about this one!
Before the period was over Alex Ovechkin would take a puck to the forearm but all is believed to be well with him. Hit by a shot from his teammate Matt Niskanen, according to CSN-DC.
The Canadiens pulled Mike Condon for the extra attacker with 2:21 left in the game; however, it didn’t help them. The Caps extend their winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens.
The three stars of the night went to: Jay Beagle, Tom Wilson, and Nate Schmidt.
Salute to our Military
Tonight the Washington Capitals honored retired Colonel Richardson for his service.
Written by Renee Garces
Photos by Brittney Marcum
Photos by Brittney Marcum (BAMitsBrittney93)
The Caps have again entered into a pattern of lose one, win one. This season we have seen two good winning streaks, one of five games and one of six games. The good news is that they have yet to lose two in a row, one of only two teams left in the league to do so.
We are nearly half way through the season and the picture is much improved over the 2014/15 season. Last season they took at least two games to bounce back to a “W” and by and large, their winning streaks were only three games long with one four-game streak.
However, if the Caps hope to hold onto their Metropolitan Division lead, they need to break the cycle of back and forth in the ‘W ‘and ‘L’ columns. They need a few more consistent winning streaks to maintain their lead over the New York Rangers. At a minimum; they need to retain their new strategy of not losing two in a row.
The top three Metropolitan Division teams are neck-and-neck and the tide could shift if any of the teams change their current winning models. The Rangers are only two points behind the Caps and having a harder time coming back from their losses. The number 3 team in the division, The Islanders, are three points behind the Caps and they too are up and down—often taking a couple/three games to get back to a win. As Isabelle Khurshudyan reported earlier today, the Caps have the distinction of being the only team in the Metro to only loose one game before coming back with a win.
These are all good things, for now…