March 28, 2017

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…]

Washington Capitals Game 46 Recap: Caps shrug off slow start, pound Blue Jackets

KUZNTESOV WITH 4 ASSISTS, ALZNER TIES TEAM GAMES STREAK

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

If there are any concerns about how the Washington Capitals go about their business, it might be how they seem to have developed a knack for starting games slowly. It happened again Tuesday in Columbus, where the Caps were thoroughly outplayed through the first eight or so minutes of the game.

But as they have so many times in the past, they got going. And once they got going, man, they were tough to stop.

Nicklas Backstrom scored twice, Evgeny Kuznetsov had four assists, and the Caps pasted the Blue Jackets 6-3 at Nationwide Arena.

Braden Holtby became the first goalie to 30 wins, with 32 saves. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 9 Recap: Caps take gritty win over Columbus

NEWCOMERS OSHIE, WILLIAMS SCORE FOR CAPITALS

New team, same ego, as John Tortorella returned to the Verizon Center as newly-appointed coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a messy affair devoid of much offensive cohesiveness, the Washington Capitals were able to scratch out a 2-1 win over Tort’s troops.

Maybe the ghosts of Halloween came out a bit early to haunt the Caps. Looking slow, sloppy, and even a bit tired for the first half of the game, the Caps played a less than stellar outing against the struggling Blue Jackets. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 1/27/15

First star:

Matt Niskanen.

Niskanen set up two of Washington’s three goals in the 4-3 loss and logged the second-highest ice time of all skaters with 22:43 (only Karl Alzner had more), and two shots on goal.

Second star:

Braden Holtby.

He allowed 4 goals on 30 shots and an otherwise somewhat poor outing, but he was Washington’s best penalty killer. Columbus had 5 power plays, and came up empty on all of them thanks to Holby and the PKers.

Third star:

Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov collected a goal (his fifth of the year) and an assist (12) in the loss. He finished the night with a 14:09 TOI and two shots on goal.

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

First star: Mike Green. Green was crucial to Washington’s winning effort in Columbus, with his assists on Troy Brouwer’s game-tying goal and Eric Fehr’s overtime game winning goal. It was arguably one of his strongest performances of the season. His end to end rush just 42 seconds into overtime ended up on the stick of a streaking Eric Fehr, who was essentially airborne, and whacked it past Sergei Bobrovsky for the 5-4 win.

 

Second star: Eric Fehr. He scored the above game-winner, his seventh goal of the season, and collected an assist on Joel Ward’s first-period goal.

Third Star: Karl Alzner. He’s not a guy that typically lights up the scoresheet, but this season, Alzner is bringing the heat. His third period goal was his second of the season and tied the game at 3-3. He also nabbed an apple on Ward’s first period goal.

Honorable Mention: Michael Latta’s slick pass to Jason Chimera in the first period.

 

Washington Capitals Game 31 Recap: Fehr’s overtime goal gives Caps win in wild one

Now 31 games into the 2014-15 Washington Capitals season, few observers know what to make of the team. On some nights they look reminiscent of the Capitals that were on display from 2008-11, and other nights they look like they’ve barely improved from the relative disaster that was the Adam Oates era.

If Thursday’s game was any indication, though, some improvement has been made.

Eric Fehr scored less than a minute into overtime to give Washington a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, a win that moves the team back into third place in the Metropolitan Division, if only for one night. The Caps’ playoff chances increased 5.2 percent to 66.5 with the victory, a win that they very nearly gave away. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 12/11/14

Sergei Bobrovsky was pretty great, and penalties told the tale for the Washington Capitals, who hosted the Blue Jackets in their home barn. Columbus pounced on a late power play in overtime and earned the 3-2 win, their fifth straight.

First star: Karl Alzner. This is easy. The steadfast defenseman became a dad for the first time on Wednesday morning and collected an assist on Troy Brouwer’s second period goal. Someone better have given him the game puck. Congrats, Karl.

Second star: Alex Ovechkin. He led forwards in ice time (24:43), PP TOI ( 8:34), shots on goal (9), and hits (5). A gimme.

Third star: Matt Niskanen. He’s still seeing time on the PP and clocked the second-most PP TOI of Capitals defensemen (5:47). He led all skaters in ice time (26:15). Niskanen earned an assist on Eric Fehr’s power play goal, and has earned a point in two consecutive games.

Washington Capitals Game Recap: Capitals downed in overtime by streaking Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t lost a game in December, thanks in (most) part to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has has been among the best in the league after a rough start to the season. He showcased another dominant performance against the Washington Capitals in their home barn, a 3-2 overtime win, their fifth straight.

Bobrovsky faced 41 shots from the Capitals, 18 of while Washington was on the power play. Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer scored goals in regulation, but a late Jason Chimera penalty in overtime doomed their effort with 19 seconds left in extra time.

Braden Holtby was less busy, only saw 23 shots on goal, and helped his team kill two of three Blue Jackets penalties.

Penalties are the real story here, though. Before the first period was five minutes old, Columbus had given up three penalties, and Washington had 6 power plays over the course of the game. Fehr’s first period tally, a deflection from Matt Niskanen’s blueline cannon, was the only Capitals power play goal of the night, and his first power play goal of the season.

The game was never out of reach for Columbus, despite the shot disparity. Brouwer’s second period goal was answered a mere 1:39 later by Kevin Connaughton’s game-tying shot.

Nicholas Foligno rang Washington’s death knell in overtime, his second of the game. Chimera was called for interference against Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson late in the extra time, a mistake that coach Barry Trotz was openly upset with in his postgame presser.

“Definitely unnecessary,” said Trotz. “We’ll address that tomorrow with that individual.”

 

  • Alex Ovechkin led the team with nine shots on goal and five hits, but no goals. Trotz doesn’t think anyone should be worried about that. “Maybe one of the best goal-scorers in this decade had nine shots. That’s not bad. That’s what you want.”
  • Ovechkin led all forwards in ice time with 24:43, and a whopping PP TOI of 8:34.
  • In addition to his assist, Niskanen led all Caps skaters in ice time with 26:15. That included a hefty 5:47 PP TOI and 2:11 SH TOI.
  • Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom skated 7:44 apiece on the power play.
  • John Carlson skated 25:07, and joined the “seven-plus minutes on the power play” club with 7:10 PP TOI.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 11/11/14

The Washington Capitals won their third straight game Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin had two goals apiece in the 4-2 win.

Jay Beagle played on the first line and didn’t screw anything up. He even dished a slick no-look pass to Ovechkin on his first goal. Nate Schmidt got his first point of the season with a secondary assist on Johansson’s second goal of the night. He’s probably smiling about that right now. Additionally, Braden Holtby stopped 24 of 26 shots and had one of his better performances this season.

 

First Star:

Marcus Johansson.

With his two goals Tuesday night, Johansson now has 8 goals on the season, and has already eclipsed his goal total from last season. He has as many goals as Ovechkin, and had 8 shots on goal (career high) against Columbus. His trigger finger is serving him well.

 

Second Star:

Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin had 8 shots on goal in his 2-goal performance. Pretty insane until you realize Johansson had 8 SOG as well. The Caps player with the next highest SOG was John Carlson with 3.

 

Third Star:

Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky assisted on both of Johansson’s goals, bumping him up to 12 points on the season. His line with Johansson and Troy Brouwer is clicking well. The Caps top six is producing a lot of goals, and it’s no coincidence they’re on a winning streak.

 

Honorable mention:

Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom collected two assists, one on each of Ovechkin’s goals. He’s up to 16 points on the season.

Washington Capitals Game 48 Recap: Caps collapse in Columbus with lifeless effort

The Washington Capitals are in a stretch of playing eight road games out of nine. If they play the rest like they did Friday night, it could very well spell disaster for their playoff hopes.

The Capitals were outplayed in every facet by the Columbus Blue Jackets, looking largely disinterested in the process, and dropped a 5-1 decision, making them 0-2 to start this very difficult stretch which will have a huge impact on whether the games after the Olympics break will be meaningful.

Columbus took advantage of a 4-on-3 situation for its first goal. The Caps were on their way to a power play, with the Jackets’ Corey Tropp called for charging Tom Wilson. But Wilson retaliated and was handed a roughing call of his own to prompt 4-on-4 play. Less than 30 seconds later, John Carlson was called for a trip.

That all led up to James Wisniewski’s fourth goal of the year, as Grubauer was screened from the slap shot without a Caps defensemen to clear the crease.

With 51 seconds remaining, Columbus made it 2-0 on a bouncing puck slammed in by Cam Atkinson, his 14th of the year, despite four Caps around the crease to two for Columbus. Dmitry Orlov tried to clear the puck, instead of tying up his man, and whiffed, allowing Atkinson to get enough of his stick on the puck to put it past Grubauer.

Just 1:44 into the second period, Columbus extended its lead to three. Ryan Johansen made a nice chip pass off the boards to expose Orlov, leading to a 2-on-1 the other way. Johanssen eventually got the return pass and beat Grubauer stick side, with Mikhail Grabovski trying to tie up a Jackets attacked in the crease.

Head Coach Adam Oates had little choice but to lift Grubauer for Braden Holtby in an effort to wake up his slumbering squad.

The Caps did manage to get on the scoresheet in the second, with John Carlson’s wrister going through a double screen by Nick Backstrom and Troy Brouwer and escaping Sergei Bobrovsky’s catching glove.

They could — probably should — have done more damage at the end of the period, when a goalie interference and too-many-men penalty gave the Caps almost four minutes of power play time. The Caps best chance came early, with Alex Ovechkin getting a pass from Backstrom alone in the high slot, but Bobrovsky got enough of Ovechkin’s wrist shot with this catching glove to make the save.

It wouldn’t matter though. Mike Green was called for interference as the second penalty, and the period, was expiring, and of course Columbus scored on the ensuing power play once play resumed in the third period, with Mark Letestu notching his sixth of the season.

It didn’t end there. Moments after the goal, Ovechkin took a cross-checking penalty in the offensive zone, and Columbus made them pay. Three seconds after the penalty expired, Atkinson hit again to make it 5-1.

Washington travels to New York City to face the Rangers Sunday evening at 7:30 pm.

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