November 20, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 65 Recap: 100

NISKANEN GOAL IN OVERTIME LIFTS CAPS OVER BRUINS

It wasn’t easy. And it certainly wasn’t pretty. But they got it done.

The Washington Capitals penalty kill and goalie Philipp Grubauer did yeoman’s work and got it to overtime, where Matt Niskanen’s blast from the point beat Tuukka Rask and the Caps escaped Boston with a 2-1 win, pushing the season’s point total to 100. On March 5.

The Caps (48-13-4) become the 10th team in NHL history to reach 100 points in 65 games.

Grubauer had 24 saves, with several exceptional ones during an extended penalty kill in the second period, to earn the win.

Playing three-on-three in the extra session, Boston got a breakaway but Marcus Johansson hustled back to help break up the attack. Johansson raced the puck back into the offensive zone and gave it over to Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky delayed, then saucered to Niskanen, who let loose the Nisk-cannon for goal No. 5 on the season, and his second game winner in the past week. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 39 Recap: Caps get back into win column, edge Bruins

HOLTBY EXTENDS PERSONAL POINT STREAK TO 19 GAMES

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals stemmed a very modest two-game losing streak — their first of the season — edging the Boston Bruins on the road, 3-2.

Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson all scored goals, and Braden Holtby made 25 saves to top the struggling Bruins, who have lost two in a row and are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games.

The Caps (29-7-3-61) are 8-1-1 in their past 10.

Holtby extended his personal point streak to 19 consecutive decisions (17-0-2), the longest such run in the NHL since 2010-11

Kuznetsov was once again the star of this game, non-Holtby edition. He had a goal and an assist, has nine points over his last eight games and has 37 points on the season — matching his total from last season. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Caps besiege the Bruins

FIRST GOALS FOR BROOKS LAICH AND KARL ALZNER HELP CAPS TOP BRUINS

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 05: Brooks Laich #21 of the Washington Capitals celebrates scoring a second period goal against the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center on November 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Last week Karl Alzner and Justin Williams mentioned a lofty hope for the season; do not lose back-to-back games. A simple proposition, much more difficult to execute. After an ugly loss to the New York Rangers on the road Tuesday, the Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center looking to keep that hope alive.

Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the season and the Caps indeed avoided losing consecutive games, knocking off the Boston Bruins 4-1.

It took 193 minutes and a handful of seconds, and an entire season of head-to head-games, until Braden Holtby finally gave up a goal to the Bruins.

With the win, Washington improved to 9-3-0 this season, tying the best start in franchise history. The Capitals also registered a 9-3-0 record through 12 games in 1991-92 and 2011-12. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Preseason Game 6 Recap: Caps take shootout win to best Bruins 2-1

OVECHKIN SCORES, OSHIE AND WILSON MIX IT UP IN PRESEASON TILT WITH BOSTON

Alex Ovechkin scored in regulation, Braden Holtby was perfect in the shootout and the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in an overtime shootout at the Verizon Center Friday night.

The Bruins opened the scoring with a goal by Loui Erikkson at the 4:06 mark in the first period and Ovechkin tied it up at 17:26 in the third. The new overtime rules were tested but there was no score during the 3-on-3 overtime and the game ended in a shootout. T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Caps while Holtby kept his sheet clean. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 81 Recap: Holtby stellar in Caps’ win over Bruins

Three times this season, the Boston Bruins went up against Braden Holtby. Three times they exited the ice without a single goal.

Holtby made 27 saves and Washington scored two goals early in the first period en route to a 3-0 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

The win certifies that the Caps will play in the 2-3 matchup in the Metro Division. If the Islanders lost Thursday night, the Capitals will finish as the No. 2 seed. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 70 Recap: Washington stellar in win over Boston

Before Sunday night’s game against the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz discussed the mindset needed of a team vying to secure a spot in the postseason, saying that his team’s work ethic had “slipped a little bit.”

For all 60 minutes, Washington’s worth ethic was on display as they took control of momentum from the opening shift en route to a 2-0 win over the Bruins at Verizon Center.

Energy from both the Caps, who only added to their playoff cushion with the victory, and their fans played a role from the beginning and helped deliver Washington to just their second win in the last five games, a set that made up a season-long homestand.

At 12:34 of the first, John Carlson struck from the point on the power play, and the Caps finally had something to show for their physical domination and unwillingness to back down the Bruins’ own physicality.

Nate Schmidt scored a rare goal with 6:23 left in the second, his first of the season. “I actually was trying to look to see if there was off the back side of the post because the [Boston] forwards were coming up trying to block it,” Schmidt said. “I was just trying to get it to the net, let’s be honest,” he said with a laugh. Not only was the defenseman exuberant in the huddle immediately after the goal, he clearly wore the emotions of a player with a sizable weight lifted off his shoulders in the locker room afterward. “It’s like ‘finally.’ It’s like, you’re just glad it finally happened but I guess there was no better time, better late than never.”

Backstrom’s assist on the Carlson goal moved him into first place by himself on the franchise’s all-time assists list, breaking a three-way tie with Alex Ovechkin and Michal Pivonka, who had 418 each. He extended his lead with a secondary helper on the Schmidt tally.

Backstrom called the feat a “nice bonus,” adding, “it’s always [nice] when you get credit for something; maybe you’ve done something good. But, you have to remember, that I played with a lot of good players over the years and without the teammates, coaches and the fans, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Braden Holtby had 32 saves on the night, extending his career high for shutouts in a season to eight.

CAPS NOTES

  • Backstrom’s two assists extended his league-high total for the season to 56.
  • Trotz said that Dmitry Orlov (wrist) would have increased intensity with his rehabilitation this week, and that he had a higher probability of going to Hershey for a rehab assignment after the Caps return from a three-game road trip early next week.
  • In addition, Trotz said that he had yet to make a decision on whether Philipp Grubauer or Holtby would start the back end of the team’s back-to-back set on Monday night in Buffalo.
  • Interestingly, Holtby leads the NHL in shutouts since the 2012-13 season with 16.
  • Tom Wilson had a game-high six hits, while drawing a penalty and committing none.

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Alex Ovechkin scores twice as Caps blank Bruins

After a less-than-encouraging start to the 2014-15 season on Thursday, the Washington Capitals rebounded with a resounding 4-0 road win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. Captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the first period to give the Caps an early advantage that they didn’t give up.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 74 Recap: Caps start slow, lose to Bruins, 4-2

Entering Saturday’s contest against the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals knew the door to a playoff spot was ajar. Toronto and Columbus both fell to their respective opponents the night before and subsequently failed to gain any ground in the race for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. All the Capitals needed to do was step over the threshold, and they’d be that much closer to the postseason.

It was almost as if they didn’t realize the chance they had. A slow start; a third period flurry; a 4-2 loss.

Braden Holtby, who has a history of good starts against Boston, did his best. But the rest of the team did not. He made a number of crucial saves, including a robbery of Chris Kelly in the first period, but the rest of the team could not deliver what they needed most — goals. Or, at least not enough when it mattered to win.

The best forward line for the Capitals of late has been the “third” line of Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, and Eric Fehr, and they were the ones who delivered the team’s first goal, while they were already mired in a 3-0 hole. Chimera scored his 14th of the season with 10 seconds remaining in the second period.

In the third, the Capitals seized a bit of momentum back. It was the way they wanted to play, but it was too little, too late. They need to begin games this way, not find their rhythm while attempting to chip away at a two-goal lead.

“I thought that most of the third period, we took the play to one of the best teams in the league. That’s a positive for us,” said Fehr. “Definitely don’t want to take that long, but we know they are a good team, and in our own rink, we should be able to use momentum and create chances.”

Once again, in the dying seconds of the third period, a puck found the back of the net for the Capitals. Young hope Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second goal of the season, but it was too late. The Capitals had found the recipe, but they were already cooked.

Washington Capitals Game 63 Recap: Bruins dominate Caps in 3-0 shutout

Last Saturday, when the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-2, in Boston, it was the Caps’ fourth win in a row, making it look like the team would make a serious run at a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Three losses later, two to the Philadelphia Flyers and Thursday night to Boston, 3-0, nothing could be further from the truth. The Caps looked as lost and frustrated as they have all season in being shutout by the Bruins.

The Caps fell to fifth in the Metropolitan Division. They sit four points behind second place Philly, two behind third place New York and one behind Columbus, which they face Saturday at Verizon Center, with their season on the brink.

It would be hard to blame Braden Holtby for this one. The embattled goalie made 40 saves, while newly-acquired Jaroslav Halak watched from the bench, and was often left to fend for himself as the Capitals continued the disturbing trend of getting massively outshot. The Caps managed just eight shots on goal through the first 40 minutes en route to a game total of 16, tying their season low.

Boston got goals from Gregory Campbell and Loui Eriksson in the second and an empty netter from Brad Marchand with 1:34 left in the contest.

Washington was without the services of Brooks Laich, who returned to D.C. early with a lower body injury, and John Erskine, who was involved in a fight in Philly and did not dress for the game. Cameron Schilling, who hadn’t played for Hershey in two weeks with an injury, was recalled to make his season debut, as was forward Chris Brown, acquired from Phoenix in the Martin Erat deal. Ryan Stoa, who made his Caps debut earlier in the week, was in the lineup as well.

Neither team was assessed a penalty, though several questionable hits probably could have merited a call.

But that fact was academic, as the Capitals played through much of this one as if nothing was on the line. If they don’t find answers soon, that will most certainly be the case.

 

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win ugly in Boston 4-2

OVECHKIN’S TWO PPGS LEADS CAPS TO 4TH STRAIGHT WIN; RECORDS 800th CAREER POINT

It certainly wasn’t pretty at times, but the Washington Capitals travelled to Boston and picked up their fourth straight win, defeating the Bruins 4-2 on Saturday.

The Caps got two power play goals by Alex Ovechkin, his 42nd and 44th goals of the season, Joel Ward’s 18th of the year, and the game-winner at 10:53 of the third period on a breakaway by Bruin-killer Eric Fehr.

Braden Holtby made 36 saves, including 4 of 5 on the penalty kill, including several on a critical 5-on-3 kill in the first period.

It’s the Caps fifth win in their past six games against Boston, with a rematch coming up later next week.

Washington took advantage of the penalty-marred affair, going 2 for 6 with the extra man, generating 14 power play shots. Boston had almost as many shots shorthanded and 4-on-4 (4) as they did on the power play (5).

With the win by Philadelphia on Saturday, the Caps remain one point behind the Flyers for third in the Metropolitan Division and an automatic berth in the playoffs. The Caps host face the Flyers Sunday at 12:30 pm ET and again Wednesday in Philly.

 

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