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.

Rocking the Hometown: Capitals Win all Four: Streak Totals 12

The Washington Capitals had a four-game homestretch and won all of them. In total, they’re 12 games undefeated at Verizon Center and 11 of those with five goals or more. The Caps won the first two games with shutouts, by 5-0 over the LA Kings and Carolina Hurricanes.  In the last two, the Capitals scored six goals for the win.

It’s important to note how the offensive and defensive players are doing their jobs. If a team wants great achievements, all of their members must work well and harmoniously. And the Caps have got that. The top-six and the bottom lines are scoring and adding points to their totals.

watermarked432016-11-17-0815The Caps are now the second team with the most goals at 192. Their rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are leading by 193. But the gap was even bigger last month when the difference was around 20 goals. The defensemen are still doing a great job, keeping the team as the one which suffered fewer goals, with 121.

The goaltending? Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer noted a shutout each. Holtbeast got his 14th straight win, tied for the second-longest by a goalie in NHL history.  In the season, Holtby has 29 wins, ranking third.  img_7194 The first place is tied between Sergei Bobrovsky and Devan Dubnyk.

In their last game against the Ducks, the Caps won by 6-4. With the first goal, scored by TJ Oshie, he recorded  400 points and Nick Backstrom, with the assist, reached 700 points. Backstrom is ranked second in points, with 60, tied with Sidney Crosby. The leader is Connor McDavid, with 61.

The Caps have reached an important mark. They tied a record with the Boston Bruins as the team in NHL history to score 5+ goals in 11 straight home games. The Bruins’ 1970-71 roster, which reached the record, featured three Hall of Famers: Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr and Johnny Bucyk.

The Caps head into bye week leading the NHL and as the only team to reach the 80’s, with 84. After, they head into a three-game road and the first foe is the Red Wings, at Feb. 18.img_7629

Grubi Shutout, Nine Wins, and Flyers Loss in Photos

Ok, lets keep this simple. The Philadelphia Flyers flew into Washington DC after a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday hoping to end the Caps eight game streak. It didn’t happen!

Here is proof that the Flyers were there: photos from pre-game skate.

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The Flyers stated with Steve Mason in the net. That worked pretty good, in large part because the Caps were having a hard time getting any shots on goal. That is until the second period when Andre Burkovsky, unassisted we might add, scored. By the end of the second period the Caps had 10 SOG to the Flyers 17. Caps also had four penalties to the Flyers two.

We aren’t sure what happened during the intermission but the Capitals jumped back on the ice determined to win and determined to get Grubauer his second shutout. They out-shot the Flyers 12 to seven and made each attempt count. Mason couldn’t keep up so they tried our old friend Michal Neuvirth. That didn’t work either.

Justin Williams scored with the assistance of Johansson and Kuznetsov

Matt Niskanen scored with the assistance of Ovechkin and Backstrom

Nisky decided to score again, this time with the help of Wilson and Beagle.

And just to sweeten the deal – Stick scored again, this time with the assist to Backy and Orpick.

And Grubi had 24 saves for for his second shutout!!

There is no way to adequately explain what was going on in the phone booth other than to watermarked92017-01-15-1325say that from the moment Nick Backstrom was honored for 500 career assists to the fan salute at the end–but we loved it!!

watermarked102017-01-15-1558The Caps took their ninth win and sent the Flyers back to Philly with their ninth consecutive loss on the road.

On the downside, John Carlson left the ice in the second period and it is reported he is suffering with a ‘lower-body’ injury. Lets hope it isn’t serious and he isn’t out too long.He is scheduled to travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Monday’s game, according to Coach Trotz.

And lets hope that whatever they are doing as a team — they keep on doing. They sure seem to be having fun now and so are we!!!

Caps Silence Hawks in Six Goal Shutout!!

What can we say about tonight? The Caps blew us away–we can only imagine what it was like in the Blackhawks locker room after Braden Holtby held off all attempts at scoring and the entire team came together to wow the crowd at Verizon.

We saw it during warmups–the guys just had that look of determination.

And then the scoring started in the first period with Jay Beagle followed by Nick Backstrom and Brett Connolly. Second period the Caps came out strong again with Tom Wilson finally getting on the board. And the Caps just kept firing away and playing off each other with TJ Oshie and Beags (again) scoring!!

watermarked42017-01-13-2147The Blackhawks were there – we have the photos to prove it! The Caps outshot them 34 to 24. It didn’t matter if it was Crawford or Darling in the net, they just could not keep the Capitals from scoring. There was a brief moment when it looked like maybe they had scored until Holtby pointed out the interference in front of him and the goal was overturned!

It was an amazing night.

Karl Alzner played his 500th game in a row! What an inspiration.

watermarked112017-01-13-2147Holtby earned his sixth shutout of the season. And he made it look easy!

Wilson scored a goal and had two assists.

watermarked22017-01-13-2231Schmidt and Burakovsky were on the assists and looked like they could have scored. It takes the team playing as a team.

Jay Beagle scored twice…we just love him!

We are excited for this team and the way they are pulling together. This is their eight straight win–a trend we can get behind.

 

Next up is Sunday and the Flyers. Let’s do our best to send them home win less too!

Game time has moved to 1 pm and the Caps will celebrate Nicky’s 500 point milestone.

 Photos by Mel Abernethy

Caps Beat Canucks, Star Wars Night Success 

This game was a little dull at points, making Caps fans wonder if this would be a night of celebration or another disappointment. As you know by now the Caps pulled out a 3-0 victory over the Canucks and Braden Holtby played a huge part in that. He was Stellar in net and looked more solid than in his past few appearances. Goals came from the likes of Ovechkin, Williams, and Wilson. Holtby earned his 25th NHL shutout,

Here are a few sights from the game itself:

Sharks Devour Caps’ Win Streak

Today’s 3-0 loss against the San Jose Sharks was all too painful, as the Capitals’ five-game winning streak comes to an end. What hurts the most, though, is that the Caps really tried. While they didn’t start out with much energy, the boys in red were seriously pushing themselves towards the end, but Jones and friends came out of the game victorious.

The first period was practically dead. Perhaps if the Caps had come out of the gate with more energy, the scoreboard would’ve read differently, but the first twenty minutes were nothing more than dull. It wasn’t until after a few nearly successful scoring attempts that the Capitals really started to wake up, and even then, it was sloppy. Passing was weak and no one was paying attention, and we were lazy overall. The penalty kill was fairly good, however, and Braden Holtby was a star player, as usual.

It was evident in the second period that Barry Trotz gave his team a good talking to during intermission, as they actually came out with a lot of improvements. The hits were strong, the energy was high, the power was there, and the Caps were taking their scoring opportunities. It just wasn’t enough, though. Soon enough, Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks and Brent Burns added onto it shortly after.

The third period was the most frustrating of all. The Capitals pushed and pushed, took every shot they could, and skated as fast as possible, but nothing was getting past Martin Jones. They never gave up and neither did the fans, chanting and screaming to motivate the Caps. The 3-0 loss was solidified, however, when Joe Thornton scored an empty-netter in the last few minutes.

There was one highlight of the night, though – the Capitals Bobblehead Election. All day today, Caps fans voted for the next bobble head giveaway, with the choices of Braden Holtby, Tom Wilson, or Justin Williams. The winner? Holtby, by a long shot. His bobblehead will be handed out on March 21 at the Caps vs Flames game to all in attendance. At least we have that to celebrate on this frustrating night. 

Capitals Night All About the Goalies!

The night started and ended celebrating the Caps amazing goalies. 

First fans joined Braden Holtby and his family acknowledging his outstanding season.


And it ended with Philipp Grubauer recording his first NHL shutout.


The Caps played better than the previous game against the Islanders. There was more energy. And the first line stepped up with Ovi scoring twice and Oshie one goal. 

And there was an incredible hip check by Dmitry Orlov that lit up Twitter. 

Watch for our photo gallery coming as soon as possible. 

Go Caps!!!  

Caps-Islanders Match Leads to Final Cuts

watermarked162016-10-10-0812

The Washington Capitals shutout the NY Islanders with Braden Holtby dazzling the crowd at Verizon Center with 24 saves. It was the last chance for the Caps management to view the team play before making the final cuts.

watermarked32016-10-09-0918Monday morning the Caps announced that Zach Sill and Aaron Ness had been placed on waivers and that Zach Sanford would grab the golden ring for the last spot.

During the game, Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller, Alex Ovechkin, and T.J. Oshie would all get the puck past Jaroslav Halak. watermarked222016-10-10-0812

 

And there was a little matter of Tom Wilson and Cal Cutterback. Cutterback took a shot at Brooks Orpik and Wilson thought it was a bright idea to retaliate. He and Cutterback got tossed as a result.

img_5397And then there was Jason Chimera who found himself playing for the Islanders after the Caps failed to offer him a contract. There it was a bit emotional and during the game there was some mostly good-natured jostling with old teammates and Chimmer even tossing pucks over the glass to make the youngest of his fans happy.

All-in-all, the preseason was a mixed bag with players off in Canada for the World Cup of Hockey and the evaluation of potential new players. The roster is set and all that is left is a trip to Pittsburgh to see the Pens raise the banner and then…

WE WILL ROCK THE RED on October 15 in Washington. More to come!

 

Who is This Matt Murray Who Is Stopping the Caps??

The Pittsburgh Penguins are riding a hot goaltender in the 2016 playoffs after starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion more than a month ago. A 21-year-old rookie goaltender named Matt Murray was called up from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has been a rock in net. He’s been in net since game 3 against the New York Rangers, replacing Jeff Zatkoff, and hasn’t looked back.

According to the Internet Hockey Database, Murray’s career began in his home country of Canada, where he played 40 games for the Thunder Bay Kings midget minor league team in 2009-10. Thunder Bay went to the 2010 OHL Cup with Murray recording a 2-1 record and a 2.67 GAA. In 2010-11, he was drafted by OHL team Sault. Ste. Marie in the second round (35th overall) where he played four seasons. He also played on the Canadian World Junior team in 2012, earning a bronze medal.

He was chosen as a third round draft pick by the Penguins in 2012. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he quickly developed into one of the top goalie prospects in the league. He recorded a record 12 shutouts in his first full AHL season and swept most of the AHL rookie awards in 2014-15. With Fleury under contract for three more seasons after this, one tends to wonder if they will make him or Fleury available if and when an expansion draft is called or make either one trade bait. I doubt Fleury or Murray want to be a backup.

Being a rookie netminder, he admires a lot of players, including Braden Holtby. He can get a little star struck when meeting players he idolized growing up. He also has no animosity from Fleury, as he took the young goaltender under his wing and helped him through some rough patches in the regular season. He has earned the right to stay in net even with a healthy Fleury watching on.

At 6 foot 4, he’s fairly tall for a goaltender. The more he sees, the better his play becomes. He’s a rookie so his puck play, especially when he passes from the net, could improve. His stats so far in the playoffs are mind blowing for a rookie: 5-1, 1.79 GAA, .944 save percentage and a shutout.

He’ll have an even bigger challenge Wednesday as Kris Letang’s suspension is definitely going to lead to more chances for the Caps.

Caps Shutout Flyers in Game One Victory

Playoff hockey time! The Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals went to battle with the 2nd Wild Card Philadelphia Flyers. The game began with a moment of silence for the passing of late Flyers owner Ed Snider.

First Period: Too Many Penalties

The Capitals and Flyers started their first playoff series in eight years. The theme throughout the first period was that the Capitals were shorthanded too often. Defensemen John Carlson (hooking) and Brooks Orpik (illegal hit to the head and interference) each spent time in the penalty box. Thankfully, the penalty kill and Braden Holtby were successful at keeping the Flyers off the board. The teams were scoreless after the first period.

Second Period: Captain America gets it Started! 

Evgeny Kuznetsov blocked a shot with his ankle less than three minutes into the second. The Caps’ power play did everything but score on their first opportunity. Halfway through the period, the Flyers did not have a shot on goal in the second. The Caps went on the penalty kill for the fourth time and were successful. Just 19 seconds into the Capitals’ third power play, John Carlson scored the first goal of the series. Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie collected the assists on Carlson’s goal. The Caps lead 1-0 after two periods of hockey.

Third Period: Beagle Seals the Win! 

The Capitals went on the power play less than three minutes into the period after there were too many Flyers on the ice. Sam Gagner got assessed a double minor for hi-sticking Brooks Orpik but the Caps were unable to get an insurance goal on the extended power play. Brayden Schenn cleaned out Mike Richards but no call. Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves with less than seven minutes left in regulation. With 3:24 left in regulation, Jay Beagle double the Caps’ lead. Johansson had his second assist of the night on Beagle’s fourth career playoff goal. The Capitals defeat the Flyers, 2-0, and Holtby’s third playoff shutout. One down, 15 to go.

As expected, a Capitals and Flyers series is fueled by the rivalry and is incredibly physical.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals are scheduled to practice at 11:30am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday.

Game: Game Two is on Saturday at 7pm at Verizon Center.