August 9, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 33 Recap: Grubauer solid, Caps enter break with gritty win over Canes


(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals are proving adept a winning hockey games in lots of different ways. The league should take notice.

On Monday, backup goalie Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves — and defenders blocked 27 more shots — as the Caps won their sixth in a row, a 2-1 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Caps enter the Christmas break at 25-6-2 as they extended their franchise-best start of the season. Washington leads the Metro Division over the New York Islanders by nine points — with two games in hand — at the break. The Caps are 13-1-1 in their past 15 games. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 4 Recap: Backstrom returns with a bang in win over Canes

Guess who’s Back(strom), Back(strom) again

Nicklas Backstrom returned from his hip surgery and rehab to loud applause and much fanfare to face the Carolina Hurricanes, and with an assist on the Caps’ first power play, he wasted no time notching his first point of the season and his 47th against Carolina — more than he has against any other NHL team.

In the end, Backstrom accounted for a goal and two assists as the Washington Capitals downed the Canes 4-1 at Verizon Center to close their homestand with another win.  [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 77 Recap: Caps take care of business against Canes


The Washington Capitals took care of business Tuesday night. They scored early, they responded to a couple of their opponent’s goals, and the best player in franchise history added to his accolades. At the finish, the Caps beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 before a not-quite capacity Verizon Center.

With the two points, the Caps pull within a point of both Pittsburgh and the Islanders, tied for second in the Metropolitan Division and both idle, while further distancing themselves from the now-remote possibility of missing the playoffs.

The Caps got things started early in the first. On a good cycle, Curtis Glencross and Tom Wilson kept the puck deep in the Carolina end and Mike Green snuck into the slot, took the pass from Wilson, and beat Cam Ward for his eighth goal of the season.

Then, the moment everyone was waiting for.

Midway through the frame, Evgeny Kuznetsov entered the offensive zone carrying the puck, drawing the defense to him. He backhanded it to Ovechkin on the left wing, and the Great Eight whipped it past Ward glove-side for his 50th of the season.

Ovechkin becomes the sixth player in NHL history to record six 50-goal seasons, joining Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (9), Marcel Dionne (6), Guy Lafleur (6) and Mario Lemieux (6), and with that goal he tied Peter Bondra for the Caps all-time leading goal scorer, with 472 career goals.

“Every year, it’s harder and harder,” Ovechkin said. “But it’s a huge accomplishment with those names up there. It’s always nice. But every year, you don’t know what to expect from yourself, how you are going to play.”

“It was good,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “I mean I hadn’t been around anybody who’s ever scored 50 goals in this league, especially the way it’s so hard to score goals in this league. You know it’s a part of history, a guy who scores 50 in this league right now the way the goal scoring is. Teams check. The goaltenders are so good in the National Hockey League. To get 50, I mean I think I said yesterday, I think he’s like 20 percent than the people next to him.”

But nothing comes easy for this team.

Carolina halved the lead exactly five minutes into the second, as Alexander Semin beat Karl Alzner and Nathan Gerbe was able to take advantage and beat a defenseless Braden Holtby. Later, Tom Wilson got pick-pocketed in the offensive zone, sending the play the other way. Eventually, Chris Terry found Eric Staal completely alone on the doorstep, and Stall buried into the open net to tie the game at two.

The Caps recaptured the lead at 17:06 of the second. Jason Chimera made a really hifty backhanded pass to Brooks Laich, who was streaking through the slot. Laich deked, and slipped the puck past the fallen Ward.

Then, while P.A. announcer Wes Johnson was calling the goal, they scored again. Ovechkin slid it through the crease to Joel Ward, who got enough of the puck to get it past Ward to make it a two-goal game again.

With the assist, Ovechkin tied Michael Pivonka for No. 2 on the team’s all-time assist leader list.

All that was left was for an uneventful third period to play out, which it did.

The Caps resume play Thursday in Montreal.

Washington Capitals Game 63 Recap: Caps play poorly in loss to Canes

By trading Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty on Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes organization signaled to the NHL that they were waving the white flag on the season. Apparently, the team didn’t get the memo because the Hurricanes looked like anything but a defeated team in their 3-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday.

The last place Hurricanes, with backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, proved to be too much for the sliding Capitals who have gone without a point in three straight games for only the second time this season. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes 12/4/14

Eric Fehr scored with just over four minutes left to give Caps a win over Carolina. Jay Beagle scored (good boy). Alexander Semin waiting until game 25 to score his first of the season. Regulation win on the road!

First star: Eric Fehr. Fehr scored the game-winning goal against the Hurricanes, saving the Capitals from overtime. He played 15:10 and had 3 SOG and 3 hits in the game.

Second star: Jason Chimera. Jay Beagle’s first period goal would not have been possible without Chimera’s speed on the rush. Beagle tapped in the rebound from Chimera’s shot for the Caps first goal. Chimera finished the night with 5 shots on goal and 13:09 TOI.

Third star: Jay Beagle. Beagle is here because he actually scored a goal on an rebound, which the rest of the team seems to have trouble with. Good on you, dude.

Washington Capitals Game 14 Recap: Capitals blow lead, but Backstrom wins it 4-3 in OT over Hurricanes

Friday night in Chicago, the Washington Capitals were able to overcome a multi-goal deficit to win. Saturday night in DC, the Capitals were the ones who were nearly vanquished by the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, but fought back in overtime to win 4-3.

The Caps led 3-1 after two with goals from Troy Brouwer and Jay Beagle, respectively, in the first period. Eric Fehr padded the lead in the second period, with his second goal of the season. But the Hurricanes creeped back in. Goals in the third period by Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm sent the game to overtime. Nicklas Backstrom nailed an Alex Ovechkin rebound home for the 4-3 win.


  • Tom Wilson left the game in the second period with an upper body injury. It is not related to his ankle injury, per Barry Trotz.
  • Eric Fehr tied Marcus Johansson, Ovechkin and Backstrom with 4 shots on goal. He wasn’t present in the overtime period, because Trotz said he wanted a player that was better in “open ice.” Joel Ward got the call instead, but the logic is flawed. Ward is a grinder who scores most of his goals from close range. Fehr is a speedy winger with a good shot. There may have been something else that factored into the decision to keep Fehr on the bench during OT, and the Caps won anyway, but there was probably a better solution.
  • Thanks to Tom Wilson’s early exit, Jay Beagle earned yet another promotion to the Capitals top line. Beagle is a hard working grinder who does put a lot of effort into what he does, but he is not a top-six caliber skater or offensive talent by any stretch. He has 14 goals through 201 career games. Those numbers aside, it makes sense that the coach would want to shake things up a bit, but why not shuffle amongst the top-six? Ovechkin needs a guy on the other side that can keep up with his speed and skill, and Beagle isn’t the best choice for that.
  • Brooks Laich missed the game with an “upper body” injury, per the team. Trotz mentioned that he was kept out of the game as a precautionary measure, and his shoulder will be reevaluated by the medical staff on Monday.
  • Justin Peters didn’t have a great night. He got the start because Braden Holtby faced 40 shots in Chicago on Friday, and it was a back-to-back situation. The Canes’ 3rd goal was a deflection, but it was definitely one that he should have stopped. Goaltending is not a concern for the Capitals, but it has played a role in the team’s record.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes 11/8/14

Troy Brouwer tallied an unassisted power play goal for the Caps in the first, and Jay Beagle improbably scored his first of the season. Suddenly, the Capitals were leading 2-0 and life looked great. Riley Nash narrowed the gap for the Canes, but fresh-from-the-press box Eric Fehr gave the Caps the dreaded two-goal lead in the second period.  A couple bad defensive plays later, Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm have tied the game with less than 10 minutes remaining. In overtime, Cool Hands Nick Backstrom buried an Alex Ovechkin rebound, and Caps win, 4-3.


First Star:

Nicklas Backstrom.

In overtime, Alex Ovechkin lobbed a rocket at Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin. It created a rebound that went straight to the tape of Nicklas Backstrom’s stick. Backstrom shoots, puck in net. Game over.  Second win in two nights for the Capitals. Backstrom finished the night with 4 shots on goal and 22:39 TOI. He’s tied with Ovechkin in Capitals team scoring with 14 points.


Second Star:

John Carlson.

Carlson was the set-up man in the Caps 4-3 OT win against Carolina, with assists on Jay Beagle’s first period goal and Eric Fehr’s second period goal. The defenseman now has 11 points on the season  (2g, 9a) and is clearly Brooks Orpik’s offensive-minded better half. He led all Caps defensemen in TOI, skating 23:35.


Third Star.

Eric Fehr.

After watching from the press box for two straight games, Fehr proved that he deserves a roster spot in a big way by contributing a goal in the Caps win, their second straight victory. Fehr was not rewarded with any ice during OT, but other than a brutal turnover that led to a Canes goal, his third line was an integral part of the OT win.

Washington Capitals Game 80 Recap: Caps calm ‘Canes 5-2

Neither the Washington Capitals or the Carolina Hurricanes had anything to play for on Thursday night and for half of the game both teams played like it. Eventually, the Caps were able to exert their dominance and earned a convincing 5-2 win in their final road game of the season.

You had to wonder what the mentality of the Caps would be heading into this one, their first meaningless game since 2007. Luckily for them, the third line continued to be the team’s most consistent line and the Caps were able to ride their strong performance to an easy win.

Joel Ward kicked things off quickly scoring just 1:02 into the game. Linemate Jason Chimera poked the puck away from the defense below the red line and Eric Fehr took the puck and fed it to Ward with a nifty backhand pass. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 41 Recap: Capitals lose third straight game, 4-3 in overtime to Hurricanes

Image credit: Patrick McDermott

Image credit: Patrick McDermott


In their first game of 2014, at home against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals came out swinging, but were down a goal before the first period ended. After a flurry of goals during the second period, and a scoreless third, Jeff Skinner completed his hat trick in overtime, and the Canes won 4-3.

On December 29, the Washington Capitals lobbed 50 shots at Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (to his team’s 17), but only had one goal to show for it, and lost in the shootout. The next day, December 30, they were narrowly outshot by the Ottawa Senators, but lost 3-1 in regulation. Thursday night’s game was one where the Caps actually had goals to show for their efforts, but not a win.

It was the Capitals’ third straight loss, five in their last six games, and six of their last eight games. Through 41 games, the Capitals have only 10 wins in regulation.

“We had 40 shots. We did a lot of good things; we outshot them 10-0 at the start of the game,” said Adam Oates.

“Then we get a too-many-men penalty and then they get a 5-on-3 and score. We only had one power-play in the game which I was surprised at, but we did a lot of good things in the game.”

In the second period, five goals were scored within 3:45, three of those belonging to the Capitals. But they did what they’ve done 21 other times this season: allowed quick response goals against almost immediately after one of their own.

Brooks Laich called it “sort of embarrassing.”

“We know how to respond when we do score. We can’t let that continue to happen. That’s a problem that we have to fix,” said Steve Oleksy, who scored a goal in Thursday’s game, his first in 10 games.

“I think everyone in this dressing room, everyone that is a part of this team and this organization all know that we have to play better hockey,” Oleksy continued.

“We are not playing our best hockey, but we are finding a way to get some points in the mix. Obviously, we have had some games that we probably should have had two points, but you are still getting some valuable points. At the end of the day, we know that we have a lot more to give, and we are going to figure it out and we are going to turn it around here.”

Washington Capitals Game 35 Recap: Caps finer in Carolina; Ovi’s 400th

Alex Ovechkin poses with puck after his 400th career goal. (courtesy @CapitalsPR)

Alex Ovechkin poses with puck after his 400th career goal. (courtesy @CapitalsPR)


The Washington Capitals got goals from four different players — including the 400th career goal by their captain Alex Ovechkin — as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 Friday night.

Philipp Grubauer was strong in goal making 39 saves, many in spectacular fashion as defensive breakdowns — especially in the first two periods — were rampant. [Read more…]

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