Alex Ovechkin’s latest spring postmortem might well have been his toughest yet. The 30-year-old has been the face of the Washington Capitals for over a decade, and the quickly-graying Russian welled up in Pittsburgh late Tuesday night after his team again fell short of the championship and accompanying long playoff run that this city will continue to wait for.
CAPS CONTROL PLAY BUT NOT SCOREBOARD; LETANG HIT ON JOHANSSON TO BE REVIEWED
The Washington Capitals got two third-period goals but couldn’t find the equalizer and dropped Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, before a capacity crowd decked out in yellow t-shirts at Consol Energy Center.
Typically, when a team outshoots the other 49-23 — including 21-9 in the third — the outcome is predictable. Unfortunately, these things seem to happen to the Caps more often than not in the playoffs. [Read more…]
OVECHKIN TAKES FRANCHISE RECORD FOR PLAYOFF POINTS; ORPIK EXITS AFTER ROUGH HIT
With a high-tension game that ended with a five-minute major against the Philadephia Flyers, two ten-minute game misconducts, and a delay-of-game penalty assessed to the Flyers’ fans, the Washington Capitals silenced the Wells Fargo Center and took game three of the series 6-1.
The Capitals scored five power-play goals, the most in their history in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. They were 5 for 9 and are 8 for 17 with the man-advantage in the series.
The goal scoring in the first, when Marcus Johansson added anther point to his stellar first-round sheet. On the very first power play, John Carlson took a shot from just inside the blue line and the puck deflected just of Johansson’s shin. Adding his first goal of the series to his five assists, Johansson grabbed his sixth point in the series to trail only Nicklas Backstrom and Carlson (7 apiece).
HOLTBY MAKES 41 SAVES TO LIFT CAPS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD
After a physical Game 1, the Washington Capitals came in to Game 2 expecting nothing less from the Philadelphia Flyers, except maybe that they would ratchet the hitting, antagonizing and overall agitating up even another notch. That was certainly the case — and then some — as the Flyers controlled play in just about every facet…except the scoreboard.
Braden Holtby was again exceptional, especially in a first period where the Flyers got 18 shots, and the Caps were the beneficiaries of one of the strangest goals you’ll ever see, and the Caps beat the Flyers 4-1 before a raucous Saturday night crowd at Verizon Center to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Flyers came out, well, flying, at the start of Game 2, outshooting the Caps 7-1 in the first few minutes.
It was Washington that got the first power-play opportunity, and they made good on it. The Flyers tried to clear with a lob, but John Carlson caught it open-gloved to keep it in the zone. Stung, he passed it off twice before trying a shot, and his wrister from center point got through a double-high screen and past Steve Mason to put the Caps up 1-0, despite being outplayed.
The Caps managed to avoid the early penalty calls they suffered in Game 1, but it caught up to them late in the first, with Jason Chimera and Carlson both whistled for cross-checks within 50 seconds of each other late.
But as he’s been all season long, Holtby (41 saves) was the Caps’ best player, turning aside the Flyers on every opportunity and the first ended with the Caps up by one.
Early in the second, Washington made it 2-0 on one of the all-time strangest plays. After a tie-up at center ice, both teams went for a change and Chimera sent a soft backhanded deflection toward the Flyers cage. Mason went down to block it, but it somehow eluded him and went right between his legs and behind him into the net. It needs to be seen to be believed.
It stayed that way for about seven minutes before the Flyers got back in it. On an odd-man rush, Brooks Orpik got caught playing a man instead of the puck and it slipped right between his legs to the awaiting stick of Jakob Voracek, who flipped it past Holtby to trim their deficit to one.
But just before the second intermission, Mark Streit was whistled for holding, giving the Caps’ vaunted power play another opportunity. Backstrom held at the half-boards, then slipped a pass through T.J. Oshie’s legs – a play they work on in practice — to Alex Ovechkin in his normal spot in the left wing circle. The Great 8 made no mistake, ramming it home to make it 3-1 before the break.
The Caps were content to play dump and chase most of the third period, but with just over two minutes left, Nick Backstrom carried in on the right wing and when Mason went down thinking about the pass Backstrom called his own number for the insurance goal and a 4-1 lead.
The series moves to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.
Washington Capitals Game 81 Recap: Goal number 50 for Ovechkin; Win Record for Holtby in win over Blues
Alex Ovechkin gets a hattrick and goal number 50 in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues as Braden Holtby ties NHL wins record for a season.
Number 48 came on a beautiful one timer pass from John Carlson that set up the Ovechkin just below the circle. Ovechkin seemed primed for more after he snapped his first goal into the net and he did not disappoint.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) April 10, 2016
Ovechkin goal number 49 came off of Nicklas Backstrom assist number 49. With a classic Backstrom set up pass to a beautiful snap shot that found its way in. a whole twelve minutes for Ovechkin to get both his goals in. Ovechkin now has 108 career multi goal games.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) April 10, 2016
And number 50 came in the third period. A three on two breakaway saw Ovechkin streaking down the left side gobbled up the puck and took another snap shot to put it in. His second hat trick of the year, and seventh 50 goal season matching only Gretzky and Bossy for that many 50 goal seasons. Backstrom was once again the gifter giving him his own 50 point mark.
Braden Holtby would finally reach win number 48 in front of the only other NHL goalie to do the same, Martin Brodeur. Although Holtby has one more potential game to go, the record is now at least partially, his. With 19 stops on 20 shots, Holtby deserved a slightly easier win.
Caps goal number three came from Carlson who wanted to ensure his own multi point night. Tom Wilson made a beautiful thread of a pass to give Carlson the back hand chance.
Lastly, goal number four was all for Jason Chimera. In the 36 year olds best season he netted goal number 20 for the year by tipping in a Evgeny Kuznetsov back door feed (fantastic in its own right) that slipped right in. Another great play for the Caps in a night full of them. There are now six Capitals with at least 20 goals this season,
The Blues did put a little pressure on the Caps when Vladimir Tarasenko placed one past Braden Holtby at the 1:15 mark in the first, clearly the Capitals were less than phased by it. By the end of the game the Caps would lead 36-20 on shots.
The Caps will officially face the Philadelphia Flyers for the first round of the playoffs with the FLyers win earlier today.
NEXT GAME: Tomorrow at 7pm vs the Anaheim Ducks.
OVECHKIN SCORES TWICE BUT THIRD PERIOD BREAKDOWNS LEAD TO LOSS
Braden Holtby entered play against the New York Islanders needing one win to tie Martin Brodeur’s all-time record for wins in a season for a goaltender with 48. He was spectacular at times, and was victimized by sloppy defense and a little casualness on his own part, and the Isles came from two goal down to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime Tuesday at a disbelieving Verizon Center.
The Caps dominated early on, with several very good chances. Then, on an offensive-zone faceoff, Alex Ovechkin took matters into his own hands. He gathered the won faceoff, looped around a defensemen and let a wicked wrister go through a screen into about eight inches of open net past Christopher Gibson — making his second NHL start — for his 46th goal of the season.
It was Ovechkin’s third goal in his last four games and marks the eighth time the Great 8 has reached the 46-goal mark in his illustrious career. [Read more…]
OVECHKIN NETS NO. 46, BEAGLE GETS FANCY AS CAPS DUMP AVALANCHE
Alex Ovechkin scored his 46th goal of the season to lead the Washington Capitals over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.
Facing a desperate Avalanche team that needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt, the Capitals (55-16-6) showed that the offense may be back on track — just in time for the playoffs.
Play and goal of the night go to Mr. Jay Beagle. With a great defensive takeaway behind the Avalanche goal he turned the puck and put it behind the back of netminder Seymon Varlamov. See below: [Read more…]
LATE FLYERS GOAL TIES IT, CAPS FALL IN RARE SHOOTOUT LOSS
A third period essentially bookended by a power play goal from a star on both the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers was a fitting penultimate frame in a potential preview of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both teams had over 60 shot attempts and 30 hits each, and the atmosphere was befitting of this traditional Metropolitan Division rivalry.
Behind shootout goals from Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner and two stops in the skills competition from Steve Mason, the Flyers prevailed 2-1 in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center. [Read more…]
CAPS CLINCH DIVISION, CONFERENCE WITH 10 GAMES TO GO
The Capitals clinched the Metro Division and Eastern Conference to guarantee home ice throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
For the first time in months, the Caps heeded their locker room motto: Stick to the Script.
The script included scoring first. Left completely unattended at Ottawa’s net at 2:32 into the first period, Mike Richards got the first goal with an easy conversion after Tom Wilson’s solid takeaway on the Senators’ failed clear.
OVECHKIN NETS WINNER IN OVERTIME AFTER CONTROVERSIAL REVIEW
No longer interested in continuing the narrative of slow starts and allowing the first goal of the game, the Washington Capitals commanded action from the jump on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The 2-1 overtime win for Washington over the Carolina Hurricanes came in a somewhat controversial way, with storylines abound.
First, it was the fast-paced start. Outshooting the Hurricanes 6-1 less than 7 minutes into the contest, their relative domination of the opening frame resulted in a scoreless tie at the first intermission, but the message from the Capitals was clear — they weren’t settling.
“I was fine with the first period. We hit a couple crossbars, thought we were playing the right way. Just sometimes, you’re not going to find the back of the net,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. [Read more…]