March 27, 2015

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.

 

Washington Capitals Game 67 Recap: Capitals hand 6-1 loss to struggling Sabres

­The Buffalo Sabres started the scoring against the Washington Capitals, but the game quickly slipped away from them as the Caps scored six unanswered goals to win 6-1. It was the Sabres’ fourth consecutive loss.

Alex Ovechkin scored an NHL-leading 44th goal on Washington’s second power play attempt of the night. Ovechkin was also awarded a penalty shot later in the game after Andre Benoit was called for holding on a breakaway, but did not convert on the attempt. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 3

First star: Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin increased his goal scoring total with two against Columbus. He leads the league in goals with 43, and shares the points lead with Nicklas Backstrom with 67.

Second star: Nicklas Backstrom. If he isn’t a Hart contender already, he’s making a strong case for it. Backstrom shares the league lead  with 67 points – and 49 of those are assists.

Third star: Braden Holtby. Holtby earned his 31st win of the season, and stopped 27 of 30 shots in his record 56th start of the year. He is quite literally a beast.

Washington Capitals Game 65 Recap: Caps win penalty-filled game in Columbus

In an absolute mess of a game, the Washington Capitals proved –yet again — that the best way to counter a team trying to thug it up is to score on them on the resulting power play.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice — including a power play goal in the third period that eventually became the game-winner — and the Caps knocked off the also-ran Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Tuesday night in Columbus. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

First star:

Braden Holtby.

It seems like he should have more, but his 7th shutout of the season was no less impressive. He stopped all 32 shots thrown his way.

 

Second star:

Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin scored his 40th and 41st goals against Toronto on Sunday night, and earned  an assist to boot. If he scored 50, no one would be surprised.

 

Third star:

Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom earned his 47th assist Sunday night, and is a serious contender for the Hart Trophy. Yeah.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 4

FIRST STAR: Alex Ovechkin. Fully engaged Ovi in this one. A goal, which gave the Caps late life, five shots on goal, three blocked, five more missed and eight hits.

SECOND STAR: Jason Chimera. Two assists, though took a bad penalty during a string of bad penalties in the second period.

THIRD STAR: Troy Brouwer. Goal and an assist. 7 of 11 in the dot.

Goat of the game: Tom Wilson. Hate to kick a guy when he’s down, but there’s no place in the game for instigating contact during warmups. Total bush league move by a guy whose luster is starting to come off.

Dealing with the Devils: Why trading for Jaromir Jagr makes little sense

The NHL deadline is fast approaching and the Washington Capitals are in need of a right wing. It just so happens that the New Jersey Devils stink and have a pretty good right wing on the last year of his contract.

That wing, of course, is Jaromir Jagr.

Of all the players the Caps could target at the deadline, Jagr is the most intriguing given his history with the team.

Jagr came to Washington amid much fanfare and excitement in 2001. After two lackluster seasons, he was traded to the New York Rangers as the Caps dismantled their team in order to rebuild.

Now with the team in need of a right wing, many are wondering if Jagr could return to Washington in a deadline deal.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win streak snapped in Philly

The Washington Capitals’ four-game win streak was brought to an end on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the Caps were unable to finish off the Flyers and instead gave up a late third-period goal for the loss.

The Caps had another sluggish start and found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. Claude Giroux snapped an 11-game goalless drought with an early power play goal and Wayne Simmonds added another power play tally in the second. Tom Wilson finally got the Caps on the board and Joel Ward caught Philadelphia goalie Robb Zepp off guard with a rolling puck chipped into the top shelf to tie it in the second. [Read more…]

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