In a Tough Game, Capitals Beat the Blue Jackets by 2-1 (SO) and Holtby Wins “Duel” Against Bobrovsky

In a direct fight for the NHL lead, the Washington Capitals hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The game also marked the clash between two of the greatest goalies in the present-day NHL: Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky. Holtby is the current Vezina Trophy winner and both are contenders for this year and thanks to them, the game was scoreless after two periods. However, the regulation and the overtime weren’t enough to unveil a winner between these elite NHL teams.

Before the puck drop in the District, Alex Ovechkin became the first player in NHL to wear custom-painted skates. The customized skates were for the Russian Heritage Night and they had the American and Russian flag. Ovechkin planned to auction them to raise money for the American Special Hockey Association. He wanted to play with them, but his request was denied by the league.

The first 40 minutes had no goals. Wilson and Anderson got a matching minors. The Capitals had three power play opportunities, but didn’t capitalize any of them, keeping the game scoreless. Holtby and Bobrovsky were the greatest names during two periods, it would change in the 3rd.

watermarked28(2017-03-23-2152)Just 41 seconds was enough to break the tie: Seth Jones made it 1-0 to Columbus. Some minutes later, defenseman Dmitry Orlov honored the Russian Heritage Night and tied the game again, now with goals, in 1-1. It was his sixth goal this season and his first goal in 11 career games against Columbus.  Since then, the Caps could manage to create good scoring opportunities and creating some pressure, but the regulation would end tied, just as the overtime.

In the shootouts, T.J. Oshie was the first one and converted, as the usual. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom were stopped, but Braden Holtby stopped all the three shots from Columbus and deservedly was named the First Star of the Game.

And one more thing before we close- Braden Holtby was terrific in the net tonight. Even when his lid went flying and he bounced back, shaking those locks of hair and smiling at the ref. We vote Holtby for the Vezina and just for the most hysterical goalie in the league to watch.

Check back with us on Friday for the complete photo gallery.

Are You Ready for the Capitals Russian Heritage Night?

Thursday at Verizon Center the Washington Capitals will celebrate the heritage of some of our most colorful players: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetzov, and Dmitry Orlov. We thought we would share some of our favorite photos of these guys in preparation for the night.

Ovi took Washington by storm when he arrived in 2005 after signing a $124M contract for 13 years. Though he hasn’t brought home the Stanley Cup yet he continues to break records in the NHL and in the Caps franchise. As much as we love his playing, we love all those great smiles and other odd faces we catch at practice and during games. You’ll see that just like Alex, our skill with the camera has grown since we started taking pictures in 2010.

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Dima is the ‘quiet one’ – except we know he is a bit of a prankster too. Just look at that mischievous face of his. Orlov plays defense for the Caps and has been kind of up and down in his stats. We get that he is inconsistent, but when he is good – he’s really good. He told fans last year that he was really working on his english so it will be interesting to see if there is more confidence in how he speaks–and in his game as we head to the playoffs.

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But when it comes to charisma and those goofy looks –  Kuzy tops all the rest. From day one he has been great about meeting the fans. This year has not been as great as we had hoped but we have no doubt that he will bring it in the playoffs. Simply put, we love us some Kuzy.

 

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And though he may be in Hershey now, we just had to include our old friend Stan Galiev. No matter where he plays he will always be one of the our favorite Russians! watermarked photo 2 (2016-03-16-1148)

From Russia with Love: Kuzy, Dima, and Stan

Season Ticket Holders were treated to a rare private session with three of the Washington Capitals four Russian players in honor of Russian Heritage Night at the Verizon Center Tuesday night. The boys were in great moods coming off a night in which Alex Ovechkin, on an assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov, scored the game winning goal in overtime. Jovial doesn’t even come close to explaining Kuzy’s mood!!

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They talked about the difference in playing in the NHL and the KHL–mostly the size of the ice. Kuzy said one difference is how loud Verizon Center gets. In Russia the rink usually holds about 7,000 people compared to the 18,000 in DC and he said it is so much louder here. And they love it. He said, “we feel the fans, how they are feeling” when they are playing. They draw energy from the crowd – so keep being loud friends!!

They all spoke about the difficulty in coming to America and  learning the language. Dmitry said he knew no English when he came and ultimately hired a tutor to help him learn. Stan, who came to the US when he was 16, had a much harder time, in part because he was so young.  When asked if the non-Russian speaking players are learning Russian or if they are learning Swedish, Kuzy giggled and said “only the swear words. We can’t say in locker room because they all know”

They also agreed that one of the hardest things about living here is being away from their family and friends. Orlov said he typically goes home for a couple months during the summer just to be with his family and see friends. Kuzy spoke about his mother and father and how difficult it is for them to change their routines by living in the DC area. That said, he talked lovingly about his mother’s cooking and that when she is here the day starts with a big breakfast, then a lunch, then another lunch…someone loves his mother’s cooking!!

There were more personal reveals too. Asked what their favorite thing to eat at home after being in America was, Kuzy’s first word was “vodka.” Then he explained what a great cook his wife was–grinned that grin we are all used to by now and said again: “vodka.”

Dima and Evgeny told the crowd that one of their favorite memories was of the Buffalo and the World Juniors Game when they beat Canada in the final. Stan said his best memories are of leading the Saint John Sea Dogs to capture the Memorial Cup in the 2010-11 season.

And then there was Canada. As Stan tells of Kuzy calling a local restaurant to make  reservations for five at 7 pm. The person on the other end of the line said it was not possible–too late to do on a Saturday night. So Kuzy asked if it would make a difference if one of the five was Alexander Ovechkin. The reply? “Five with Ovechkin available any time!”  There IS power in the Ovi name!!

It was a great 30 minutes with some of the most talented players in the league. All of them, for their accomplishments, were pretty humble and completely hysterical. One can only imagine what happened when they were in Los Angeles…but apparently no one is talking!!

Thanks to the Caps and our Russian boys for a great evening.