The Washington Capitals have recently concluded a four-game road trip with stops in Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado, and Montreal. FiCP takes a look at what was a roller-coaster type week. Continue reading “Caps Road Trip Roundup: Injuries, Controversy, and Intense Games”
Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets was nothing short of chaos. The mayhem that occurred in a little over 60 minutes was enough to have Capitals fans on the edge of their seats constantly and displayed the type of determination that the team is currently sporting.
Though the Caps left the first period with a 1-0 lead, there was definitely room for improvement. Maybe it was coming off of the long Western road trip, but the boys lacked their typical energy, and it affected their performance. The Caps gave up possession far too much and were nowhere near as aggressive as they should be when working with a team with as much speed as the Jets.
Passing, however, was remarkable and led to Nicklas Backstrom scoring his first goal of the season, late in the period. The largest problem of the game at this point, though, was most definitely the referees. What else is new, right? At the very beginning of the period, there were two times where roughing should have been called on the Jets: when Tom Wilson was shoved while heading to the bench and when Andre Burakovsky was pushed directly into the Jets bench. As well, after Brett Connolly was sent to the box for tripping, a Jets player literally shoved his stick into a Capitals’ skate blade, but wasn’t penalized. Overall, the Caps needed more energy and the refs needed to pay more attention.
Barry Trotz must’ve agreed, because the second period was ten times period. T.J. Oshie scored within the first two minutes and set the pace for the rest of the period, amount up the energy. The Caps were far more aggressive, and it was the Jets who were taking the penalties. In the first period, the boys had only four shots on goal, while in the second period, the Caps had three shots in the first two minutes alone. Alex Ovechkin was the next up to score, ten minutes in, bringing the score up to 3-0 for the rest of the period. Offense was incredible and the Caps were taking advantage of absolutely every rebound. This energy, aggression, and the great hits throughout those twenty minutes were the kind of Capitals hockey we want to see.
It was in the third period that we realized tonight was almost an exact repeat of Tuesday’s game. The Caps 3-0 lead quickly turned into a 3-3 tie, due to tiny little mistakes. The superstitious who follow the Capitals circle on Twitter may blame this on the fact that Alan May blocked Ian Oland, a writer for Russian Machine Never Breaks who enjoys teasing May relentlessly, for posting a wonderfully edited photo of the former Caps player on Twitter. The last twenty minutes featured penalties galore, on both sides. The first two Jets goals were scored within three minutes of each other, and the tying goal came about five minutes later.
It wasn’t until overtime that the Capitals truly cracked down. With less than two minutes in the sudden death period, Ovi scored from his office and made the Verizon Center go wild.
While there were times where the game lagged, this is what we like to see from the Capitals and I certainly hope this energy and perseverance continues.
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!!
The Caps have one more game in Canada (Jets) on Tuesday and they return to a re-match with the Jets on home ice on Thursday. Check the times below for game and practice times.
Tuesday, 1 November at the Winnipeg Jets, 8:00 pm on CSN-DC
Thursday, 3 November, the Winnipeg Jets at Verizon Center, 7 pm on CSN-DC
Saturday, 5 November, the Florida Panthers at Verizon Centers, 7 pm on CSN-DC
(Hockey Fights Cancer auction concludes)
Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)
Monday the Caps have a day off.
Tuesday Morning Skate at MTS Centre in Winnipeg (Closed)
Wednesday is another day off as they settle in back home.
Thursday Morning Skate at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:30 am
Friday Practice likely at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 11:30 am
Saturday Morning Skate at Caps Kettler Iceplex, 10:30 am
Sunday, we are betting they have the day off as has become the tradition.
The players will don lavender sweaters for Hockey Fights Cancer during warm ups on 5 November. The shirts will bear the names of those people to whom the Caps dedicate the game. The jerseys, and other signed items, are part of the ongoing auction, which closes after the second period intermission. Click here to see how you can bid on these items. (Current top item is a jersey for $1,000 and lowest is a $50 signed puck)
Who to Watch
Zach Sanford – he has his first NHL point and keeps coming close to a goal. Could this be the week?
Marcus Johansson – Everyone is buzzing about his two two-goal games. Is there a hat trick coming?
DON’T FORGET: GAMETIME IS 3 PM TODAY on CSN
The Washington Capitals will be looking for their third win on the road this afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets. The Caps come into the matchup as the Metropolitan Division leader while the Jets continue their struggles with a 6-4-1 record at home. The Jets power play has been reasonably strong and the Caps will have to tighten up their game to keep off the PK. But lets not forget that Alexander Ovechkin has earned more points against the Jets than any other NHL team, according to the Washington Capitals.
According to Isabelle Khurshudyan, Marcus Johansson is a game-time decision, having left practice on Friday with a “little tweek.” It is possible that Andre Burakovsky will move up into his place on the second line and Stanislav Galiev will be in on one of the lower lines. Stay tuned fans for a last minute update. (Check our Twitter @InColdPlacesDc)
Going into this afternoon’s game we must ask:
- Can the Caps continue their game winning streak and make it seven in a row?
- Will Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov again score against the Jets and send the Caps home with a 7th straight win?
- Will Ovi continue his tradition of chalking up points against Winnipeg?
- If in, will Galiev score his first goal of the season?
- Will we have a Russian kvartet or troika force on the ice today?
What to Watch for Tonight:
Justin Williams: One point to go to reach 600 career HNL points.
John Carlson: One goal away from a career high of 50 NHL goals.
Marcus Johansson: One point away from a career high 200 points.
Stanislav Galiev: Has yet to score his first goal this season.