Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win

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”

John Carlson Wins Hardest Shot Competition

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Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals, at least in the case of defenseman John Carlson, finally won something on Friday night. Although it doesn’t officially end their current seven game winless stretch, Carlson stole the spotlight in the Hardest Shot challenge at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition at SAP Center in San Jose. It’s been a long time coming for Carlson and in 2019 he finally was voted into his first All-Star game.  Continue reading “John Carlson Wins Hardest Shot Competition”

Caps Defeat Rangers in OT Before Falling to the Panthers in a Shootout

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What a weird schedule. Back-to-backs, then a few days off. Repeat. This week the Caps had a more favorable scheudle with two games at Capital One Arena. First the Capitals hosted the New York Rangers on Wednesday Night Hockey. Then on Friday, Washington hosted the winless Florida Panthers.  Continue reading “Caps Defeat Rangers in OT Before Falling to the Panthers in a Shootout”

Preview: Capitals Host Rangers on Wednesday Night Hockey

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michael banner 2It seems like de ja vu. For the third Wednesday in a row we are back in Chinatown. This time it’ll be the New York Rangers taking on the Washington Capitals as two Metropolitan Division rivals meet for the first time in this young season. This game will be the first of four meetings between the defending champs and the Broadway Bluehsirts this season. The Caps look to end a two-game losing streak against a young and rebuilding Rangers hockey club. Puck drop from Chinatown is at 7 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.  Continue reading “Preview: Capitals Host Rangers on Wednesday Night Hockey”

Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season: #10 A Comeback to Defeat the Rangers

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Having Caps hockey withdrawals? We’re always here to help! Introducing a new weekly series where Friends in Cold Places writer Michael Marzzacco takes a look back at what he believes were the Top 10 moments of the regular season. Additionally, sometime down the road, Michael will rank his Top 10 moments of the playoffs so we can relive all the glory that comes with winning the Stanley Cup.  Continue reading “Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season: #10 A Comeback to Defeat the Rangers”

Holtby With One More Shutout Over NY Rangers: Game Photos

The Washington Capitals finally came home after a long road trip. They faced the NY Rangers–albeit a “less-than” version of the team. The Verizon Center had all the energy of a playoff game as fans ready themselves for the run for the Cup. Oh, and the goal tonight was not just to win but to also clinch first place, i.e., the President’s Trophy, otherwise known by many the Caps Playoff Curse.

watermarked2(2017-04-05-2116)Nate Schmidt was in for John Carlson. Otherwise everything was pretty much the same, with Braden Holtby in the net opposite Henrik Lundqvist.

The first ten minutes seemed to fly by with a lot of puck passing and three SOG for each team. Hotlby had a couple of fancy saves. With a little more than five minutes left in the period the Rangers came to life and fired off a quick four shots bringing their total to eight. in the remaining five of the period there was an amazing bit of passing by Ovechkin which got everyone at Verizon and home excited! But that was all…

The second period would bring the Caps their first power play but they gave it up with a penalty of their own. No scoring by either team on the four-on-four. Rangers were called on a penalty again but still not goal for the Caps. Caps would go on another power play with a whole bunch of shots leading to a goal by their GR8 Captain – OVI!! 1-0 Caps, finally.

Just as we thought we might doze off, Evgeny Kuznetsov scores with a lovely wrist shot, taking advantage of a great opening in front on Lundqvist. Oh and it was the second assist for Marcus Johansson. It looked like Nicky Backstrom would have a goal but it looked like his skate so they waved it off. The remainder of the period was respectable play by both teams with the Caps maintaining the edge and another shutout for Braden Holtby. 2-0

Capitals will head off to Boston Saturday and return on Sunday to play their final regular season game at home against the Florida Panthers.

Oh and before we forget–yes with the win they also claim the President’s Trophy and the number one spot and home ice advantage in the first round. And we aren’t putting any weight behind the curse nonsense…

Photos by Mel Abernethy

 

 

 

 

It was a Special Kuzy Top-Flipping and Friends Photo Night 

Photos by Mel Abernethy

Seems like every Caps game of late we have had at least one memorable moment in the game, outside of scoring. Saturday night it was Evgeny Kuznetsov who brought us this unforgettable moment:

Yup, we love us some Kuzy:

Ok, there were some other players on the ice too, after all we did score two goals before the Rangers took over.

We had some reason to celebrate but even Loud Goat couldn’t get the Caps energized enough to take back the lead. Next game is against the Oilers Wednesday at 9:30. Lets hope we get back to winning.

The Capitals Fall to The Rangers

Tonight’s game against the New York Rangers was an energy-packed 60 minutes, despite the 2-4 loss, both on the ice and in the stands. It’s to be expected with a rivalry like this one, to find hard hits in the game and aggressive cheers from the fans, both for the Capitals and against. Before regulation, referee Kelly Sutherland was honored for his 1,000th game with a team-signed stick from the Rangers and a team-signed jersey from the Caps, as well as a Tiffany crystal. Dmitry Orlov’s sick hit against Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche was also honored with a hilarious Stranger Things parody. Zach Sanford  found himself in the game, in place of Brett Connolly on the third line.

watermarked42016-10-22-2128 The first period saw a lot of action with two goals, first from Lars Eller, his first goal as a Capital, and then from Alex Ovechkin. After Eller’s goal, Justin Williams quickly scooped it up and brought it right to the bench to be saved. The first twenty minutes also featured two penalties, one from Karl Alzner for high sticking, and the other from Eller for slashing in an attempt to stop a breakaway goal from the Rangers. This didn’t stop the Capitals, though, as they were completely in control during both penalty kills. Defense was remarkable, both from the blue line and in their own zone, with plenty of blocked shots. Notable players in the first period included Nicklas Backstrom for his great offense and blocked shots, Sanford for his high energy, and Evgeny Kuznetsov for losing his helmet but continuing to play. Period ended 2-0 Caps.

As the second period started, momentum died down and the Capitals began to get sloppy. It took the Rangers scoring three times for the Caps to get their defense back together. Those goals were scored by Brandon Pirri, and Jimmy Vesey, who got two in the net. Mika Zibanejad, on the other hand, landed a double major when he drew blood on T.J. Oshie while high-sticking. Matt Niskanen drew a penalty as well for roughing when he gave a Ranger a good shove from behind. Overall, the second period was marked by the Caps allowing too many breakaways and getting too complacent with being in the lead. Second period 3-2 NYR.

The third period was an improvement for a while, but it wasn’t enough. Nate Schmidt was the star of the last twenty minutes, with some sick blocks, hits, and powerful shots. The energy returned briefly, but it quickly turned into sloppiness and the Capitals not taking as many shots as they should’ve. The loss was solidified by an empty net goal from Rick Nash with less than six seconds remaining.

Final Score: 4-2 Rangers 

Let’s hope the Caps bring their usual high-energy performance to Wednesday’s game in Edmonton.

Caps have the day off Sunday and return to Kettler for practice on Monday.

History Repeating: Caps Knocked Out of 2nd Round…Again

Was it a dream? Unfortunately it was not as the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team in the regular season, got ousted once again by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 in a overtime 4-3. This makes them 1-8 all-time in series vs. Pittsburgh.

The Caps have not been very successful in the playoffs since 1998, the first and only time they made the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Finals. Let’s take a look at the playoff history since then.

1997-1998 : Washington mows through the playoffs past the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators to get to the Eastern Conference Finals against Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps win the series 4-2 and get into the Stanley Cup Finals, where they are swept by the juggernaut Detroit Red Wings.

1999-2000; 2000-2001 : The Capitals made the playoffs by winning the Southeast Division two years in a row after missing out in 1998-1999. In the quarterfinals, they played the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won both series 4-1 and 4-2 respectively.

In the Summer of 2001, the Capitals went all in and traded three prospects to the Pittsburgh Penguins for five-time Art Ross trophy winner Jaromir Jagr. We all know how that went.

2002-2003 : After missing the playoffs the previous year, the Caps were in as a wildcard. Playing in the quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they lost the series 4-2 and then proceeded to not make the playoffs for the next four seasons (including the lockout).

In 2004, Jagr was sent to the New York Rangers. The Capitals ended this season 23–46–10–3, good for second to last in the NHL. With the NHL Draft Lottery, the Capitals won the overall number one spot over the worst team in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and chose a legend: Alexander Ovechkin.

2004-2005 : NHL LOCKOUT – NO PLAYOFFS

2007-2008 : After four seasons of no playoff hockey, the Caps hired Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. They proceeded to win the Southeast division and take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Quarterfinals. A hard fought series, the Caps went in with a new goaltender Cristobal Huet. After being down 3-1 in the series, the Caps made a valiant effort but lost the series 4-3.

2008-2009 : With Huet gone and Kolzig signing with Tampa Bay, the Caps signed free agent Jose Theodore as their goaltender. Trading off between Theodore and Semyon Varlamov, the Caps won the Southeast Division and were scheduled to play Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. For the first time since 1998, the Caps won the opening round series 4-3 before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the semi-finals.

2009-2010 : The Caps had their best season yet, winning the President’s Trophy with 121 points as the leagues best team. Behind Theodore and Michal Neuvirth, the Caps drew a pesky Montral Canadiens team with Jaroslav Halak in net. Halak stonewalled the Caps and sent the best team home in round one 4-3.

2010-2011 : With Varly and Neuvy trading off, the Caps locked up best team in the Eastern Conference with 107 points. They proceeded to take out the New York Rangers 4-1 but came up against a buzz saw in round two as the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Caps 4-0.

2011-2012 : Still unsure of the goaltender situation, the Caps signed Tomas Vokoun to a one year deal. After firing Bruce Boudreau part way into the season, the Caps hired former enforcer Dale Hunter to the job. They finished second in the Southeast and played the Boston Bruins, 2011’s Stanley Cup Champ. With Neuvirth and Vokoun both injured, Braden Holtby got his shot as starting goaltender for round one. The Caps had a hard fought series against goaltender Tim Thomas but Holtby and the Caps outlasted with 4-3. In round two, the Caps ran into the New York Rangers hot Henrik Lundqvist and lost the series 4-3. Hunter announced he was “stepping down” as coach.

2012-2013 : Another former Cap Adam Oates was named head coach before yet another NHL lockout occurred.

2014-2015 : After a dismal 2013-2014 season, the Caps fired Adam Oates and General Manager George McPhee. They introduced new head coach Barry Trotz, formerly of the Nashville Predators. Getting the team to buy in to his philosophy, Trotz and the Caps gave Braden Holtby the reigns to the starting job and finished second in the newly crowned Metropolitan Division. They played the New York Islanders in round one and won that series 4-3. In the second round, the Caps played familiar foe the New York Rangers. Behind Lundqvist, the Caps lost the series 4-3.

2015-2016 : The Caps have a record-breaking season, finishing with 120 points, the most wins by a Caps team in history (56) and the President’s Trophy. They come up against a pesky Philadelphia Flyers team that came back in the series after the Caps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series. But the Caps put them away 4-2 and went to the next round. Playing their nemesis from Pittsburgh, the Caps faltered and went down 3-1 in the series before forcing a Game 6 and losing the series to the Pens.

It has now been 18 years since the Capitals have gotten past round two.

So what next for the Capitals? First you have to decide what you want to do to the team: a total rebuild or address your needs in certain areas, like a scoring forward and better defensemen on the backend. Whatever the decision, the team has nearly four months to think about it and get ready for pre-season in September.

(Stats Courtesy of NHL.com)
Written by Christopher Johnson, Photos by Brittney Marcum

Caps-Rangers: Pregame Line Projections

 GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 47-12-4

New York Rangers: 37-21-6

Watch on NHL and listen on 106.7

 At his post-morning skate today, Coach Trotz said he had no plans to change the line for tonight. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t change them during the game!

Caps Forward Lines

Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie

Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams

Chimera Johansson Wilson

Beagle Richards Galiev

Defensemen Pairings

Alzner Niskanen

Orpik Orlov

Schmidt Weber

Goalies

Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer

Injury List

John Carlson (lower-body injury)

Nate Schmidt (lower-body injury)

 The NY Rangers have indicated that Henrik Lundqvist will be not be the net tonight.

New York Rangers

Forwards

Kreider Stepan Zuccarello

Miller Brassard Fast

Lindberg E. Staal Hayes

Glass Moore Stalberg

Defensive Pairings

McDonagh Girardi

Yandle Klein

McIllrath  Boyle

Goalies

Antti Raanta  backed up by Magnus Hellberg 

Injury List

Rick Nash and Marc Staal