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: Ovi and Sid Square Off on Wednesday Night Hockey

michael banner 2This was the game I circled on my calendar when the schedule came out. The Washington Capitals will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on my birthday and we all would like nothing more than a win! For the first time since we took over the steps on Cinco de Mayo, the Penguins are coming to town. It is sure to be an electric atmosphere tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is at 7:30. Read on for everything you need to know about this game. Continue reading “The Pregame: Ovi and Sid Square Off on Wednesday Night Hockey”

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”

Formidable Four

Seventy-eight games down, four to go. The Caps have four games left before people judge this season. In their final four games, the Caps won`t have any easy ones as all four teams are battling for playoff position.

First, the New York Islanders Tuesday, April 5 7 p.m. EST

In what may be a potential first round playoff series, the Islanders sit two points out of third in the metro with one game in hand on the Penguins, but only two ahead of the Flyers for the second wild card spot. They also only sit three points ahead of Boston but have two games in hand on them. The Caps will need to come out strong at home against a fighting Islander team.

Second, Pittsburgh Penguins  Thursday, April 7 7 p.m. EST

The Caps will face the Penguins in what will be a hard fought game. The Penguins will look to lock up second place in the metropolitan division. The Caps will look to show that the 6-2 defeat in Pittsburgh last month is nothing more than a bad night. This will be a fun game to watch as both sides will have something to show.

Third, at St. Louis Blues, Saturday, April 9 8 p.m. EST

The Blues will look to solidify second in the Central, if they haven’t already by this point. In the final regular season road game, the Caps will look to play a hard and tough game like they will need to in the playoffs. By this point, the Caps may know who they will play in round 1 and if that is the case, look for them to finalize their round 1 line up.

Last up, Anaheim Ducks, Sunday April 10, 7:30 p.m. EST

In what is the make up game from the snow storm back in January, the Caps will close out the regular season at home. The Ducks currently sit 1 point out of first in the pacific and will know their fate by this game. The Caps on the other hand, may not. The Flyers and Islanders also play on this day. In that game, the loser may be coming to D.C. If Justin Williams plays in the three games leading up to this game, this will be his 1,000 career game.

In these final four games, look for the Caps to finalize their line up for round 1 and for them to try and help Holtby break the single season wins record while trying to prevent injuries. Enjoy these final four games of a historic season.

Caps Panthers Pre-Game Notes: All You Need to Know

DON’T FORGET: It’s a 7:30 puck drop tonight. Watch on NBCSN and listen 106.7

Your printable reference for tonight’s #CapsCats game.

With a 35-8-4 record returning from the All-Star break, the Caps will soon begin a series of games against Western Conference leaders—most who they have yet to play this season.

No Alex Ovechkin tonight: suspended for skipping the All-Star Games.

No Marcus Johannson.

Sill in for MoJo
The Panthers have clawed their way up to the top and will be coming in from Nashville after a weekend of that highlighted the talents of Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo. They lead the Atlantic Division with a 29-15-5 record.

Al Montoya will get the start in the net tonight. He is 7-2-1, .929)

Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points (34 with 8 goals & 28 assists).

Jagr follows with 33 points and sits behind Riley Smith (16g) with 15 goals. (BTW: Kuzy did score on Luaongo during the Games)

Caps Forward Lines

Galiev (49) Backstrom (19) Oshie (77)

Burakovsky (65) Kuznetsov (92) Williams (14)

Chimera (25) Richards (10) Wilson (43)

Laich (21) Sill (23) Latta (46)

Defensemen Parings

Alzner (28) Niskanen (2)

Schmidt (88) Carlson (74)

Orlov (9) Chorney (4)

Goalies

Braden Holtby (70) Philipp Grubauer (31) **

** Expected in the net tonight.

Injury List

Marcus Johansson joins the injured list having left the Flyers game early with an upper-body injury. He did not skate with the team on Monday or Tuesday. He is considered day-to-day.

Brooks Orpik skated with the team during morning skate for the first time in ages. This is a good sign friends! Sounds like he is on the mend. He has missed 33 games.

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Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another couple weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He continues skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 11 games.

 The Panthers Projected Lineup

Forward Lines

Huberdeau (11)Barkov (16)Jagr (68)

Jokinen (36) Trocheck (21)Smith (18)

Howden (42) Bjugstad (27) Shaw (48

Thornton (22) MacKenzie (17)Knight (53)

Defensemen Pairings

Campbell (51) Ekblad (5)

Kulikov (7) Gudbranson (44)

Kampfer (3) Petrovic (6)

Goalies

Luongo (1) Montoya (35)**

** Expected in the net.

Injury List

Savard, Bolland, and Mitchell

Flyers and Caps Back After the Blizzard

PUCK-DROP IS 8:00 PM TONIGHT!!!

The Washington Capitals return to the ice after being snowed out of two games (Anaheim and Pittsburgh)  this weekend. The Flyers missed their game against the Islanders and then proceeded to lose to the Bruins on Monday.  The Caps have won their last two games while the Flyers have lost their last three. This is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Caps remain in the solid lead for the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. With 46 games played they have 73 points, technically three points ahead of the Blackhawks with 70 points. The Hawks have played 52 games so the Caps have a lock on first place going into the break.

Michal Neuvirth is the projected goalie for this match, the second this season between Washington and Philadelphia. Read our column from January 25 about Neuvy and his journey from DC to Philly. He was reportedly moving slowly after the Monday game but has said he is fine at practice on Tuesday. Steve Mason missed his second day of practice following “maintenance day” on Monday.

Injury Report

Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play on Wednesday.  He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.

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John Carlson looked solid this morning

Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.

Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.

Caps Roll Call

Braden Holtby, who leads the league in wins (30), is expected to be defending the crease on Wednesday. His 2.01 goals against average ranks third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence. He has had to step in for Holtby in recent games.

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That is one happy Holtbeast

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the stars of the game against the Blue Jackets. Nicky had three shots that brought two goals for the team while Kuzy had four assists that contributed to the team’s 6-3 win. We can expect more WOW moments from both these guys on Wednesday.

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Nicky zeroed in on the bench before practice

It’s hard to single out potential stars for Wednesday when this is a team in which everyone contributes to its success. Keep an eye on Jason Chimera, simply because…he is amazing!

Extra Photos from practice:

Upcoming Milestones

Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and with this game passes Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.

Nicklas Backstrom with three goals will pass Kelly Miller (162) for the 12th place of Capitals goals scored

Flyers Watch

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers in overall points (37) with 14 goals and 23 assists. He was scoreless against Boston on Monday; however, he has tallied two goals and two assist in his last five games.

Jakub Voracek has been leading the team in the past five games in points (5) with one goals and four assists.

Wayne Simmonds was the first star of the game against Boston, despite the loss. He had nine shots with the two goals scored by the Flyers. Keep a watch on him in the scoring zone.

Coming Up:

Jan 27  Morning Skate at 10:15 am

Jan 27  Philadelphia at 8 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 2   Panthers at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 4   NY Islanders at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Photos by Brittney Marcum