The Capitals Gave Me and Allie a Birthday We’ll Never Forget

michael banner 2CAPITAL ONE ARENA – Me and my friend Allie have had some memorable birthdays from high school through our Radford days but not even our 21st could top what happened on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. The Capitals came through and defeated the Penguins 2-1 thanks to T.J. Oshie‘s heroics but it was also a total team win with Alex Ovechkin getting a power play strike and Braden Holtby practically standing on his head. The whole day was incredible.  Continue reading “The Capitals Gave Me and Allie a Birthday We’ll Never Forget”

The History of The Capitals Penguins Rivalry

Tonight we are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. To most of the NHL the Penguins are infamous for their players and their cup wins. To us they’re infamous for Sidney Crosby and the times we have played against each other in the playoffs. I’m going to dive into the history of the rivalry. This is a different type of article than I usually do. Warning about this article it may hurt a bit.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins were founded in 1967 and Capitals in 1974. The rivalry however didn’t start until we met for the first time in the playoffs in 1991 in the Patrick Division finals. The Capitals won game 1 but lost the other 4. The Penguins then won their first stanley cup against the Minnesota North Stars in 6 games.

 

The year after the Penguins and the Capitals played in the second series against the penguins. We led the Penguins in a 3-1 however the Penguins won 3 games straight and won the series. The Penguins later went on to win their second Stanley Cup against the Blackhawks in 4 games.

 

In 1994 the 7th seed Capitals played against the 2nd seed Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. We beat the Penguins 4-2. This was first and unfortunately only time we have beaten the Penguins in the playoffs. We however lost the New York Rangers a round later.

 

1n 1995 the Penguins unfortunately took back our pride in the first round of the playoffs. We held a 3-1 lead and then the Penguins scored in overtime to win game 5 and won both game 6 and 7. The Penguins were then taken out by the New Jersey Devils 4-1 the round later.

 

In 1996 we played the Penguins again in the first round. We were leading 2-0 and then the Penguins came back and won the next 4 games. The Penguins later lost in the Conference finals against the Florida Panthers 4-3.

 

We didn’t met the Penguins again til 2000 the 7th seed Penguins played our second seed Capitals in the first round. The beat us in 5 games. The Penguins then were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in the second round.

 

ln 2001 we met the Penguins in the first round. We lost to the Penguins in 6 games with an overtime goal. They lost later against the Buffalo Sabres in the conference finals. This was the last time the Penguins had would make it into the playoffs until the 2007 playoffs. We made it into the playoffs after that until the 2004 playoffs.

 

We then got lucky and got the first round pick off 2004 and picked our star Alexander Ovechkin. We were all so excited to see Ovechkin play in the NHL and then a bit of bad news happened, we were locked out. The Stanley Cup wasn’t given to anyone that season nor was the President’s trophy or the Calder trophy. The Penguins got the luck of the draw and picked Sidney Crosby. This made the rivalry grow stronger.
In the 2009 playoffs we faced of against the Penguins for the first time with Ovechkin and Crosby. We won game 1 and then the most legendary playoff game happened. In that game Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby scored a hattrick each. It was an incredible game we beat the Penguins 4-3. We then lost game 3,4 and 5. In game six David Steckel scored an overtime goal taking us back home for game 7. Unfourtunatly we fell to the Penguins 6-2 in game seven and Crosby would win his first Stanley Cup in game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings.
In 2011 we met again in an important setting. Unlike the past games I’ve talked about it wasn’t on the playoff stage it was on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field during the Bridgestone Winter Classic. Former Capital (and current Penguin) Eric Fehr scored 2 goals and we beat them 3-1.

 

We met again in the Playoffs last year in the second round. We took Game one when Oshie scored a hat trick including a goal in overtime. We lost 3 games after that. We then played in game 5. We were down 3-1 and many fans had lost hope. We won the game 5 3-1 and moved elimination off a day. Unfortunately game 6 arose. This was the most intense game of the series. We were down 3-0 until Oshie scored at the end of the second. We then scored another two more goals taking it to overtime. Then this is the painful part (don’t say I didn’t warn you) 6:32 seconds into overtime Nick Bonino lit up the light. The Penguins went on and beat the San Jose Sharks in 6 games.
This is the history now lets move on to the future and win tonight!

Caps-Flyers: Everyone Expects  Intense Game

Coach said it Tuesday, there is a huge mental component to playing the game of hockey and the game against the Flyers has “been intense, so I don’t expect anything different.” We expect speed, hitting, fighting, penalties, and hopefully lots of SOG leading to goals on the board! Not only will the players need to keep their feet moving they will need to have their heads in the game for 60 solid minutes. Both teams are coming in off a loss and both looking to gain a solid spot in the Metropolitan Division.

The Flyers agree, writes the  Courier Post in Philly, and both will be fighting hard for the two points.

Trotz specifically called out Wayne Simmonds as one of the opponents to watch in the game. Philly.com quotes Simmonds as saying: “We owe them. We owe them something. They’re coming into our building, so we need to play a good game.” He too expects an intense game.

“We’ve reset the bar a little bit for ourselves in terms of expectations — that we can beat anybody, we can go on a run and be competitive every night,” general manager Ron Hextall — CSN-Philly

Caps need to be prepared for a tough time getting the goal past Steve Mason while the Flyers think Justin Williams, in addition to Braden Holtby could cause them some trouble, so says Philly.com today.

burakovskyLooks like Andre Burakovsky is back in tonight for the Caps. We’ve seen him fine tuning his craft at practice and Captain Ovi seems to be wishpering in his ear!

The expected lines for the Washington Capitals:
Sanford, Chorney, Connolly scratched. Grubauer goalie in waiting with Holtby in the net.

In case you missed it, Neuvy is out for several weeks and Steve Mason should be in the net tonight.

The expected lines for the Philadelphia Flyers:

 

Lines provided by Daily Faceoff

 

What Past Games Say About Caps-Pens Tonight

I am extremely excited for tonight as are most Caps fans and probably many Penguins fans. Last year we played them in the second round of the Stanley Cup In Game 6 they were leading by three then we rallied and went to overtime. But in overtime, our playoff demons came back and Nick Bonino scored six minutes and thirty two seconds into overtime.  Even thinking about it today breaks me. I

I decided to go back into the dark dark past of Round Two and look at the stats. During that round there was a goal difference. We both had 16 goals during the whole round. The returning players that scored the most on the Caps were TJ Oshie and the most threatening goal scorer on the Penguins was Phil Kessel.

This whole thing though is factoring out the game we played at the beginning of the season the pens won 3-2 in shootout. That is without their huge star Sidney Crosby, who was out with a concussion. 

That being said, the Penguins are good but have some flaws. Hopefully the players will remember the others weaknesses and the Penguins won’t find ours.

Caps Fans: Tips for Family Rivalries; When You Win and When They Win!

I find that there are three common hockey families:  

  • the families that just don’t care except for one person,
  • the families that are all huge fans of one team, and
  • then we have the one that my family fits under,the family rivalries.

In reality, the Capitals and the Blackhawks don’t have that much of a rivalry; however anytime they play my family goes all out. One time my sister and mom (the two Hawks fans) went to the game. The Capitals won so they came home to this:

lily-caps-shirt

Look, I get it wasn’t too nice and it was a sore winner thing, but she would’ve done that if the Hawks won. I’ve said before that if we played against each other during the Stanley Cup Finals “A house divided amongst itself cannot withstand.” We have talked about who would leave to protect our family from going crazy.

As long as I’m talking about family rivalry I must add the honest truth. I have family in Pittsburgh and they are Penguins fans. That makes the Penguins-Caps games that much better. I’ve been forced to wear a Penguins shirt. I had a photo of me taken wearing the shirt in which I was told to smile. Looking back it was hilarious because I’m very secure with how big of a Caps fan I am but back then it was humiliating

So, it is even more tense for me when we play the Hawks in a season game then when we play the Penguins in a season game. I know if we win then I get some serious bragging rights; but if we lose, I will face a day of terrible misery and humiliation. If we win I’m talking to my uncle about the game and bragging a bit.

Family rivalries especially when it’s within your immediate family are so much fun, here are a few tips.

If They Win:

  1. Don’t shy away and lock yourself in your room; then you seem like a sore loser
  2. A good comeback to something about how many Cups the Caps have won is “oh so original.”
  3. Let all the comments slide off your back.
  4. Most of all, don’t listen to a losing playlist and cry while that game might be important to you it has an 1.22% effect on whether or not your team make the most important games of hockey the playoffs.

If You Win

  1. Think about their feelings and how you will be treated if you lose
    1. If it’s worth it go ahead just don’t be surprised when you lose and they do the same to you
    2. If it isn’t worth it then don’t say anything
  2. Don’t celebrate like you won the Cup. Unless you did. But don’t overdue it. In the season, that’s 1/82 games and in the playoffs there are generally more rounds or at least more games to win.
  3. Once again if your family is like my family they are all like “oh we’re all crying into the Stanley Cup.” you can reply “oh how original.” because seriously I hear that insult way too much mix, it up once and awhile.
  4. Think about others feelings and if they need a hug then they need a hug. Losing can be tough.

Good Luck our Cold Places Friends!

Do or Die for the Caps in Game 5

We’ve been here before.

The Capitals are down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a series. Last year, Washington was up 3-1 on the Rangers in round two only to falter and lose in seven. In 2014, the Penguins had a 3-1 lead on the Rangers in round two only to lose in seven. Two of the last three Stanley Cup Champions have come back from 3-1 series deficits.

It’s not impossible but it’s not easy either.

Continue reading “Do or Die for the Caps in Game 5”

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!

Islanders Out for Revenge…Tom Wilson a Target?

Origin of the Rivalry:

It’s no secret there is a rivalry between the Caps and Islanders but could the Isles be out for revenge? During game four of the first round of playoffs last season Tom Wilson delivered a big hit on Islander’s Visnovsky that ended his game. After the game words were doled out from both sides. John Tavares the Islanders captain warned Wilson “We can also hit guys like that”, Kyle Okposo flat out said “He’s (Wilson) an idiot”.  The Isles may have thought Wilson’s hit was a dirty one but Visnovsky is just 5’10, 192 lbs compared to Wilson who stands 6’4, 215 lbs. A height/ weight differential like that is sure to leave some bumps and bruises after any hit. “It was a hard, clean hit”, Trotz said. Tom Wilson is a great hockey player that happens to be able to throw incredible hits and fights to stand up for his teammates. His current PIM sits at 96 with 2 goals and 11 assists.

Preseason Words:

These two teams met once in the preseason that resulted in a 3-1 Caps win. Everyone had a feeling this would be a physical game but Wilson was more focused on his game. This became apparent when Tom Wilson refused to take on Eric Boulton during the match because he said there was “no point.” Quite possibly one of Tom’s best quotes, “I just don’t think there’s any point in me fighting those guys. He didn’t play at all last year. He’s probably not going to play at all this year

Today’s Fighting Words:

Before the game the teams were obviously asked about the rivalry and Ryan Strome had this to say, “There’s no question that for whoever watched the series there’s bad blood.” Matt Martin seemed to be more even keeled on the situation before the game, “They have a big physical team and we have a big physical team.” Trotz said it will be a “playoff feel” and we agree. Tune in to see what comes of the rivalry tonight at 7:00 on CSN.