April 21, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Caps score twice in third, shock Islanders

Down 3-1, and having given up a critical goal shortly after tallying their much-needed first, the Washington Capitals were in very dire straits and at risk of falling behind the New York Islanders two games to none in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Spurred on by their fans as well as improved puck control, they ensured that talk of a potential sweep would be just that – talk.

A spirited final 30 minutes of hockey, in which Washington scored three unanswered goals in a space of 11 minutes and 28 seconds (spanning two periods), lifted Washington to a 4-3 win in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Islanders in front of a raucous crowd Friday night at Verizon Center.

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Caps-Islanders Round 1 Preview: Once more against Halak

The Washington Capitals sit 16 wins away from claiming their first Stanley Cup, four of which must come against the New York Islanders. Here’s a breakdown of their first round matchup.

Islanders offense vs. Caps defense

Islanders: 2.99 goals per game (4th), 175 5-on-5 goals (4th), 33.8 shots per game (2nd), .592 win percentage when scoring first (25th), .545 win percentage when trailing first (1st)

Caps: 2.43 goals against per game (7th), 140 5-on-5 goals against (12th), 28.9 shots allowed per game (11th)

The main weapon on the Islanders is John Tavares, the 24-year-old superstar who finished second in the NHL in points this season. The offense hinges on him, but not in the same way the Caps’ offense hinges on Alex Ovechkin. The dynamic center is just as adept at setting up goals as he is at scoring them and leads the team both in goals (38) and assists (48). For much of his career, the Islanders have relied far too much on Tavares to carry their offense but that is no longer the case. Kyle Okposo is second on the team in points despite missing 22 games with a detached retina and provides a major threat on the Islanders’ second line. They also have had young talent step up with Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee all enjoying breakout seasons. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals 82 Game Recap: Washington outshined by the Rangers in 4-2 loss

There will be more hockey played this spring at Verizon Center. For the Washington Capitals and their faithful, that will come as welcome news. Had Saturday afternoon been the final time the boys in red skated on frozen pond until October, no doubt would a sour taste been left in their mouths at the hands of the New York Rangers.

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Washington Capitals Game 78 Recap: Ovi passes Bondra; Caps top Canadiens in OT

ALEX OVECHKIN SCORES 473RD CAREER GOAL, SURPASSES PETER BONDRA ATOP CAPS ALL-TIME LIST

Alex Ovechkin and Joel Ward both scored two goals, Troy Brouwer scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Washington Capitals earned two hard-fought points, beating the Montreal Canadiens in Centre Bell, 5-4 on Thursday.

With 96 points, the Caps move ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The win also marks the 600th of Barry Trotz’ career. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 77 Recap: Caps take care of business against Canes

ALEX OVECHKIN SCORES 50TH GOAL OF THE SEASON, TIES BONDRA FOR FRANCHISE LEADER

The Washington Capitals took care of business Tuesday night. They scored early, they responded to a couple of their opponent’s goals, and the best player in franchise history added to his accolades. At the finish, the Caps beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 before a not-quite capacity Verizon Center.

With the two points, the Caps pull within a point of both Pittsburgh and the Islanders, tied for second in the Metropolitan Division and both idle, while further distancing themselves from the now-remote possibility of missing the playoffs.

The Caps got things started early in the first. On a good cycle, Curtis Glencross and Tom Wilson kept the puck deep in the Carolina end and Mike Green snuck into the slot, took the pass from Wilson, and beat Cam Ward for his eighth goal of the season.

Then, the moment everyone was waiting for.

Midway through the frame, Evgeny Kuznetsov entered the offensive zone carrying the puck, drawing the defense to him. He backhanded it to Ovechkin on the left wing, and the Great Eight whipped it past Ward glove-side for his 50th of the season.

Ovechkin becomes the sixth player in NHL history to record six 50-goal seasons, joining Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (9), Marcel Dionne (6), Guy Lafleur (6) and Mario Lemieux (6), and with that goal he tied Peter Bondra for the Caps all-time leading goal scorer, with 472 career goals.

“Every year, it’s harder and harder,” Ovechkin said. “But it’s a huge accomplishment with those names up there. It’s always nice. But every year, you don’t know what to expect from yourself, how you are going to play.”

“It was good,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “I mean I hadn’t been around anybody who’s ever scored 50 goals in this league, especially the way it’s so hard to score goals in this league. You know it’s a part of history, a guy who scores 50 in this league right now the way the goal scoring is. Teams check. The goaltenders are so good in the National Hockey League. To get 50, I mean I think I said yesterday, I think he’s like 20 percent than the people next to him.”

But nothing comes easy for this team.

Carolina halved the lead exactly five minutes into the second, as Alexander Semin beat Karl Alzner and Nathan Gerbe was able to take advantage and beat a defenseless Braden Holtby. Later, Tom Wilson got pick-pocketed in the offensive zone, sending the play the other way. Eventually, Chris Terry found Eric Staal completely alone on the doorstep, and Stall buried into the open net to tie the game at two.

The Caps recaptured the lead at 17:06 of the second. Jason Chimera made a really hifty backhanded pass to Brooks Laich, who was streaking through the slot. Laich deked, and slipped the puck past the fallen Ward.

Then, while P.A. announcer Wes Johnson was calling the goal, they scored again. Ovechkin slid it through the crease to Joel Ward, who got enough of the puck to get it past Ward to make it a two-goal game again.

With the assist, Ovechkin tied Michael Pivonka for No. 2 on the team’s all-time assist leader list.

All that was left was for an uneventful third period to play out, which it did.

The Caps resume play Thursday in Montreal.

Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin scores 50th goal of the season

TIES PETER BONDRA FOR FRANCHISE RECORD WITH 472

At 11:12 of the first period Tuesday night, Alex Ovechkin took a backhanded pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and whipped a shot past Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, scoring his 50th goal of the season.

Ovechkin becomes the sixth player in NHL history to record six 50-goal seasons, joining Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (9), Marcel Dionne (6), Guy Lafleur (6) and Mario Lemieux (6).

Additionally, he tied Peter Bondra for the Caps all-time leading goal scorer, with 472 career goals.

Washington Capitals Game 76 Recap: Caps find big road win in New York

ALEX OVECHKIN SCORES 48 AND 49TH GOALS OF THE SEASON, INCHES CLOSER TO BONDRA’S TEAM RECORD

Jason Chimera had scored two goals in his past 23 games. On Sunday against the New York Rangers, he scored on two consecutive shifts in the third period to lift the Washington Capitals to a much-needed 5-2 road win over a team they could very well see in the first round of the playoffs in two weeks.

Chimera would not have been able to play the hero on Sunday without the contributions of the team’s best player, Alex Ovechkin. The Great Eight scored goals in the first and second periods to almost single-handedly keep the Caps in the game through the first 40 minutes. [Read more…]

Secondary scoring remains Caps’ biggest weakness

Marcus Johansson - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Marcus Johansson – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

What is the biggest weakness of the Washington Capitals?

It’s a simple question, but an important one. The playoffs have a way of exposing every weakness of every team very quickly. Knowing what those weaknesses are can help determine who the true Stanley Cup contenders are.

With nine games left in their regular season schedule, the Washington Capitals sit in a playoff position with a four-point cushion. To put it simply, they are the seventh best team in the Eastern Conference. But why? [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 4, Buffalo Sabres 3 (SO)

FIRST STAR: Evgeny Kuznetsov. The rookie had one of his better games of the season, with a power play goal, shootout goal and eight shots on goal.

SECOND STAR: Alex Ovechkin. Did not score, but had a whopping 22 shot attempts (9 SOG, 10 blocked, 3 misses) with three credited hits, and it seemed like twice or thrice that. Ovechkin was pretty much a one-man wrecking crew and get very little help from his mates, especially of the veteran variety.

THIRD STAR: Braden Holtby. Did not have his best game of the season, but playing the second of a back-to-back on the road he was still sharp, spectacularly so at times, and he needed to be since his defense took much of the night off.

Washington Capitals Game 68 Review: Caps flat in loss to Rangers

The New York Rangers are flying high right now, bolstered by the play of backup goalie Cam Talbot while Henrik Lundqvist convalesces. The Caps were given two days off this week to recharge their motors.

Whether it was the time off, or the Rangers play, the Caps looked flat, falling to New York 3-1.

The Rangers slide into first place in the Metropolitan Division with the win, one point ahead of the Islanders, while the Caps (36-22-10) remain four points behind the Penguins for third.

Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 45th goal of the season, while Brooks Orpik and Mike Green missed the game with ailments. Braden Holtby made 28 saves in the losing effort.

Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Martin St. Louis scored for New York (42-17-7). Talbot made 28 saves, including 16 in the third period when the Caps finally found some motivation.

The Caps were pressing in the third and had the better of play late until John Carlson’s lackadaisical pass was picked off by Chris Kreider, who fed notorious Caps-killer Martin St. Louis for the back-breaking third goal.

 

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