May 24, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 16 Recap: Caps end of game surge is extinguished by the Flames in OT


“I’m not happy with the overall result,” stated Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz after the 3-2 overtime loss to Flames, however, “I think the positive is that we came back and got a point…our team is better than one period of hockey.”

The Washington Capitals hosted the Calgary Flames on Friday the 13th making it their third game in just four days, with the first two games on the road. The travel fatigue seemed to effect the Caps and had only one shot on goal for the first ten minutes.

Calgary was skating very fast and the Caps struggled to keep up with them for the first forty minutes. The Caps felt the urgency and bounced back in the third. Trott referred to the third and fourth lines as his “workers” and credits the bottom six for stepping it up. Michael Latta and Jay Beagle scored for the Caps.

“Latta was a spark plug,” said Trotz. Michael Latta scored his first goal of the season and his second career goal (11/15/13 at DET). Latta has earned 12 points (2g, 10a) in 77 career NHL games.

Goalie Braden Holtby had the night off and Philip Grubauer was in net for the Capitals and stopped 26 of 29 shots in his third start of the season. Trotz called Grubauer “pretty sharp” and made some critical saves to keep the Caps in the game.

Captain Alex Ovechkin still has the monkey on this back and wants to get the goal and move on. Coach Trotz weighed in at the post-game presser.  “Today I did [sense mounting pressure] for the first time. I think he wants to get it [passing Sergei Fedorov (483) for first place among Russian-born NHL players in career goals]. There’s no question. I haven’t talked to him about it, but the best advice I can give him is to ‘play your normal game.’ He’s scored a gazillion goals in this league, and to our team: don’t look for Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] to score that goal. Don’t overpass. He’s scored a lot of goals. Play the way we play, and I guarantee you, he will score that goal, and he’ll score many after that.”

A few of the players had shared their thoughts about playing with urgency and resiliency of the team.

Brooks Laich: “With a caliber of hockey team that we have, we expected more. I know it’s three games in four nights, but they traveled last night too, they played last night. There’s no excuses. If you look at our hockey team, I think it’s a game that we should’ve had. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it.”

Michael Latta:  “We’ve got a lot of great character in this room. It shows. We could’ve had a couple more in the third, I feel like, We’ve got a great group in here. We never give up, that’s for sure.”

Andre Burakovsky : “I think we have so much energy… I think everyone can really go for 60 minutes here. At the end of the games, other teams are getting tired but we can just keep going. I think we kind of know that we have to come back every time we get the puck behind their D [defense]. That’s the way we want to play, that’s where we’re good. That’s something we have to do all the time, not just at the end.”

Congratulations to Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz for coaching his 1,294th NFL game which ties Jacques Martin for 10th place on the all-time NHL games coached list.

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)


Caps Notes:

- The Capitals outshot Calgary 36-29 and won 33 of 65 faceoffs (50.7%).
- Washington has held its opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games (10/15-11/13), marking the longest streak since the Capitals held their opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games during the 1999-2000 season (1/6/00-2/3/00). The franchise record for most consecutive games holding an opponent to fewer than 30 shots is 20 games, set during the 1984-85 season.
- The Capitals have posted a 6-2-1 record at home this season and have earned a point in four consecutive games at Verizon Center (10/30-11/13: 3-0-1).
Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 278th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: High-flying Caps douse Flames


The Washington Capitals kicked off the season with a nice 3-1-0 homestand. But in the second full week of the season, these Caps were sent out on the road to travel across the plains of Western Canada, out to the coast, and back again on a three-game swing.

The Capitals got off on the right foot, as Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and the Caps routed a poor-showing Calgary Flames squad 6-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome, with five different players and all four lines scoring. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Calgary Flames 11/4/14

The last time the Capitals won a game in regulation, it was in Calgary on October 25. They were hoping to repeat that Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

Goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and Joel Ward had the Caps leading after two, but Calgary tied things up in the third. In overtime, Sean Monahan’s wrister ended things for the Flames. Caps lose, 4-3. The Caps end up with one point, but still remain winless in their last five games.


First Star: Alex Ovechkin

It was an historic night for Ovechkin, who surpassed Peter Bondra in franchise scoring, his 826th point coming on an assist to Backstrom in the first period. Ovechkin finished the night with seven shots on goal, blocked a shot late in the third and carried the puck into the zone – a play that almost led to Tom Wilson scoring the game-winning goal. He covered Monahan on the eventual game-ending play, which will surely be dissected tomorrow, but it would be wise to watch what the actual defensemen were doing on the play.

Second Star: Nicklas Backstrom

Backstrom collected a goal and an assist in the loss. He has three goals and 10 assists on the season. His saucer pass to Tom Wilson late in the third almost led to a game-winning goal. Backstrom has a point in each of his last three games, and Tuesday was his second consecutive multi-point game and his fourth multi-point game of the season.

Third Star: Marcus Johansson

Johansson’s goal Tuesday night was his fifth of the season, and his third in five games. He’s displaying a more aggressive game this season, and appears to have found some chemistry with his linemates Troy Brouwer and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Despite strong effort, a Flame-out


The last three players to touch the Calgary Flames’ overtime-forcing goal in the third period wore a Washington Capitals sweater. So of course, after the Caps fairly dominated overtime the Flames scored with just 43 seconds remaining, sending the Caps to their fifth straight loss, a 4-3 decision that should have had a better result based on the play on the ice.

The Caps (4-5-3) played their best game in two weeks, but lucky bounces and fluky goals were the rule in this one, and the losing streak continues.

Lance Bouma got the Flames on the board first. a shot from the point by Kris Russell was knocked down by a mass of bodies, but Bouma had position on Mike Green — at the end of a long shift — in the crease, and tapped the rebound past Braden Holtby.

Just 1:19 later, though, the top line came together to tie it up. Tom Wilson dug the puck out of the corner and sent to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovi wristed a shot toward net that Nick Backstrom tipped past Jonas Hiller to tie the game.

The assist marked Ovechkin’s 826th career point, moving the Great Eight past Peter Bondra as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

Midway through the second period, defenseman Mark Giordano faked out Tom Wilson at the point, carried into the slot, and lifted a backhand past Holtby (21 saves) to make it 2-1 Flames.

As with the first goal though, the Caps came right back moments later. Marcus Johansson’s long shot off the end boards bounced off Hiller’s leg pad and into the net. It was Johansson’s fifth goal of the campaign.

Washington took advantage of a five-on-three situation a couple of minutes later. Backstrom, on the goalie’s left post, passed across the crease to Joel Ward, who banged one off the inside of Hiller’s pads and into the net to put the Caps up 3-2.

It stayed that way until 5:10 left. Mike Green was beaten to a puck in the corner, but it went straight to Marcus Johansson in the slot. Johansson tried to clear the puck to the boards. but it ricocheted off Troy Brouwer’s skate and past the surprised Holtby to even it at 3 goals apiece.

The Caps had a chance at the buzzer to avoid overtime. Ovechkin blocked a shot and beat the Calgary defender to the puck. He fed Backstrom on the far wing, who found Wilson on the doorstep. But Wilson’s shot was denied by Hiller as time expired, prompting overtime.

Then, after having the advantage at play most of the extra session, Sean Monahan beat Holtby with 43 seconds left to end the game unceremoniously.

  • The Caps outshot the Flames 34-23.
  • Bondra, on Ovechkin: “It has been a thrill to watch Alex play for the Capitals during his young, illustrious career. He is an extremely talented player and I couldn’t be happier for him on achieving this great milestone.”
  • Liam O’Brien fought Derek Engelland, pretty much to a draw, despite giving up quite a bit of size and weight.
  • Tom Wilson continues to shine on the top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom. On several occasions, he made room in the crease and constantly gives the top a line a physical presence with opposition defenders.
  • Speaking of physical presence, Backstrom came to Ovechkin’s defense on a check in the second. Ovi was dumped by Curtis Glencross and Backstrom clobbered him before Wilson joined the fray. Glencross received a roughing minor and the Caps scored on the ensuing penalty.
  • Johansson’s maturity continues to impress. He played a very solid possession game and had a pair shots, including one in overtime that almost won it were it not for Hiller’s excellent save.


Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Calgary Flames 10/25/14

In honor of Jay Beagle’s grand homecoming to Calgary, the Washington Capitals pulled out a 3-1 win over the Flames.

Joel Ward started the scoring for the Caps in the first, then Dennis Wideman (yeah, that Dennis Wideman) tied things up before intermission. Ward got past Kari Ramo again for the lead, and the Caps never looked back. Nicklas Backstrom’s tally made it 3-1, and suddenly the road trip started to look pretty good.


First Star:

Joel Ward.

Last year, this guy locked himself in a bathroom stall and broke his career goal and points record. This year, he has 4 goals and 1 assist through 7 games, and it’s looking like another good year for him. The remarkable thing about his 2-goal performance against the Flames was that he wasn’t skating with his twin, Jason Chimera, or Eric Fehr. In an effort to shake up the lines a bit after a frustrating night in Edmonton, Trotz bumped Fehr up to the first line, and Ward to what is ostensibly the fourth line with Liam O’Brien and Michael Latta, and Chimera skated with Jay Beagle, the hometown boy, and that other Russian guy, Evgeny Kuznetsov.


Second Star:

Braden Holtby.

He didn’t see a whole lot of action, but answered when called upon. He had a couple “yeah-my-teammates-really-needed-this-save” moments in Edmonton, and rectified those mistakes with a nearly perfect performance in his 20-save win.


Third Star:

Nicklas Backstrom.

One goal, a breakaway, and an overall stand-up guy earns Backstrom a spot on this list (again). He is only really here because he scored his 3rd period goal with 19:19 remaining in the period and I wanted an excuse to post this video:

Honorable Mention

Brooks Orpik, who should actually be the third star but there isn’t a dated music video to accompany his team-high 10 hits.

Washington Capitals Game 7 Recap: Ward twice as nice after demotion

After dropping the first of the three-game western Canada swing Wednesday in Edmonton, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz jumbled the lines again, moving Joel Ward down to the fourth line for Saturday night’s tilt in Calgary.

Perhaps the motivation worked, as Ward had two goals to pace the Caps over the Flames 3-1 in the Saddledome.

The Caps (4-1-2) got on the board midway through the first. Calgary turned the puck over trying to kill a penalty and Ward collected the loose puck along the left wing and beat Karri Ramo stick side for a 1-0 lead.

Calgary tied it up late in the period. Troy Brouwer took an unnecessary retaliation roughing penalty and with just 10 seconds remaining in the frame, Dennis Wideman slipped one past Braden Holtby. It was Wideman’s fifth goal in six games.

In the second, the Caps re-took the lead and it was Ward again. Michael Latta took a stretch pass from Brooks Orpik and raced into the zone and behind the net. He centered the puck and Ward kicked it from his skate to his backhand and beat Ramo to go up 2-1. It was Ward’s seventh career multi-goal game.

Nick Backstrom made it a two-goal game just 41 seconds into the third. Karl Alzner sprung the Swedish centerman and Backstrom used a Calgary defenseman as a screen in the middle of the ice and whipped a wrist shot past the screened Ramo and a 3-1 cushion.

Braden Holtby made 20 saves, none bigger than the kick save he made on Paul Byron on a breakaway midway through the third.

The Caps move on to Vancouver to face the Canucks Sunday night at 9:30 pm Eastern.

  • Brooks Orpik had a tremendous game on the blueline, registering an assist and 10 hits. He was a physical force all night.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t factor in the scoring, but played another solid game all around with four hits and a terrific backcheck on what would otherwise have been a short-handed breakaway for Calgary.
  • Troy Brouwer had a noticeably tough night. The veteran winger took the bad penalty which led to the only Flames goal of the night, he made a pair of turnovers on consecutive shifts in the third when he stopped skating, and whiffed on a wide open empty net late in the third. Smashed sticks at the bench = 2.
  • Caps were 52% in the dot and outshot Calgary 30-21. They were credited with just five giveaways on the road.

Washington Capitals Game 11 Recap: Win streak ends as Caps can’t find footing against Flames

The Washington Capitals had been playing their best hockey of the year, winning three straight, including the first two games of a five-game trip through western Canada. But Saturday night in Calgary, that good play came to a screeching halt as the Caps were outplayed much of the night by the Flames, and fell 5-2 before a full house at the renovated Saddledome.

With the loss, the Caps fall back below .500 at 5-6-0.

Braden Holtby was pulled less than 13 minutes into the game, while Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti were the only Caps to score. That right there should tell you something about the Caps’ fortunes in this one. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Capitals rally to win 5-4 in shootout, Carrick scores first NHL goal

Not all went as planned for the Washington Capitals during their home opener against the Calgary Flames Thursday night. After falling behind down 3-0 in the first period, and Jack Hillen leaving the game with a leg injury, it was clear the odds were not in the Capitals’  favor. But the Caps finally found their legs and rallied to earn a victory in a shootout, 5-4.

Jack Hillen was injured on a clean hit from Calgary’s Lance  Bouma in the first period, but it was unclear if the injury was to his knee or hip. He left the ice in visible pain, and it was announced that he would not return to the game, leaving the Caps to play with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

Tom Wilson avenged the hit by trading punches with Bouma, but it didn’t do much to rally the rest of the team. The Flames were already up 1-0, and scored again several minutes later. Postgame, Adam Oates told reporters Hillen had been taken to the hospital, but would only divulge that it was a lower-body injury. Tough luck for Hillen, who was sidelined much of last season with a shoulder injury.

An Alex Ovechkin slashing penalty led to a4-on-4 situation where the Flames tallied again. Braden Holtby (three goals allowed on 11 shots) was pulled before the end of the first period and Michal Neuvirth  stepped in, stopping 27 of 28 shots, stellar in relief.  Holtby will start Saturday, per Adam Oates.

Midway through the second period, a different team began to emerge. Connor Carrick, who had a pretty rough night early (on ice for two goals against), skated out of the penalty box to a clean breakway off a smart Marcus Johansson pass, scoring his first career NHL goal in the process, providing the jumpstart the Capitals needed to chip away at Calgary’s lead.

“Momentum’s  a big part of the NHL hockey game,” said Carrick. “You hear a lot of coaches mention it throughout the league, so anything I can do to swing the momentum our way, I’ll be happy to do, and I was lucky to do it tonight.”

Carrick is in good company. The last Capital to score their first career NHL goal on opening night was Alex Ovechkin on Oct. 5. 2005.

If there was one thing that worked for the Capitals, it was the power play. The Capitals were 2-for-3 on the power play for the night. Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom both scored on the man advantage, and Backstrom’s tally tied the game in the late minutes of the third period.

Three Capitals had multi-point nights: Ovechkin (2g, 1a), Backstrom (1g, 2a) and Johansson (3a).

Neuvirth stopped both of Calgary’s shooters in the skills portion, and Grabovski and Ovechkin sunk their attempts for Washington giving the Capitals their first victory of the season.

Postgame, Oates spoke about the mindset he instilled in the players after the first period that allowed them to come back from a three-goal deficit.

“We talked about how we had 40 minutes to try to get it back. We talked about a couple things we did wrong in the first period and not to give them another one,” said Oates. “We wanted our D [Defense] to be more involved, but not do crazy pinches and give them a free goal – just stay focused and get it one at a time.”

Washington Capitals Trade Dennis Wideman to Calgary Flames

Dennis Wideman during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

After the press conferencintroducing Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals, the media were able to have a side session with GM George McPhee and the subject of today’s trade of the right of D Dennis Wideman was obviously a topic of discussion. Here are a few quotes from McPhee on the trade, how it went down, and the reason behind letting Wideman go.

On how it went down: “Calgary asked before the draft [about Wideman] if they could talk to him if we weren’t going to sign him. Based on where we’re going and wanting [Dmitry] Orlov to play more this year and having cap space to do the right things, we weren’t going to be able to sign him. We gave Calgary permission to talk to him and they were close to a deal at [last week’s NHL] draft and it would have been a fifth round pick at the draft. Then they called after the draft and said, ‘Listen, if we can get him done before July 1 [start of free agent period], we’ll give you a pick for next year’. So I said, ‘By all means.’ They were first class and it’s good for us and great for Dennis and it’s good for the Flames.”

On the player received from Calgary, Jordan Henry: “He’s going to be a free agent, but we have some interest in having him in the organization so we need to talk with him a little bit.

On why Wideman didn’t fit into the Caps plans: “It wasn’t clear but based on what we had to do in putting all the payroll models together it was going to be hard to keep him. He plays right and D and we have two other right defensemen in [Mike] Green and [John] Carlson that need new deals and need to play a lot. He did a great job for us. We traded for him to replace Mike, fill in for Mike when Mike was injured — and Mike was injured a lot the last couple of years — and he helped out. But we think Orlov is in a place now that he can play just as much.”

On if he thinks the Caps need to add a defenseman: “We think we’re in pretty good shape. Orlov can play and we like the Schilling kid. He played really well and should see games here [this season]. in my mid, we have seven with a possible eight.”

On if he’d had any negotiations with Wideman before Calgary called: “I didn’t want to negotiate with him if I wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to do it. I don’t want to mislead a player or the agent. So we told them we’re going to need som time and then when if got right down to it I didn’t think we were going to be able to do it.”


Per team press release:

Capitals Acquire a Fifth Round Draft Pick in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Calgary Flames for Defenseman Dennis Wideman

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have acquired a fifth-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and defenseman Jordan Henry from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Henry, 26, collected 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and 97 penalty minutes in 68 games with Abbotsford and Chicago of the American Hockey League (AHL) last season.

Wideman recorded 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists) in 82 games with Washington last season. The Kitchener, Ontario, native was named to his first NHL All-Star Game last season and has tallied 251 points (67 goals, 184 assists) in 535 career NHL games with St. Louis, Boston, Florida and Washington.

Both players are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Bourque gets five-game suspension for hit on Backstrom

Rene Bourque, the Calgary winger that threw an intentional elbow on Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, knocking him from Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Flames, was suspended five games Wednesday evening by NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.

In the video explaining the suspension, Shanahan cited the Bouque was a repeat offender and that the primary point of impact was Backstrom’s head, a clear violation of NHL’s Rule 48 making illegal checks to the head.

Backstrom did not meet with reporters following the Calgary game and was not available to media today after practice, which he did not participate in.  Coach Dale Hunter said Backstrom took part in an off-ice workout and will continue to be evaluated and monitored by team doctors.

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