According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Washington Capitals have placed Brooks Laich, the team’s longest-tenured player, on waivers.
HOLTBY CHASED IN SECOND AS LISTLESS CAPS HANDED RARE HOME LOSS
Displaying the character that’s become a hallmark of this team, the Washington Capitals clawed away at a 4-1 Montreal lead on Wednesday night, but were unable to recover, losing 4-3 after starting goaltender Braden Holtby was chased early in the second period.
Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for the Canadiens.
Yet another slow start doomed the Capitals, as turnovers and odd-man rushes against proved to be a major factor in the loss, and the Capitals gave up the first goal for the sixth straight game. Andre Burakovsky said afterward that fixing the slow starts is “something [they] have to do.” [Read more…]
The Capitals announced Friday morning that they have re-signed defenseman Taylor Chorney to a two-year extension worth an annual average value (AAV) of $800,000.
Washington Capitals Game 51 Review: Niskanen, Holtby shine as Caps beat Flyers; Ovechkin reaches another milestone
Trailing Philadelphia 1-0 and getting beaten to most loose pucks, the Washington Capitals fought to kill a two-man disadvantage which threatened to break the game open.
When Braden Holtby robbed Mark Streit for perhaps the game’s most critical save, and Washington killed both penalties, the momentum shifted. From there, the Capitals scored three of the game’s next four goals and beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon Center on Sunday.
Outplayed for much of the game, it wasn’t until around the midway point of the second – specifically, Holtby’s robbery of Streit at the 12:31 mark – that the Capitals began to commandeer the pace of the game.
“To me, that changed the whole, they could have been [up] 2 or 3-0, and I don’t think we would have came back from that deficit. Those are important moments for us,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said.
With 4:04 left until the second intermission, Alex Ovechkin deflected Karl Alzner’s attempt past Flyer goalie Steve Mason to tie it. In the process, Ovechkin moved into third place in terms of NHL players who started their career with consecutive 30-goal seasons at 11, behind Wayne Gretzky (13) and former Capital Mike Gartner (15).
“He’s probably the best goal scorer of this generation of players,” Trotz said when asked about Ovechkin’s accomplishment. “It’s not surprising; he’s probably going to do it another time or two before he’s done. It’s fantastic. Consistency, that’s a part of greatness.”
“You just have to do what you have to do,” Ovechkin said of his tally. “It was a dirty goal, but it was a very important goal for us.”
1:09 later, Dmitry Orlov took a feed from Andre Burakovsky in front of the blue line, skated through two Flyers, and rifled the puck past Mason, his fifth goal of the year giving Washington their first lead.
51 seconds into the third, Nick Schultz tied the game with his first NHL goal. Just over five minutes into the frame, Matt Niskanen gained control the puck in the Capitals’ zone on the goal-line extended. Gliding through the neutral zone, Niskanen deked through a few Philadelphia defenders before delivering a snap shot past Mason, eliciting “ooh”s and “ahh”s from the crowd. Trotz, when asked what the bench reaction to the spectacular goal was, described the general response as “Holy … it’s a Sunday, I can’t say it. That’s really what I’m thinking, that’s pretty well what a lot of guys on the bench were thing.
“Nisky doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s one of those rare teammates where everyone seems to like, he’s very likable … he competes, he plays so well and so consistent on a regular basis. He’s everybody’s guy that you cheer for … when he does something like that, the guys are excited.”
“It was like back to 70s,” Ovechkin said. “Bobby Orr, all those guys. I think whole building was surprised, it’s a highlight 100 percent.”
“I really wanted to pass that puck to someone but either my vision’s getting worse or I couldn’t see anybody open. There was open ice to skate in the middle, I was kind of able to pick my way through there. Lucky shot, I guess,” Niskanen said. “I wanted somebody to come force me to get rid of it … I haven’t scored a goal like that in probably 12 years.”
Through the comeback and all, Trotz acknowledged that the team is beginning to get back into its groove after two long lulls which bookended the All-Star break. That said, he knows that it’s time for his group to step up.
“One of the things that I think that we have to recognize is that everybody’s kicked their game to playoff mode. The Islanders, the Flyers … we’re going to Nashville, they’re gonna be in playoff mode. Fortunately, with our record, we have some separation,” he said. “At the same time, we can’t take that for granted. That’s when we don’t play well, that’s when you get hurt, that’s when you get frustrated. What we try to talk to the group about is, ‘Let’s use everybody’s level of play and let them help us raise our play.’ Because we need to be in playoff mode.
“I think our sense is coming back, our conditioning is starting to come back, our execution is starting to come back, and if we have the good mindset that every time we step on the ice, there’s two points to be had, and if teams are in playoff mode and we’re not, we’re gonna get it handed to us. But if we have the mindset that we’re in playoff mode, it’ll be a good contest.”
Given that this was just the Washington Capitals’ second game in as many weeks due to the recent D.C. blizzard and All-Star break — never mind that the team was missing two key offensive cogs in Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson — a flat showing Tuesday from the very shorthanded Caps against Florida could have been understandable.
Strong even-strength performance aside, a couple of stagnant Washington power plays in the early going set the tone for the evening, as the current Atlantic Division front-runners scored twice in each of the first two periods to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals, 5-2 at Verizon Center. [Read more…]
The NHL has postponed Friday’s game between the Capitals and Anaheim Ducks due to the blizzard that is beginning to impact the Washington metro area. A decision on the Sunday afternoon game against Pittsburgh will be announced Saturday morning. No makeup date has yet been determined for the Ducks game.
Saturday’s game between the Wizards and Jazz had already been postponed as well.
Ducks' support staff is removing equipment from their dressing room and taking it back to the loading dock. Game has been postponed.
— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) January 22, 2016
They're not setting up. They're taking everything down. Infer what you want to infer. pic.twitter.com/vES9UqUYoN
— Katie Brown (@katiebhockey) January 22, 2016
CAPITALS WIN 12TH STRAIGHT AT HOME, ONE SHY OF FRANCHISE RECORD
Returning to their winning ways after an uncharacteristically sloppy performance on Saturday against Buffalo, the Washington Capitals used three goals from Justin Williams — his second career hat trick — and one each from Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson to beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday night in the District.
The win puts the Caps (34-8-3) 17 points ahead of the New York Islanders in the Metro Division, with the Rangers 18 points back.
The Rangers held a one-point lead in the division on Dec. 1. [Read more…]
OVECHKIN REGISTERS 497TH GOAL OF ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER
Nate Schmidt scored his second goal of the season, and Braden Holtby made 34 saves as the Capitals extended their lead in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-1 win over the second-place New York Islanders on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
A strong forecheck was the name of the game in the first period for Washington, whose 63 standings points are good enough for a league-best, one game shy of the season’s midway point. Nine of their 10 first-period shots came from their forwards, two of which found their way past Jaroslav Halak. Alex Ovechkin’s 22nd of the season was the 497th of his career, as he approaches the coveted 500 goal mark with his career barely a decade old.
Marcus Johansson was sent to the penalty box 8:42 into the game for an illegal check to Thomas Hickey’s head, a play which will more likely than not garner further attention from the league’s disciplinary office.
The Capitals have signed free agent center Mike Richards to a one-year, $1 million pro-rated contract, the team announced late Wednesday afternoon.
Richards had spent the previous four seasons in the Kings’ organization, winning Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. Richards’ contract was terminated by the Kings last summer after he arrested in his native Canada for allegedly possessing a controlled substance. He has a court date pending on Jan. 28. After the NHL Players’ Association filed a grievance with the Kings, the team and Richards settled in October for $10.5 million. [Read more…]
Whatever the reason for this recent dominance by the Washington Capitals, they have a number of key players to thank.
For starters, goalie Braden Holtby is playing like the top netminder in the world, with another shutout helping the Capitals to a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on the road Monday, for their eighth win in a row. Of his 31 saves on the night, he had one that immediately launched itself to the top of his highlight reel. [Read more…]