Knights Inaugural Visit to DC- A Golden Experience

The Vegas Golden Knights visited for  the first time in the team’s existence and they did not disappoint.  If you have paid any attention to our posts of late you will know that we still have a huge empty space in our hearts where Nate Schmidt used to be. Today we were able to fill that void for just a brief period, and he brought friends.

Erik Haula #56

Deryk Engelland #5

Malcom Subban #30

James Neal # 18 (he threw the puck to this little man during warm-ups!)

David Perron #57

Marc Andre Fleury #29

William Carrier #28

And last but MOST CERTAINLY not least… our boy, Nate Schmidt #88 but #1 in our hearts…

The Suite Life at Capital One Arena

Wednesday our writer, Caitlin Manner, had some suggestions on how to avoid long lines at The Vault and in the process threw some shade at the Suite People. Little did she know our own Chris Cleveland was partying up a storm in one of them!!

Here is Chris’ take on his experience: Continue reading “The Suite Life at Capital One Arena”

We Like Winning Better: Caps Move onto Denver

Ok, there really isn’t anything good we can say about the Capitals-Predators game on Monday. So we have decided to focus on the positive aspects of the Caps, including winning against the Pens and Islanders. Lets hope they learn from their mistakes and come out crashing the net and shooting like nobody’s business in Denver on Thursday.

niskanen hiWe do want to welcome back Matt Niskanen who returned to the ice after missing 13 games with a hand injury. Unfortunately in his 20 minutes of play, he didn’t have too much to show for it except two minutes in the box for holding. You can tell from the following video that he was not feeling great about the game, for a number of reasons:

Looking back, the Caps played well against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winning against the Pens is always a boost to the team and to the fan base. And there were some great moments that night:

And then we had the shootout win against the Oilers. Now this wasn’t a fabulous game either with Dmitry Orlov scoring the only goal in regulation and TJ Oshie winning it in the shootout with the only puck in the net.

The Caps managed to hold back Connor McDavid to three shots and zero goals, so there was that! Ju Jhar Khair earned his second NHL goal and first of the season against the Caps; his error also opened the door for Orlov to score.

Braden Holtby (and to be fair, Philipp Grubauer) has been doing his darndest to keep the Caps in the game, he often looks alone when the opponents come crashing our net. He had 29 saves against the Oilers,

The Caps are still getting way to many penalties and Tom Wilson is involved in too many fights to actually be helping the team. Don’t get us wrong – we love Tom– we just want to see him play more then we want to see him sit.

We need to see more from Alex Ovechkin but the team can not put so much pressure on him to be the deciding factor in winning or losing. Ovi has 13 goals

Meanwhile, TJ Oshie is second in the league right now with power play goals (six) and he has a total of nine goals in 19 games, leaving us wanting a LOT more from him.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov (17), John Carlson (13) and Nicklas Backstrom (11) lead the team in assists. Odd that Nicky’s numbers are lower but great to see Kuzy and Carly producing so much for the team. Especially good to see Carlson looking more like the player we knew before his injuries and great the he is holding up with all the extra ice time with Nisky out.

With Niskanen back we hope to see the defense for the team step it up more. He is a great leader and encourager. We have some young guys who are finding their groove, especially Madison Bowey. Unfortunately, Christian Djoos left the game with an apparent upper-body injury. We should hear more at practice on Wednesday.

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The bottom line to all this is, we the fans like winning better. Who doesn’t? And we get that the Caps will loose a game here and there. What is disconcerting for us is that they are now 19 games into the season and they still haven’t found the missing identity Coach Trotz often refers to. And for us, that is his responsibility. We can’t help but wonder what is going on between the locker room and the ice. We just hope they rediscover their magic soon. For now, they are in a wild card place in the standings. It is still early friends, but we would fell a bunch better if they moved up a tad bit more in the standings. Are we right?

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Caps, Devils, and Camo (photos)

Twitter was full of comments about Thursday night’s Capitals and Devils game. Most frequently comment was along the lines of “zzzzzzzz.” But have no fear, our girls got some great photos before and during the game.

Shall we start with warm-ups? The boys were decked out in some snazzy camo sweaters in honor of our military.

Nate Schmidt was playing coy with the camera but we still captured that smiley face if his.

 

Tom Wilson the other hand never shys away from our lens.

And here is new guy Kevin Shattenkirk

Ok so we went through the first two periods with no goals. We blame that on the two goalies Braden Holtby and Cory Schneider

Alex Ovechkin continued his scoreless streak (five games no goal) but he did have three shots in goal. WM-107.jpg

The Devils gave it their best shot but came up empty in the end.

Rookie Jakub Vrana, visiting from the Hershey Bears, scored the only goal in the third period. wm-143

The match ended mercifully after 60 minutes with the Capitals 14th win at home (a new franchise record) and a seventh shutout for the Holtbeast!!

The Caps welcome  the Philadelphia Flyers to Verizon Center on Saturday. This is always a fun physical game. We’re pretty sure it will be more exciting!!

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

Caps Ground Jets with 3-2 Victory

On the 1st of November, the Washington Capitals played the first game of a home and home against the Winnipeg Jets. With Braden Holtby in net for the Caps and Connor Hellebuyck for the Jets, there was sure to be some stellar saves on both ends. The Caps defense needs to pay particular attention to rookie sensation Patrik Laine. The 18 year old already has six goals and two assists in his nine game professional career. This has to potential to be a great game!

In the first period, Alex Ovechkin had the games first penalty. The Caps captain was called for slashing. During the ensuing power play, the Jets were called for a penalty when Adam Lowry was called for tripping. There was 4 on 4 play for 37 seconds and then the Caps had their first power play of the night. Neither team scored on their respective power plays so back to even strength they go. Both net-minders standing tall for their teams and keeping the opponent off the board. Shawn Matthias was injured as he was held by Dmitry Orlov. Holtby kept the Jets off the board with some fancy moves and the Caps killed the penalty
successfully. Late in the period, Karl Alzner scored to give the Caps the lead. Caps go into the first intermission up 1-0.

In the second period, the Jets officially announced that Matthias would not return due to a lower body injury. Matthias hurt his knee as he fell awkwardly behind the net. Hopefully it is nothing serious and he will return to play soon. It was a pretty quiet period until 11:45 when Marcus Johansson scored off a great pass from behind the net from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Two minutes later, Orlov was called for slashing as the Jets got a step on the Caps defense and almost scored. Holtby made a great stop to keep the Jets scoreless and the Caps killed the penalty. Things got really interesting with two minutes remaining when TJ Oshie used his stick to scoot a puck away from the goal line behind Holtby after Holtby made a great toe save. As bodies piled up in the crease, the refs had initally waived it off but the play was under review with the NHL officials in Toronto. The call was upheld and the Caps maintained their lead, 2-0.

The Caps got a power play 1:14 into the third period when Kyle Connor was called for hooking. The Caps did not score, however. It stayed pretty quiet with a lot of back and forth between the two teams. With just shy of nine minutes remaining, the refs spotted another infraction. Justin Williams was caught hooking and the Caps were back on the penalty kill. There have been a lot of penalties in this game, even though they have been called evenly between the Caps and the Jets. The Jets power play was cut short when Tobias
Enstrom tripped Oshie. There was 4 on 4 play and that’s when the Jets finally got one past Holtby. Mark Scheifele got one in off a rebound. The Caps then went to an abbreviated power play, but that was for naught. The Jets seemed to play with renewed force after their goal. With 2:25 left in the third, Adam Lowry pots the goal that ties the game. With :30 seconds left, Jay Beagle squeaked one past Hellebuyck to give the Caps back the lead and to seal the victory.

Caps win, 3-2.

This was a much closer game than the score showed. The Jets peppered Holtby with 45 shots on goal and only two of those got through. The Jets have great offensive capability and are a solid team all around. There are very few teams that can keep a team off the scoreboard when they are hit with over 40 shots on goal. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby was definitely a huge factor in this game. However, having players like Jay Beagle, who fight until the very end, are what make this Caps team huge competitors. The Caps
are now 6-2-1 and won three out of their four road games in this swing through Canada.

The Caps next game is at home against Winnipeg. It starts at 7pm on Thursday, November 3rd. I know I will be there.  Will you?

LET’S GO CAPS!!

Why so Serious??? Photos Show Caps Wanted This!!

In the weeks since the Caps lost the chance to win the Stanley Cup there has been a lot of talk about their inability to close the deal. We have been watching this team at practice and have seen their drive during games. There is no doubt in our minds that the Washington Capitals took the challenge seriously.

It starts at the top and there is no one who wanted this more than the Caps’ Captain Alexander Ovechkin.DSC_0141 Even Wayne Gretzky said after meeting with Ovi,  “How much passion he has for the game and how badly he wants to win a Stanley Cup,” according to Alex Prewitt.

 

And then we have our favorite defenseman, John Carlson, who tied Ovi in goals and assists during their playoff stretch.CapsPens Gm 1-88

Following their elimination from the playoffs Nicky told reporters, “We’re gonna do it one day. I promise them.” We believe him.DSC_0350

And finally, lets not forget Justin Williams. Willy was brought here to win. That’s all he wanted. He set an example for the team and he gave it his all.

We still believe in these guys and can’t wait to see how next season shapes up!

O what a Night-Oshie and the Caps take Down Pens in OT

The night started with lightups and loud, and we mean, LOUD fans. And thankfully the house was pretty red–hardly a Pens jersey could be seen! Well done friends!!!!

The game started like we expected, physical and fast.  Andre Burakovsky got things going with a little help from is friends Jason Chimera and John Carlson put the Caps on the board. The first period ended 1-0 Caps.

The second period started so slow we weren’t sure the were really playing. Fans thought there were lots of missed calls against Pens– probably right.

It was all good until the Pens (Ben Lovejoy) got one over on Holtby. Fans stayed loud and like the players, we weren’t giving up.

There was a lot of back and forth scoring; first Evgeni Malkin scored and then TJ Oshie got one past goaltender Matt Murry to even things out by the end of the second period. TJ came back in the third period, followed by Nick Bonino.

By the end of the third we were tied up again forcing the game into overtime.

The crowd could barely contain themselves.

OT started with a flurry of red nightsticks and horn blowing from Sam to get everyone one ready. Both teams clearly wanted the win, but it was Oshie who scored the game winning goal and the hats flew onto the ice!!!

The Pens challenged but nah- it was the Caps night.

We kind Of like this team a lot.

See ya Saturday for Game 2. Go CAPS.

Optional practice Friday at 12:15 at Kettler which means a handful of the tired players will be there. Pens will also be at Kettler for anyone interested…(be classy Caps fans)

Morning skate is scheduled for 10:15 Saturday followed by Game 2 at 8 pm.

Capitals Outshine the Devils

 

Coach Trotz had some surprises up his sleeve as he made some changes to the lines:

Forwards

Ovechkin Kuznetsov Williams

Burakovsky Backstrom Oshie

Chimera Johansson Wilson

Laich Richards Latta

Defense

Schmidt Carlson

Alzner Niskanen

Orpik Orlov

And Holtby in the Net.

The change infused some new energy into the lines and took away the element of complacent winning. TJ Oshie emerged as his old self with three shots and a goal! All but three players (Richards, Johansson and Burkovsky) had a SOG. And Braden Holtby had 21 saves. Everyone left the Verizon Center smiling and cheering!!

First Period: Sloppy First

The period was less than stellar for the Captials. The fourth line came close this period with Laich and Latta bringing the energy. The Caps were outshot 14 to 8 and it showed in the end result. The Devils scored first and there was a hush at Verizon that was not to last long because our captain was having none of that. Unfortunately, the Devils turned it around and took the lead before the end of the period.

Goals:   Devils Travis Zajac with a wrist shot, assisted by Reid Boucher and Kyle Plmieri. Alex Ovechkin wrist shot, unassisted. Kyle Palmieri assisted by Reid Boucher.

Penalties: Brooks Laich called for interference against Jon Merrill; Jacob Josefson interference against Mike Richards;

Score: 1- 2 Devils

Second Period: Fourth Line Power

Tom Wilson took a high stick and the Caps went on the power play. Tom was ok, but the Caps failed to make the advantage count. In the midst of a line change, Kuzy simply flew out and scored, with help from his fourth-line friends. Hand Twirl from Kuzy.IMG_0669 It was a quick moving period in which Washington bridged the shooting gap with New Jersey and then some. With about 6 seconds on the clock the Devils made a good stab at scoring but Holby was having none of it. John Carlson had a few choice words with Stephen Gionata but no worries, still all tied.

Goals: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Michael Latta on the primary and Brooks Laich with the secondary assist.

Penalties: Seth Helgeson hi-stick to Tom Wilson.

Score: 2-2

Third Period: The “Os” Have it.

Slow start to the period until the Capitals were delivered a power play in the first four minutes of the game. Caps still not able to convert on the advantage. 2-2 and everyone wants to score next. The second line was a little sluggish at first until Backstrom finally got a shot off-but no goal.IMG_0674 A shot from the Devils  hit off Holtby’s glove and flies in. Second time one seemed to surprise Braden. The energy at Verizon seemed to flow down to the ice because with a sense of determination,  TJ Oshie scored to tie the game again. And Bang Bang the defense scores and Orpik proves HE IS BACK!!!!!

Goals: Reid Boucher wrist shot assisted by Travis Zajac and John Moore. TJ Oshie with a backhander scores, assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Brooks Orpik. Brooks Orpik with Kuzy and Ovi assisting.

Penalties: Devils with too many men on the ice served by Joseph Blandisi.

The fourth line was the strength of the game. They gave the first lines a break when they needed it but they played hard when they were on the ice, creating a scoring opportunity for Kuznetsov. Oveckin continued as the shooting king of the Caps with six shots and a goal It was good to see TJ Oshie looking more like himself—maybe this line shifting worked after all.

Without a doubt Brooks Orpik with the STAR OF THE NIGHT!

And Congratulations to TJ Oshie on his 500th NHL Game. Way to celebrate!

 Photos by: Mel Abernethy

Ovi, Ovi, Ovi… Caps Wild Postgame

The Minnesota Wild had lost six straight games and had not won at home since the turn of the calendar. The Capitals had not won in the last eight games at Xcel Energy Center. Birthday boy Mike Richards was a game decision but he was in the lineup.

First period: Penalties Galore

Braden Holtby continued to be the best goaltender in the league. The Capitals killed off a slashing penalty to Justin Williams early in the first. Alex Ovechkin draws the first Wild penalty and the Capitals went on the power play. The teams had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey after a penalty negated the power play. With 6:02 left, the Wild had 9 seconds for 5-on-3 and another power play. The Capitals penalty kill was perfect during the period. With six seconds left, Wild Folin took a penalty and the Capitals went on the power play.

GOALS: None

PENALTIES: Justin Williams (slashing); Nate Prosser (roughing); Oshie (interference); Matt Niskanen (hooking) and Christian Folin (holding).

SCORE: 0-0

Second Period: Ovi hat trick!

The Capitals started the second period with 1:52 of power play. Unfortunately, they did not score on that power play but Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would score his first of the game shortly after. Early in the period, Tom Wilson spent a few seconds in the Wild bench (none of the Wild players helped him out, a linesman did though). The Caps power play is scoring again! Ovechkin scored his second of the night and is now the NHL’s leading scorer (33) passing Chicago’s Patrick Kane. But Ovechkin wasn’t finished, he would score again to complete his 14th career hat trick. The Wild would challenge for offsides but would end up losing not only the challenge but their time out as well.

GOALS: Alex OvechIMG_9289kin scored his 32nd (Assists: T.J. Oshie & Nicklas Backstrom), his 33rd (Assists: John Carlson & Nicklas Backstrom) and his 34th of the season (Assist: Nicklas Backstrom).

Charlie Coyle scored his 15th of the season, assisted by Miko Koivu and Zach Parise

PENALTIES: Thomas Vanek (slashing); Dmitry Orlov (slashing) and Charlie Coyle (Tripping)

SCORE: Caps lead 3-1

Third Period: Out of Control Wild

Michael Latta and Zach Parise exchanged pleasantries early in the third. The Wild decided to start roughing up the Capitals younger players. Matt Dumba crunched Andre Burakovsky into the boards and a scrum ensued with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. Williams would be the only one in the penalty box. Ryan Suter would score for the Wild on the following power play. Then Mikael Granlund injured Kuznetsov by hitting him in the face/head area with the butt end of his stick. Kuzy would head to the locker room and Capitals PR later announced that he would not return to the game. Jason Chimera, the Ice Cheetah, scored an empty netter in the final minute of regulation. With three seconds left in the game, Granlund scored and Braden Holtby was visibly furious. There was clear goaltender interference as Zach Parise had his glove on Holtby’s pad. But the refs, as they were all night, missed the call and the goal was deemed good. The Caps were victorious, 4-3.

GOALS: Ryan Suter scored his seventh of the season. Assisted by Matt Dumba and Zach Parise. Jason Chimera scored an empty net goal, his 15th of the season. Assisted by Tom Wilson. Mikael Granlund scored his fifth of the season, assisted by Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek.

PENALTIES: Justin Williams (cross checking) and Jarret Stoll (tripping).

SCORE: Caps won 4-3.

The Capitals now have 40 wins and 84 points. Alex Ovechkin got a hat trick and they leave Minnesota with 2 points. Unfortunately, Andre Burakovsky’s point streak ended at eight games. Let’s hope Kuznetsov is healthy and everything is going to be okay.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals have Friday, February 12, off.

Game: The Capitals will visit the American Airlines Center to play the Dallas Stars on Saturday, February 13 at 8:00 .