Where to See the Caps this Week

Now that the Capitals are back from their road trip, fans have a chance to catch them this week at practice and a home game Tuesday February 26 against the Senators, before they hit the road again.

Tickets are available through the Caps and fan resale one Ticketmaster.

Capitals Kickoff Season with Hat Trick, An Amazing Goalie, and a 5-4 Shootout Win!

IT’S HOCKEY TIME!!!!

The Washington Capitals are back on the ice, playing their first game in Ottawa against the Senators.  It was quite a night in Canada as the Caps settled into the changes to the roster. With five new players on the team, they are still adjusting to the loss of key players like Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson.

The night began on a couple of somber notes with a remembrance of those who lost their lives in the horrific events in Las Vegas this past Sunday. The moment was followed by and acknowledgment of the death of former Capitals coach and Senator General Manager Bryan Murray (1942-2017) and a moment of silence to honor the hockey legend.

How it Went

From the moment the puck hit the ice, you could tell it was going to a different kind of game than what we saw in the preseason. More speed and more determination. It matters now! This looks like a team that is starting to come together, with everyone stepping up. There were some glitches with the defense; however, we are sure the more they play together the better they will become.

It took about seven minutes into the first period for the Senators (Chris Wideman) to score on Braden Holtby – he just couldn’t see the puck to stop it. Brett Connolly took two minutes to answer back with a power shot from Lars Eller into the net. The Caps were the first team called for slashing – Lars Eller to the sin bin. And then we had a holding by Aaron Ness. Thankfully the Sens failed to convert on the man advantage. Period end tied 1-1.

The pace seemed to slow down a bit in the second period.  And again, about seven minutes in the Caps defense (with Carlson) failed to defend a runaway Senator with the puck; 2-1 Sens. (Mark Stone) Penalties continued for the Caps with Tyler Graovac for tripping and then Ottawa forgot how to count the men on the ice and the Caps were on a power play.  It looked like Alex Ovechkin had a goal but the ref called a high stick and washed out the goal . We disagree…

The third period didn’t start off too great for our boys. Holtby was snaked by the Sens as his defense (Niskanen and Orlov) failed to make it to the net in time to help. 3-1 Sens. (Brassard) It didn’t take long for the GR8 to get on the board with his first goal of the season. GO OVI!! 3-2 Sens

  • But that wasn’t enough for Ovi – in about 40 seconds he came in for a second goal, with assists from Vrana and Kuzy.  Now tied 3-3
  • And it seemed almost as quickly the Senators (Stone again) pulled ahead again on a turnover from Smith-Pelly. Ugh. 4-3 Sens.
  • Never to be underestimated: Ovechkin comes in at the 10:48 mark to tie it up and get his 18th hat trick of his NHL career.
  • Holtby had some awesome saves this period – we think he has shook off the last of the off-season rust.

The third ended in a tie, forcing an overtime. Unfortunately Kuznetsov was called for a holding penalty and he reluctantly headed to the box and a four-on-three power play for the Sens. Holtby and the PKers held the Sens off. Back to four-on-four It got a little rough with Carly even losing his helmet. Neither team scored so we go to…

The Shootout. First up Ottawa, one in by Ryan. Oshie hit the post. Turris up and Holtby blocks that one. Ovi goes up against Craig Anderson and ties it up. Brassard for Sens doesn’t connect. Kuzy for the wins SCORES!  5-4 CAPS 

Caps fans were pretty impressed with Jakub Vrana-the Ovi line looks good with Vrana.  Kuznetsov was great – he is all over the ice and not afraid to protect the net if needed. Ovi and Vrana had five SOG each–Ovi had three goals and Vrana two assists. Kuzy had two assists – but no SOG.  We think this might work!

Caps will meet the Senators again on 22 November and 27 February–both games in DC.

Don’t forget the Caps home opener is at 7 pm at the Capital One Arena. And there is the annual Red Carpet event before.

GO CAPS

Caps, Preds, and Mutual Disdain for Penguins

Preds Loss is Like Losing All Over Again

The Penguins had a celebration parade today after the Nashville Predators had to suffer through the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisting the Stanley Cup in their own arena. We felt their pain after watching the Washington Capitals lose to the Pens in game seven in our home. People we have talked with said they felt sick after the final round–mostly because there was a sense that the NHL handed the Pens the Cup by overlooking penalties and unfairly penalizing opponent teams.

Maybe its sour grapes here in Washington. Maybe we are jealous of the Pens ability to outplay the Caps. Maybe we want to believe our players are better then the Pens players and we would never stoop to their tactics to win. And maybe we are tired of the Ovechkin-Crosby comparison that the NHL and NBC use to boost ratings and hype a sport that doesn’t bring in the money that football does. 

Simply put, the NHL Playoffs left a nasty taste with almost every hockey fan that isn’t following the Pens. There is no underestimating the physical game that the Pens play. They are brutal on the ice as they move with speed from one end to the other, plowing through anyone in their way. This brutality is frequently called ‘dirty’ by anyone not from Pittsburgh and fair play by anyone who loves the Pens. And you can’t overlook its three primary players: Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

Unfortunately, most of the playoffs focused on Sidney Crosby, in positive and negative terms. His behavior detracted from the skills of Pens’ players and their coach. The NHL loves its Canadian-born player and have elevated him to near sainthood. NBC and its affiliate sportscasters, seem to drool over just the mention of his name. Every game starts with a discussion of his greatness and no matter who else is on the ice, their first shots are always of Sid the Kid skating onto the ice. No other player in the league is more adored by the NHL and NBC, which leaves most of the rest of the hockey fan base a bit nauseous. From what the rest of us hear, Sid can do no wrong and even if he does, well…he is the best don’t ya know?

It seems Crosby, and maybe even the Penguins, have their favorite targeted players. That person who the Pens want to undermine and get out of the game. Crosby personally seems to have a rival or some level of animosity with every team and that was pretty apparent during the playoffs. It includes Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Ovechkin, Erik Karlsson, and PK Subban.

In round one it took the Pens five games to eliminate the Blue Jackets. Brandon Dubinsky has been known to “get under the skin” of Crosby who is known to retaliate or take the first stab but we didn’t see as much of that in this round. Instead, much of the post- round analysis focused more on coaching style and the inability of Sergei Bobrovsky to stop the puck. In the final game of the round, a game-tying goal by the Jackets was waived off and they were instead given a penalty for interference. This caused some ire with CBJ fans as Sidney Crosby would go on and score thus leading the team to a 5-2 finish over Columbus. The playoffs; however, came down to one goalie outstaying the other and one team outplaying the other–in this case it happened to be the Pens.

The Pens went on to face the Capitals in round two. The Pens knocked the Caps out of the playoffs the previous season so revenge was already in the air. We all know how much the Pens dislike Alex Ovechkin and his flamboyant style of play, but in this round the contempt was even more heightened. There was a point when it felt as if the Caps and Pens were back at the Winter Classic when an on-ice collision ultimately led to a concussion diagnosis for Crosby.  This time in a freak play in front of the net, Crosby fell and as Crosby went lower, Nisky’s stick wound up hitting Crosby in the head. Niskanen was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the ‘cross check.’ There were reports that Crosby suffered another concussion, his second in the season. Things got pretty nasty with Marc-Andre Fleury taping over former Pens’ Niskanen’s name on his helmet. The names were those that Fleury considered his favorite teammates.  Crosby returned to practice four days later and five days later for game five. Many wondered if he was back too soon or if he had actually suffered a concussion.  People watching were genuinely concerned that it was  and as a result there was a sense from the NHL and NBC that Crosby needed to be treated with kid gloves because of his frail condition. Every time Crosby landed on the ice NBC sports went into crisis mode that he might be injured again.

There were strange calls—like early whistles—against the Caps which gave the impression of favoritism. And let us not forget the infamous Nick Bonino dive which led to a high stick call against TJ Oshie. Even though the refs got it wrong, this time folks like Don Cherry called Bonino out for “faking” and questioned what was going on with the officiating.  The ensuing power play ensured a game four win for the Pens. In the end, the Caps suffered a second round two defeat at the hands of the Pens leaving the fans stunned and bitter. At this point, Caps fans became fans of #anyonebutthePens

Round three and fan hope turned to the Senators. Caps fans were ready for retribution and thought for sure the Sens would bring it. Crosby was in the midst of a scoring drought and the series was overshadowed with continual talk about Crosby’s frail nature. We kept wondering why he was playing if the Pens were really afraid he would be hurt or if this was just a mental game they were playing with the Sens. Erik Karlsson brought some comic relief when he mocked Crosby’s whining at the refs and his incessant whispering on the ice.

Matt Murray found his way back to the net when Fleury was pulled after game two, which changed much of the dynamics to the game as he stopped 123 of 130 shots. The Kessel, Crosby, Malkin threesome was in full force for this round but let’s face it; we were rooting for Craig Anderson to hold them back. He did stop 206 of 220 shots but sadly it wasn’t enough. The Sens fell to the Pens in game seven. Oddly, the NHL reportedly ‘censored’ a video of Karlsson telling Crosby he hoped he was healthy–after all we were all wondering at this point if he was playing injured and if the Pens were ignoring potential concussion symptoms. (YardBarker)

And then everything seemed to shift and become all about Crosby. The Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford complained that Crosby was receiving abuse at the hands of opponents. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was forced to address the charges and the allegation that the NHL allowed Crosby to play even though he had a concussion. Bettman pretty much blew it off, but not NBC sports. 

PK Subban became the player to hate by the Pens in the final round. He too is an equally tough, and sometimes considered ‘dirty’ player. He will do what it takes to score, and like Ovechkin, he does it with flare which drives the Pens nuts. In the first game, the Preds held off the Pens from shooting for 37 minutes of play (The Score). Caps fans were pretty excited and impressed and oh so hopeful that this signaled the end of the the Pens run.It was not to be, but it did give us another view of Crosby and the Penguins’ culture.

There were questionable calls that led to the refs calling back goals–which pretty much no one agreed with.

By game five things got pretty disgusting with regards to Crosby and the pass he seemed to have been given. First we had the slamming of Subban’s head into the ice. Any other player would clearly have been ejected and likely been suspended. Not Crosby–he got two minutes:

And then he threw a water bottle on the ice. He claimed it slipped out of his hand and went into his Mr. Innocent act. He got a pass while again, any other player would have received a poor sportsmanship penalty.

In the end, many believe that the playoffs were ruined by the behavior of the NHL’s ‘Golden Boy,” Sidney Crosby. He may well have extraordinary skill but his on-ice attitude leaves much to be desired. He is frequently viewed as a dirty player who gets away with things that would lead to the ejection of other players. He is unapologetic for his own behavior while frequently whining about his own treatment to the refs during the game and pouting after. He feigns innocence and gets away with it. We’re pretty sure every team in the league has some nasty Crosby story. Above all else, Crosby is the reason that no one outside of Pittsburgh is celebrating the Penguins second championship.

Going forward, the NHL really needs to review its officiating and determine how they can ensure more consistency between the regular season and the playoffs. They must do something give the fans the sense that the final round hasn’t been decided as soon as the playoff teams are announced. Clearly the NHL needs a superstar for promotion of the league. Perhaps it is time to find someone of Wayne Gretzky’s caliber who is above suspicion for his play and has the complete respect of the league.

The NHL Network has already decided that the Penguins will be the best team for season 2017/18 and are predicting a third cup in the row for them—with or without Crosby. The worst part of the next year will be that every team will be compared to the Pens and every captain or lead player will be compared to Crosby. And the Caps will constantly face a barrage of questions about playing the Pens and have their two-time loss thrown in their faces. This can go two ways for the Caps—it can demoralize them and beat them down. Or, if folks like Justin Williams and Nick Backstrom have any say in it, call propel them to play harder and develop a winning strategy over the Pens. Either way, it’s gonna be ugly for Caps fans every time we watch those playoff reals, watch Sid lift the cup, and live with the constant reminder that the Pens won the Stanley Cup.

 

 

Caps Fans Living Vicariously Through the Predators and Senators

There is a real quandary for hockey fans when their team is knocked out of the NHL playoffs. Do you stop watching hockey? Do you watch World Hockey and see how the players from your team do with their homeland team? Do you watch to see if the team that knocks you out, gets knocked out in the next round? Or do you turn off the TV and wait for October??

Many Caps fans have jumped on the Ottawa Senators bandwagon in the hopes that they will keep the Pittsburgh Penguins from making it to the final round. If you are watching, it has been a great series. It is hard for some of us to stomach the likes of Crosby, Kessel, and Malkin but there were great moments in the round. Like when Erik Karlsson made fun of Crosby’s penchant for ‘secret’ messages to his team–or himself?

There will be a Game Seven Thursday night at 8 pm on NBCSN. Sens goalie Craig Anderson has been having a great run–he is worth the watch. You might want to turn the sound off as NBC is still rooting for the Pens and Crosby…

And then there are the Nashville Predators. We feel a special affinity for the Preds. It is the team that Barry Trotz, cut his coaching teeth on. He was never able to get them past the second round of the playoffs, so like us, we were hoping they would break the mode. And they did!!!

We are so excited for this team to be heading to the final round. Yes, there is that guy that we traded who is playing (Filip Forsberg) which still leads to a lot of whining from some Caps fans. PK Subban was brought to the team from Montreal this season and clearly has been another factor in their new capabilities. Many fans are living vicariously through this team which mirrors the dream we have for our team.

The Stanley Cup final round will begin Monday, 29 May and could run as late as 14 June. It will air on NBC and NBCSN in the US and CBC and Sportsnet in Canada. The dates are as follows:

29 May
31 May
3 June
5 June
8 June *
11 June *
14 June *

*Games played if needed.

So what about you? Are you watching hockey? Are you in for the playoffs and if so, who are you rooting for to take hoist the cup??

Caps End 2017 14-Game Regulation Winning Streak in Loss to Ottawa

The Washington Capitals went to the Canadian capital Tuesday  to keep it’s 14-game point streak, but fell to the Ottawa Senators in Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. It was the Caps’ first regulation loss  this year.

Since 29 Oct. 2016, the Capitals didn’t know what losing looked like. In regulation, at least. During this 14-game point streak, the Caps have won two games against the same Senators, by 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.  Washington didn’t keep the rhythm and suffered a shutout loss by 3-0. The team had six power play chances, but didn’t capitalize any of them.

The Caps weren’t able to keep the deep-scoring, losing without scoring a single goal. Washington couldn’t count on it’s “sheriff” (as we say here in Brazil, the team’s reference in defense) John Carlson again, out with an upper-body injure.  Also, it was a tired team that won Carolina Hurricanes just one day before, in 6-1. Tuesday was the third time this season the Caps were shutout. Last game was an unusual one because the Caps ceded a shorthanded goal and a power play goal a few minutes later. The last time the Caps didn’t score a single goal was at 01 Dec. 2016, losing by the same score, 3-0, to the Islanders.

Anyway, tonight the Caps remain the league leader, since Columbus fell to the New York Islanders by 4-2. Also, the Capitals are still the best team in goals against, with 105 and 2.08 goals against/game. The league’s average is 2.72. Before last game, Washington was  the only team to remain a single-digit loss, with nine.

The Caps take on the New Jersey Devils Thursday – a team that is struggling this year. Let’s hope the rest will rejuvenate the Caps and get them back in the win column. Jay Beagle is back while TJ Oshie is out for personal reasons. John Carlson continues to nurse his injury. 

Start Strong; Caps This Week

Brandon’s Caps Look Ahead

This week, it is essential that the Caps continue to play better in the first period. In the last two games, Carolina and Pittsburgh, I thought the team played well in the opening frame compared to what we have seen in recent weeks. This week, the Caps need to continue that drive in the home stretch.

First up, the battle of the nations capitals as the Caps travel to face the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 Tuesday. The Senators are not likely to make the playoffs. The Caps should dominate them, but easy games do not exist at this level. I look for the Caps to come out angry after the horrible game against the Penguins on Sunday. The team needs to keep the “not losing in back to back games” streak alive.

If they win in Ottawa Tuesday, they will clinch the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference top seed.

Second comes the New Jersey Devils on Friday, March 25, 7:00. The Devils once held hope of making the playoffs, but when All-Star goaltender Corey Schneider went down with an injury, it all vanished. The Devils still play a heavy defensive game. When the Caps get chances, they will need to convert on them. This is game one of a back-to-back and the Caps will need the ability to run all four lines.

Third we have the St.Louis Blues on Saturday, March 26 at 7:00. Troy Brouwer will make his return to Verizon Center with the St.Louis blues who, as of today (Tuesday) sit two points back of the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central. The Blues are fighting for a playoff spot and will definitely come out strong. The Caps will need to be ready for a playoff team and won`t be able to “flip the switch”with this one.

The Caps need to continue to focus on gaining and keeping the lead. We are in the home stretch, it is time to show up or shut up.

Lets GO CAPS!!!!

Caps Look to Shake It Off Vs. Senators

Washington Capitals: 51-15-5

Ottawa Senators  34-31-8

Game time: 7:30 Tuesday

The Washington Capitals, at 107 points, first in the Metropolitan Division and first in Eastern Conference, travels to play the Ottawa Senators who sit at 76 points, fifth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in Eastern Conference. The Caps continue on their three-game road trip, having lost to the Penguins Sunday. This is the third time these two have met this season; the Capitals won the previous two in Washington 2-1 December 16 and 7-1 January 10. The Caps have secured their playoff spot and look to lock up the division and conference race this week. The Senators are struggling and sit seven points out of the final wildcard spot, currently occupied by the Detroit Red Wings. They’d really need to put together a run in order to challenge for a playoff spot.

Holtby, Caps Fatigued?
It was an ugly performance for Holtby against the Penguins, as the Caps lost in regulation for just the ninth time this season. The 26-year-old has allowed at least four goals twice in his last four starts, but he’s been playing at a Vezina Trophy level for most of the season, so it’s likely more of an outlier than anything else. However, a few games off here or there prior to the post season could do Holtby and others some good. Once they lock up the division, conference and President’s Trophy, I’m sure Trotz will start resting players.

The Caps sit second in goals per game (3.1), fourth in goals against per game (2.4), second in power play percentage (23%) and fifth in penalty kill percentage (84.1%).

  • Alex Ovechkin has recorded one goal in his last seven games. Ovechkin told reporters last week that the injury he sustained earlier this year continues to “bother” him. Even though he said he is “sore” he continues to play. He will likely earn some rest soon once they wrap up the division and conference.
  • The Caps continue to struggle in Period 1. In their last eight games, the Caps have been outscored 10-0 in the first period and have let the opponent score first in 15 of 18 games. Trotz is not too concerned about this but keeps shuffling lines to see if something will spark the team to get them out of their first period funk. However, he also said Sunday that he is “not letting anyone off the hook ” for their poor performance in Pittsburgh.


Time Running Out for Ottawa
With nine games remaining DSC_0224(18 possible points), Ottawa is certainly not out of the playoff race. However, the hill will be tough to climb as they have Carolina (76 points), New Jersey (77 points), Philadelphia (80 points) and Detroit (83 points) ahead of them. They will need a lot of help to grab onto the last wildcard spot.

The Senators are fifth in goals per game (2.8) but a dismal 27th in goals against (3.0), 26th in power play percentage (16.4%) and 29th in penalty kill percentage (75.4%). After a 5-0 win over the Canadiens on Saturday, the Sens will be pumped and ready to fight for two points.

  • The Sens can be expected to play for pride if nothing else. Their inconsistent season could make Tuesday night a surprising game, especially if the Caps are the least bit shaky.
  • Starting Goaltenders look to be Craig Anderson for Ottawa, who is 29-22-4 with a 2.80 GAA and .918 save percentage and Braden Holtby for the Capitals, who is 43-9-4 with a 2.26 GAA and .921 save percentage.

NOTE: Don’t be surprised if Trotz decides Holtby needs rest.  Philipp Grubauer would then get the nod in net. He is 8-6-1 with a 2.19 GAA and .924 save percentage.

Here’s hoping the Caps can snap out of their first period funk and score first for a change.

LET’S GO CAPS!

Written by Christopher Johnson

Caps Send Sens Home After Historic 7-1 Win

Celebrate good times, COME ON!

Everybody celebrate!

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The Washington Capitals came back home from a nail biting overtime victory in Madison Square Garden to take on the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center. After a beautiful save from Braden Holtby in conjunction with Nate Schmidt, Alex Ovechkin was all too happy to end the game on his own terms and bring the Caps home with the victory and 2 points. After scoring goals 498 and 499 in New York, everyone knew how important this next game could be to Ovi and Capitals history.

In the chase…
On the edge of his milestone 500th NHL goal, Ovi was shooting pucks galore! He had 7 shots on goal in the first period alone. However, he just could not get the puck into the back of the net. Caps fans did still get to celebrate, though. Here is how the first period shook out:
-Justin Williams scored his 13th goal of the season, assisted by Andre Burakovsky. Not to be outdone, TJ Oshie got one past Andrew Hammond for his 15th of the seasoIMG_5744n. Oshie converted on the powerplay thanks to an assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
-Bobby Ryan was the first to be called for a penalty, being whistled for interference. This penalty would end up leading to the Caps second goal of the evening. During a face
off, Tom Wilson and Max McCormick get matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties with McCormick getting an addtional two minutes for roughing. Dmitry Orlov would also be called for a cross-check and Ovi got caught hooking.
-Caps lead 2-0

 

Oh Captain! My Captain…
With a few seconds left on the Ottawa powerplay, the Caps started the second period a man down. Just as the penalty to Ovechkin expired, Nicklas Backstrom got the puck and tossed it up to Ovi who was exiting the penalty box. As the crowd rose to their feet, Ovi shot the puck and PING!! He hit crossbar. A few more penalties were committed by both sides. The last infraction was by Mark Stone, who was called for tripping. Caps to the powerplay! You can feel it. This is it! In front of his home crowd, Alex Ovechkin blasted one past Hammond. There it is. NHL career goal number 500. The Verizon Center erupts!! Alex is swarmed by his teammates as the entire Caps bench empties onto the ice, nearly crushing a referee in the process.

History has been made. The Great 8 becomes the 43rd player in NHL history to score 500 goals and also the 5th fastest player to do so. You can breathe now…
Here is how the rest of the second period looked:
-Mike Hoffman got Ottawa on the board with his 20th goal of the season, unassisted. Zach Sill collected his own garbage to get his first goal as a Washington Capital and second of his career. Dmitry Orlov got his 4th of the season, assisted by Nate Schmidt. Closing out the second period was Alex Ovechkin and his 500th NHL goal. This was also Ovi’s 25th goal of the season.
-Dmitry Orlov was called for holding and Mark Stone was called for tripping.
-Caps lead 5-1

TOUCHDOWN, CAPITALS!!

After a barrage of goals in the second period, my 7 year old godson decided to be the peanut gallery stating that “Otto-pilot is just not working…” As the third period commenced, you could see that this was still the trend for the Senators. A few minutes into the third, Tom Wilson decided he wanted in on the action and ripped one past Hammond. Not long after, Ovi decided “Why stop now?” and scored his second of the night. As the final minute wound down, the Caps faithful cheered and stood for a standing ovation to salute their beloved team. A fairly quiet peIMG_5732riod (on the ice anyways), here is how the 3rd looked:
-Tom Wilson got his 3rd of the season, assisted by Jason Chimera. Ovi scored his 26th goal of the season, assisted by Backstrom.
-No penalties called. Refs decided to let the boys play…
-Caps win 7-1

 

 

On the end of their lengthy road trip, which was finalized with back to back games, the Caps kept up with their winning ways. They are now 32-7-3 with 67 points. The Capitals lead their division by 16 points, and their conference by 13 points. Ovi leads the league with 26 goals and we all know, he will not stop there. Don’t forget, half off Papa John’s tomorrow and FREE WINGS at Chili’s.

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Up next, the Caps have a well deserved three days off. Their next game is at home against the Vancouver Canucks at 7pm.

By the way, it’s John Carlson’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLY!!

Written By: Ashley Reid

Photos By: Brittney Marcum

Caps and Sens Pregame Info

The Caps return to Verizon Center for the first time in 2016 and after a long five-game away stint. They have won the last three of those games and are looking like they are on another great streak. Much of the credit for the team’s success, as they shift around injured and suspended players, is Coach Barry Trotz. He has brought a positive attitude as they face each game with a fresh desire to win, which at the half-way mark is working.

No news yet as to who the net minder will be or if John Carlson is back. We’ll let you know when we know.

Ovechkin 500 Watch

It seems the whole world is watching and waiting for Alex Ovechkin to hit his next bit milestone. No doubt Caps friends will be holding their breath at Verizon Center to see if he gets that 500th goal. Load up your pictures and graphics now!! And bring those signs to the game.

Zach Sill is clear to rejoin the team today.

Paul Carey, up from Hershey played his first game with the Caps on Saturday

Goalie to Goalie

Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (26). His 1.93 goals against average (GAA) is currently third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer.

When last the Caps met on December 16th, the Senators, Andrew Hammond was in the net and unfortunately for him, the Caps got the better of him and they lost 2-1. The Hamburgler has been out much of the season after he was sidelined during an injury he sustained during practice. He has 3 wins in 8 games and a .927 save percentage. Goalie Craig Anderson is 16 for 32 when in the net with a .916 percent save record.

Senators Watch

The Sens fell prey to the unstoppable Panthers with a 3-2 loss on Thursday. They are 9-10-2 on the road which gives them half a chance of winning today. They come to DC straight from an overtime win in Boston.

Mike Hoffman is eighth in the league for overall goals (19). Keep an eye on right wing Bobby Ryan who just scored his 200th NHL goal. Defenseman Erik Karlsson has 43 points this season and leads the team as well as sits second in the league. There is a lot of buzz about him around the league; he had seven shots in the Boston game.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle had hand surgery Sunday, according to the Washington Capitals and has been placed on the injured reserve list. Up to five more weeks before his return. He has missed five games.

Coach Trotz indicated in his press conference that Carlson and Oprik could begin skating at practice soon and the hope is that they will also be back in the game soon as well.

John Carlson is still day-to-day but could be activated to play at any time. 

Brooks Orpik is on the Long-term Injured Reserve list for an undisclosed injury. He has missed 27 games and there is no timetable for his return.

Mike Richards while not an injury is not playing with the team yet. No date for his first game or if he will go to Hershey to get his feet moving again.

Suspension Report:

Marcus Johansson, who has been playing the third line center for the last several games, will sit out two games for an illegal head hit to New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey during the game on Thursday. He will be eligible to play January 14th against the Canucks at home.

More Milestones Coming:

Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 24 goals and is ONE away from 500 NHL career goals. He is fifth in the NHL.

Jason Chimera is four assists away from an NHL career 200 assists.

Braden Holtby, with 128 career games won is ONE win away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.

Michael Latta is two games away from a career 100 NHL/Capitals games played.

Next Games

Sunday Morning Skate: 10:15 at Kettler Capitals IcePlex CANCELLED

Jan 12 Practice at Kettler at Capitals IcePlex 1030 am

Jan 13 Practice likely at Kettler Capitals IcePlex TBD

Jan 14 Preskate likely at 1015 at Kettler Capitals IcePlex

Jan 14 Vancouver at home 7 pm CSN SN360 and 106.7

Jan 15: Caps likely to have practice before departing for Buffalo

Photos by Brittney Marcum