May 27, 2016

Washington Capitals Second Round Game 6 Recap: Disappointment again

CAPS RALLY FROM THREE-GOAL DEFICIT BUT BOUNCED IN OVERTIME

 (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Yup. We all feel that way. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals rallied from a three-goal deficit to force overtime, but once there they were overwhelmed and Nick Bonino scored 6:32 into the extra session to promote the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, sending the President’s Trophy winning Caps packing, once again.

It was, perhaps, the most Caps-like way of being eliminated from a playoff series.

Logically, it shouldn’t have gotten to overtime. The Penguins came out focused and flying, dominating the Caps in all facets of the game though the first 38 minutes. Phil Kessel put the Pens up 1-0 in the first, then Brooks Orpik was assessed a double-minor high-sticking penalty, and Kessel and Carl Hagelin made it 3-0, cashing in on both penalties, midway though the second period.

But T.J. Oshie got the Caps on the board with a power play goal with 1:30 left in the second, giving the Caps some hope going into the third. Then Justin Williams added one 7:23 into the third period and suddenly a comeback looked do-able. Then things got weird, as the Penguins were assessed three consecutive delay-of-game penalties, giving the Caps a pair of five-on-three power plays.

They made good on just one, however, with John Carlson’s rocket tying the game at three with 13:01 left in regulation.

Both teams had good opportunities down the stretch, but as they had all series, Braden Holtby and Matt Murray stood tall and kept things deadlocked to force an extra session.

Unfortunately for the road team, the Penguins came out on fire once again in overtime. A sequence early should have ended it there, but Holtby made several “how did he do that” saves, and Jay Beagle dove to deflect a puck off the goal line, only to prolong the agony.

Bonino’s game winner came off another excellent save by Holtby, a low kick save, but Matt Niskanen was unable to tie up the Pens’ forward and Bonino got just enough of the rebound on the backhand to sneak it past the prone Holtby and into the gaping net.

There are no clever words to describe the disappointment for this Caps team being eliminated in the second round, prolonging the District’s bizarre tenure of being the only city with at least three of the four major sports not advancing a team into a conference finals since the last time the Caps did it in 1998.

This team seemed to be “built the right way.” It rolled four lines all season long, and had legitimate NHL forwards in the press box most nights. Could they use another defenseman? Sure, but who can’t? As they’re constructed, the Caps have a nice blend of youth and experience and should challenge the top of the conference again next season.

That doesn’t help now, though. For now, it’s disappointment, yet again.

Washington Capitals Second Round Game 2 Recap: Fehr’s late tip tops Caps

OUTPLAYED MUCH OF GAME, CAPS CAN’T FIND THE GO-AHEAD IN THIRD

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

For much of the second half of the regular season, the Washington Capitals got into a habit of playing 20-25 minutes with enough energy to pull out a favorable result. On Saturday night at a raucous Verizon Center, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Old friend Eric Fehr tipped an entry pass from Evgeni Malkin past Braden Holtby late in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins evened their Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup with the Caps at a game apiece with a 2-1 regulation win. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Second Round Game 1: Oshie’s hat trick, overtime winner propel Caps in Game 1 win

With dozens of hats sailing to the Verizon Center playing surface and Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose” playing over the public address system, the ultimate outcome of the opening game in the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins lay still in doubt.

Fans begged for T.J. Oshie’s hat-trick goal, the game-winning wraparound 9:33 into the overtime session, to stand as called on the ice. The building’s pressure-cooker status reached its peak as referee Dan O’Rourke took off his headset after a review that seemingly lasted as long as this all-time playoff contest itself.

His affirmation of the goal resulted in a raucous scene of euphoria. What more often than not felt like the first round of a heavyweight title bout brought a 4-3 decision in favor of the hosts, the latest step in the to-be-determined journey of this team that, at least for now, wears the hopes of its city on its back.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals First Round Game 3: Caps take 3-0 series lead after penalty filled affair

OVECHKIN TAKES FRANCHISE RECORD FOR PLAYOFF POINTS; ORPIK EXITS AFTER ROUGH HIT

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Ima

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).

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals First Round Game 2 Recap: Holtby stellar as Caps build series lead

HOLTBY MAKES 41 SAVES TO LIFT CAPS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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 First Round Game 1 Recap: Caps withstand early pressure, shut Flyers down and out

CAPS LIMIT FLYERS TO 18 SHOTS IN GAME 1 SHUTOUT

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

John Carlson and Jay Beagle scored, the team defense was stifling — especially on the penalty kill — and the Washington Capitals took Game 1 of their first round matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0.

The Flyers managed seven shots on their four power play opportunities without scoring. The Caps, meanwhile, were 1 for 6 with their extra-man opportunities.

Braden Holtby was strong, especially early with the Flyers spending so much time with the advantage. [Read more…]

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.

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.

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.

https://twitter.com/washcaps/status/718986999819055104

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.

Washington Capitals Game 79 Recap: Holtby’s record chance has to wait as Isles top Caps in OT

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…]

Washington Capitals Game 77 Recap: Caps set season high in shots in win over Avalanche

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…]

Washington Capitals Game 75 Recap: Caps clinch Presidents trophy; home ice for playoffs

CAPS CLINCH BEST OVERALL BEFORE ANYONE ELSE IN EAST CLINCH PLAYOFFS

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Led by a three-goal third period, The Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 and officially clinching the 2015-16 President’s trophy and assured home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With a couple of rebound goals,  a late power play strike, and solid goal-tending, the Caps (54-16-5, 113) wrapped up the final regular-season prize of the Presidents trophy for most points in the regular season — and still have seven games to play.

The fourth line came to play and Tom Wilson benefited the most from it. Picking up a rebound off a Mike Richards shot, Wilson made a nifty little backhand move from his knees to put the puck in the goal and the Caps on top for the rest of the night. An expert exploitation of a broken Blue Jackets’ stick. [Read more…]

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