Capitals and Flyers Set For Sunday Afternoon Game (Update)

The Capitals will be on home ice as the Philadelphia Flyers join them for their final matchup of the regular season. The Caps have played the Flyers three times this season, winning all three games. A win Sunday will be the second time ever the Caps have swept the Flyers,

Fans can watch the game at 12:30 pm on NBC. Continue reading “Capitals and Flyers Set For Sunday Afternoon Game (Update)”

The Pregame: A Rematch in Hollywood

michael banner 2The Washington Capitals continue their season-long six-game road trip with the second half of the stretch Monday night at Staples Center where they’ll take on the Los Angles Kings. These teams actually met one week ago at Capital One Arena with the Caps coming on top 6-4. Since the win, which ironically capped off a season long homestand of six games, the Caps have gone 1-2-0 thus far on the trip.  Continue reading “The Pregame: A Rematch in Hollywood”

The Pregame: Jay Beagle Returns to the District

Tonight will be an emotional night for Caps fans as they welcome back a center who brought a blue collared work ethic on the ice and a good heart off the ice. Jay Beagle was an integral part in the Capitals success. In 10 seasons, he played 471 games finishing with 116 points (51 goals and 65 assists). It ended in the best way possible, hoisting the Stanley Cup. Continue reading “The Pregame: Jay Beagle Returns to the District”

The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened

michael banner 2When I think of Las Vegas, Nevada two things come to my mind: magic shows and the place where our hockey team, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night, the Caps and the Vegas Golden Knights will square off inside T-Mobile Arena for the first time since that June 7th night and there will be a whirlwind of emotions for the players, coaches and fans.  Continue reading “The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened”

A Sweet Road trip- A Photo Gallery

This weekend we took FiCP on the road yet again to our favorite Pennsylvania destination- Hershey! The Outdoor Classic between the Bears and Phantoms was set for Saturday the 19th on the coolest stage in Hershey; Hershey Park Stadium. We had such a blast and are thrilled to share some awesome photos from the weekend!

Prior to the game there was a fanfest which included signings by some of our favorite alumni!

 

Before the game began we caught some of the boys playing a little soccer or football on the field.

 

It was a littttlleeee bit chilly as you can tell:

 

The pomp and circumstance during the Bear’s entrance was so exciting and made you forget the temperatures even if just for a moment…

 

We must say though, the Phantom’s jerseys were a sight to see… we’ll let you judge for yourself.

But perhaps the most entertaining part of the evening were the mascots!

MeLVin the Phantom’s mascot was on and off “battling” with Coco the Bear’s mascot:

Inside The Caps Opponent: Jaccob Slavin

As the Caps head into Hurricane city to try and exact some revenge for a loss last night in DC, they are facing a very good young D-core that Carolina has built to shoulder the team for next few seasons.

While Faulk and Hanifin are the flashy names , to me it’s Slavin that is the glue guy holding it all together. Drafted in the 4th round in the 2012 entry draft, Carolina was hoping he would develop and now they have been getting a lot of value from the 120th overall selection. With size and mobility this guy is the prototypical NHL defenceman and arguably has been Carolina’s most complete player on the blueline this season.  He can skate and move the puck with ease and while he doesn’t share the point totals as his numerical counterpart (74) on the Caps, he does share some similarities. Maybe not the most physical player back there, but he tends to get the job done.

An excellent penalty kill guy as well, watch for him to try and contain the Capitals dynamic power play and block shots which he has no problem doing. He was the National College Hockey Conference’s rookie of the year as a freshman at Colorado College in 2013-14.

In Washington we know all about underrated players with Nicklas Backstrom leading that list, but in my opinion, Slavin is one the most underrated defenceman in the league. Playing in Carolina with Justin Faulk has something to do with it, but the Caps see the Canes enough to know this guy is the motor turner.

Go Caps Go

Caps-Pens Renew Playoff Rivalry in Game 1

Alex Ovechkin has one simple request for fans and the media: don’t make this about Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby. The Caps face off against their arch rivals from Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the first time since 2009, when both Sid and Alex scored hat tricks in Game 2 of the series. Caps friends will remember having a 2-0 lead only to see the Pens win three straight. On the verge of getting knocked out, Washington took game six to overtime where they won 5-4 to force a game seven. That game the Caps were never in the building as the Penguins crushed them at Verizon Center 6-2 to win the series and, eventually, the Stanley Cup.

Play Your Game

OK Caps fans. Breathe. We reached the second round after a tough first round series with Philly. The positives you take away from that series are the play of Braden Holtby and how Alex Ovechkin was in beast mode. They’ll need this and more as they take on a team that easily dismantled Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers four games to one with their speed and efficiency on the Power Play.

  • The Capitals Power Play is 29.6% and penalty kill is a league best 95.8% for the playoffs.
  • Braden Holtby has played Vezina Award winning hockey throughout the playoffs. Thus far he is 4-2 with a 0.84 GAA, .968 save percentage and two shutouts.
  • Players that need to boost their play in this series: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky.
  • The Capitals are 1-7 all-time in Stanley Cup Playoff series (19-30 overall) against the Penguins. The last time they beat them in a playoff series was 1994 when the Caps won four games to two.
  • Injuries: Defenseman Brooks Orpik is listed day-to-day but is looking likely to start the series.

No Fleury, No Problem

The Penguins have had to deal with a lot of injury issues. First, Evgeny Malkin was deemed out for the first part of the Rangers series. He has since made a triumphant return with two goals in Game 4. Then Marc-André Fleury has been battling concussion symptoms for more than a month, leaving rookie Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff as the Pens only options. Murray has been stellar in his rookie season, coming into the Ranger series and winning three straight games while allowing four goals.

  • The Penguin Power Play is a phenomenal 38.1%, tops in the league for the playoffs. Their penalty kill is 89.5%.
  • Rookie netminder Matt Murray is 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA, .955 save percentage and a shutout.
  • Sidney Crosby leads the team with three goals, five assists.
  • Injuries: Goaltender Marc-André Fleury (concussion, day-to-day); Forward Beau Bennett (undisclosed, day-to-day); Forward Scott Wilson (lower body, IR); and Kevin Porter (ankle, IR)

Your starting goaltenders will be Braden Holtby for the Caps and Matt Murray for the Pens.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. on CSN.

ROCK THE RED and GO CAPS!

Caps Look to Close Out First Round Series at Home

We’ve been here before Caps fans. Up with a huge lead in a series but then the other team starts winning. What makes it different this time is the Caps had a 3-0 lead and were going for their first sweep in a seven game series in their 42 year history. It wasn’t meant to be.

The Caps also had to deal with former Cap goaltender Michel Neuvirth, who brought his A-game and survived a vicious third period push. Now Washington comes home to Verizon Center where they hope to finish off this pesky Flyer team who look like they want nothing more than to cause injuries.

Finding Their Inner Rocky?
The Flyers came out in game 4 as a desperate team but also a smarter one. Not taking as many penalties and frustrating the Caps between the blue lines, they played like the team that made the playoffs that people thought would be a challenge. They won the special teams battle, scoring their first power play goal of the series and keeping Washington off the board in that department. To win game 5, they are going to have to do more of the same in a hostile, loud environment.

  • Neuvirth saved 31 of 32 shots in his first game starting in the playoffs. He was named first star of the game.
  • Wayne Simmonds recorded his first points of the series with an assist on both goals.
  • Forward Scott Laughton flew into the end boards fighting for possession with defenseman John Carlson. His back or the back of his head made the hardest contact, and he laid motionless on the ice for several minutes before a stretcher came out to take him off. He appeared conscious as he was removed from the ice. He spent overnight at Jefferson Hospital for observation. His status for game 5 is unknown.
  • There were a few questionable hits not called for penalties: Brayden Schenn’s attempt to cross-check Kuznetsov’s knees; Tom Wilson checked in the head by Brandon Manning. Both of these had “intent to injure” written all over them.


Getting the Four
With only four power plays between the Caps and Flyers, the chance to score came at a premium. The Caps played like they had “a few games in hand” and never had the intensity we saw in Games 1-3. By the time the Caps snapped out of it in the third period, Neuvirth swatted away any challenge they gave him. They outshot Philly 13-4 in the final frame.

“Every series is about getting the four. We need to get the four,” coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “The sooner you get the four, it gives you a couple opportunities to rest guys, heal guys (and get) a little mental break from the pressures of playoff hockey and a little more time to prepare.”

What Trotz said rings true and that is the mentality this team needs to have. Close this series out and get the four.

  • T.J. Oshie scored the Caps lone goal (his first of the playoffs) and his sixth overall in his playoff career.
  • Holtby still played solid saving 23 of the 25 shots for a .920 save percentage. His overall stats in four playoff games thus far: 3-1, 1.00 GAA, .966 save percentage, 1 assist.

Your starting goaltenders Friday will be Braden Holtby for the Caps, Michel Neuvirth for the Flyers. Puck drops at 7 p.m. in D.C.

ROCK THE RED! GO CAPS!

Caps Finish Three-Game Road Trip in Arizona

Washington Capitals (116 points)

Arizona Coyotes (75 points)

The Washington Capitals finish their three-game road trip by visiting the Arizona Coyotes.

Not Without a Fight

The Coyotes have been eliminated from playoff contention but that won’t stop them from playing. They have a tough five games remaining against teams that are all making the playoffs. This will go a long way in determining the fight this team has and the areas they need to improve in order to contend next season.

  • The 19-year veteran Shane Doan leads the team with 26 goals and 18 assists. Oliver Eckman-Larrson leads the team with 31 assists.
  • Center Marin Hanzal is listed as day-to-day with a hand injury sustained in their 4-1 loss to Dallas.
  • Goaltender Mike Smith (14-11-1) with a 2.69 GAA and .915 save percentage will be your starter after missing a lot of games due to a lower body injury. He was 4-2 in March with a 1.50 GAA and a .953 save percentage.

Closer to the Record

The Capitals locked up the President’s Trophy, Eastern Conference and Division in the regular season this past Monday with their 4-1 win over Columbus. Braden Holtby is inching closer to Martin Brodeur’s regular season win record (one shy of tying, two of breaking) but is having similar issues. Wins get tougher to come by the closer you get to the record. Here’s hoping with five games remaining, he can grab three wins and get some much needed rest.

  • Center Niklas Backstrom was scratched from Friday nights game with an upper body injury. Since the Caps have already clinched everything, don’t be surprised if you don’t see him play against Arizona as a precaution. Marcus Johansson will take over centering duties.
  • Goaltender Braden Holtby may start if he’s closer to the regular season record. However, since it’s back-to-back games, I think we will see Philip Grubauer (8-7-1) 2.30 GAA and a .920 save percentage in net.
  • The Capitals return home Tuesday for two straight home games against the Islanders and Penguins, then a road game in St. Louis followed by the season finale at home Vs. the Ducks (rescheduled due to the snowstorm in January.)

Saturday late night hockey in the desert. GO CAPS!

Pregame Coyotes Visit Capitals

GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 43-10-4

Arizona Coyotes 27-25-6

After a hot and cold game on Saturday, the Washington Capitals are back on the ice at Verizon Center to face one of the lowest ranking teams in the league, the Coyotes. Washington is the first stop for the Glendale team on a five-game road trip. The Caps have won their last three games and eight out of their last 10.

Coyotes

The Coyotes have had an up and down season. They fell to St. Louis  in a 6-4 loss with goals scored by Shane Doan, Kevin Connauton (his 3rd), and two by Max Doomi. They are an unpredictable team for the Caps to face.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the team in points, with seven in his last five games. He suffered an injury in Saturday’s game and it is not clear if he will be in on Monday.

Shane Doan leads with goals (22) with three goals and an assist in his last five games.

 Capitals

On the Caps side of the ice, the Coyotes will be facing an unpredictable team in which any player could fire off the scoring shot. In the last game nearly every player had a shot on goal and every player is there to support the other.

Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the Caps in points (60) and assists (43).

Alex Ovechkin leads in goals (38) and continues to inspire the team to excel.

Kuzy, Ovi, Brooks Orpik, Dmitry Orlov, and TJ Oshie had a remarkable night against the NJ Devils on Saturday. The defensemen of the team have stepped up their game but they can still improve their protection in front of Braden Holtby.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle: Yes, he is improving and skating now with the team, but he isn’t quite ready yet.

 

Stats from Hockey Reference and NHL.com