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.
The Washington Capitals have forged a special relationship with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Telos to raise awareness about US military families who have survived the loss of a loved one. One night a year, the Capitals host these families at Kettler Ice Plex to skate with a few players as part of a supportive community.
We first came to know about TAPS through the incredible support they provided to family friends, Courtney and Brooke. These two wonderful ladies have come through the other side and devote much of thejr time to help other military families heal and become part of this wonderful community.
On Thursday night Zack Sanford, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Oshie signed autographs, took tons of pictures with these special families, and more importantly, listened to their stories. It was an honor to witness this spectacular event and to talk with families and supporters of Taps and Courage Caps. It truly was a joyful night as spirits were lifted and this community did what few can–lift each other up and walk with one-another.
We hope we have honored those families with these photos and thank TAPS for allowing us to photograph them tonight.
If you would like to find out more about TAPS and how you can become part of the support system, please click here.
January 11 the new Caps Courage shirts and hats go on sale. We spoke with Telos about this year’s hats and they can’t wait for you to buy the merchandise in support of military families. This is the sixth season of Telos support to TAPS.
The New York Islanders made their first regular season trip to Verizon Center since being eliminated by the Capitals in round 1 of the playoffs last season. It was Military Night and Lance Corporal Josh Misiewicz, USMC, of the USA National sled hockey team, participated in the ceremonial puck drop. Also, the Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup, as did Taylor Chorney after battling the flu.
The Caps had a slower start and had trouble clearing the zone. The Islanders scored in the opening minutes of the game. The Capitals have now surrendered the first goal in the last six games, going 2-2-1 in the previous five. Nice passing from Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie blasted one past Halak. Thomas Hickey showed that the Islanders still have some ill will against Tom Wilson when he made a dirty hit on the Capital winger.
· Mikhail Grabovski scored his ninth of the season, assisted by Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic.
· T.J. Oshie scored his 16th of the season assisted by Nicklas Backstrom.
· Thomas Hickey for elbowing Tom Wilson.
SCORE: Game tied 1-1.
Second Period: Swede Scoring Streak
The second period started with a bunch of missed and blocked shots. Halfway through the period, both teams combined for one shot on goal. Then, Michael Latta got a breakaway but Islander goaltender Jaroslav Halak denied him. Halak also denied Latta on two following quality-scoring chances. The teams exchanged hard hits and chances at both ends.
· Andre Burakovsky scored his ninth of the season, assisted by Jason Chimera and Dmitry Orlov. Burakovsky now has a four-game scoring streak.
· Ryan Strome for hooking and Alex Ovechkin for Slashing.
SCORE: Caps lead Islanders 2-1.
Third Period: Ovi Time!
The third period was more of the second. There was big hits and quality scoring chances. The Capitals also blocked 33 shots and the Islanders 15. It is known that the goaltender is the best penalty killer. This was true in the final minutes when Braden Holtby denied the Islander game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation.
· Josh Bailey scored his eighth of the season, assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Brock Nelson
Good hard battle for two divisional points. Maintaining the lead of the bunched up Metropolitan teams (At the time this is being written, teams 2-5 are separated by 4 points) The Capitals return to a normal-ish schedule. No more extended breaks.
Practice: 11:30am on Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Game: 1pm on Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Written by: Renee Garces
Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy