August 12, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 19 Recap: Caps resilient in overtime win over the Blue Jackets

The Washington Capitals hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets looking for their fifth straight home victory and it took about one and a half minutes of overtime to accomplish that goal. Captain Alex Ovechkin scored the winning goal with the help of Marcus Johansson, giving Ovi a franchise-leading 13th career overtime goal.

“JoJo [Marcus Johansson] did a great job,” stated Ovechkin. “First through it. And after that I have to go to the net and find a rebound. I get a lucky puck, bounce right to my stick, and we go. It’s always nice to score, and [with an] overtime goal you can feel your best.”

Caps Head Coach Adam Oates’ post-game press conference focused on the competitiveness and resiliency of the Caps to come back and win in overtime. “That’s a playoff game, it just happens to be now, but we need these points, and you have to put yourself into position. Hockey is getting that way every night. We’ve been talking about that for two weeks. Every night it’s a grind.”

The first period was scoreless, however, both teams played solid hockey that period.  “We [Capitals] started [game] better than I anticipated after last road trip,” said Oates. “Think we’re a little tired, trip caught up to us a bit.”

Blue Jackets were first on the scoreboard with a shorty by Brendon Dubinsky early in the second period. Caps answered back about eight minutes later with an even strength goal by John Carlson.

Carlson may have played his best game of the season. Oates said, “For the last little bit, he’s [Carlson] been playing great. Him and Alzny [Karl Alzner] have been solid. They’ve been a rock. They’ve started every penalty kill, which has been very solid for us. [They’ve played] a lot of minutes and [Carlson] scored a big goal. He’s playing great hockey.”

The Caps started the third period on a power play, however, were unable to score. Joel Ward scored a short-handed goal and the Caps took the lead 2-1. Columbus scored two quick back-to-back goals to make it 3-2. Blue Jackets third goal was frustrating to the Caps because a bouncing puck got past Mike Green making Greenie look like the bad guy.

“The fact that we went down like that [3-2] I think really upset us and lit enough of a fire for us to get back and build the confidence knowing that we were going to win it,” stated defenseman Karl Alzner.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Mikhail Grabovski tied up the game with his 100th NHL career goal and forced game to overtime. Caps are now 10-8-1.

The Capitals travel to Detroit on Friday and then return to Verizon Center for three games next week. The Caps will practice tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Caps Quick Take: Game 8 vs. Blue Jackets

The Washington Capitals entered Saturday night’s matchup with Columbus with a chance to close out a five-game homestand — one that was disappointing on many levels — on a positive note and head out on a swing of Western Canada (followed by the armpit of America) with an upbeat attitude. The Blue Jackets served the perfect foil in order to for the Caps to regain confidence, as the home team shook up some lines and pairing and came away with a convincing 4-1 win.

1) Martin Erat: 3 assists, +2 in 17:49 on 22 shifts. Enough said.

2) Wait, not enough said. Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich, playing aside the aforementioned Erat, both had goals as well.

3) Marcus Johansson, who has taken a lot of grief in this space, probably played his best game of the season, recording four shots on goal and generally looking involved whenever he was on the ice, and he assisted on Joel Ward’s power play goal in the spot normally occupied by Mikhail Grabovski (and Mike Ribeiro before him).

4) Braden Holtby continues to work in a groove, knocking away 37 or the 38 shots he faced from Columbus. He had a tough time of it in his first few games, but Holtby’s starting to show the form that could very well earn him a spot on Team Canada come February.

5) Washington has scored a power-play goal in five of their eight games this season and scored multiple power-play goals in four of its eight games this season. Alex Ovechkin has scored a power-play goal in four of Washington’s eight games this season. Seven of Ovechkin’s 10 points this season have been earned on the power-play. Both of Joel Ward’s goals this season have come on the power play. Each of Mike Green’s five points this season have come on the power play. Six of Nick Backstrom’s nine point and three of Marcus Johansson’s six point have come on the power play. All of these stat nuggets came directly from the Caps “Player Notes” bullet points from their post-game Notes and Quotes sheet, but that makes them no less poignant.

3-5-0 isn’t the greatest start to the season, but it sure beats 2-6-0, which would have been fairly miserable considering the Caps now head out for their geographically longest roadie of the season: Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Philadelphia. On these types of trips, usually you hope to break even and make hay once you get back home. Washington doesn’t really have that luxury anymore and they really need to come out of this trip with at least six points against some of the softer teams in the Western Conference and the woeful Flyers, who with two measly points are currently looking up at the entire league.

CAPS: Washington Capitals Host Columbus Blue Jackets in Baltimore Hockey Classic

The Caps are coming back to Baltimore for the Baltimore Hockey Classic! The Washington Capitals will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in a preseason game on Sept. 26, 2012 at 1st Mariner Arena at 7 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Monday, April 23 at 10 a.m.

“We are excited to return to Baltimore,” said Capitals president Dick Patrick. “The overwhelming support from the city of Baltimore and our fans in Maryland made this decision to return for a second-consecutive season an easy one.”

Last year’s inaugural Baltimore Hockey Classic, which featured the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals kicking off the Capitals’ 2011-12 preseason schedule, sold out as the capacity crowd of 11,082 fans enjoyed the first professional hockey game played in Baltimore since 1997.

Caps in Advance: Week 12

One of the nice things about the NHL in late December, as compared to the NFL and NBA, is that the league takes a two-day hiatus on Christmas Eve and Christmas to allow players, coaches, and staff to spend time with their families. No games, practices, or traveling are allowed on December 24th and 25th.

As a consequence, the Washington Capitals play four games in six nights this week, after playing only twice in the previous week. Dale Hunter’s squad has a pair of games against the Buffalo Sabres, with whom the Caps are jockeying for playoff position, as well as two home dates against future “conference” rivals New York Rangers and the foundering Columbus Blue Jackets.

Jason Chimera continues to put together the best offensive season of his career, registering his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the final eight minutes of a 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey on Friday night. Just 33 games into the season Chimera is already four goals away from his career high of 17, recorded while a member of the Blue Jackets in 2005-06, and his +9 is best among Caps forwards and second best on the team.

Meanwhile, in the crease, Michal Neuvirth earned the past four starts for Washington after replacing Tomas Vokoun in the third period of a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia. In that span Neuvirth posted a 1.59 GAA and .940 Sv%.  With the condensed schedule this week Neuvirth was guaranteed to earn some action, but his strong performance as of late may very well earn him one prime-time start in front of the home crowd at Verizon Center.

Games this week:

7:00pm, First Niagara Center
7:00pm, Verizon Center

Washington Capitals: 17-14-2, 36 points, 3rd in Southeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
Buffalo Sabres: 16-15-3, 35 points, 4th in Northeast Division, 11th in Eastern Conference
Season Series: 0-1-0

The last time the Caps played the Sabres was the last time Bruce Boudreau stood behind the Washington bench. After a 5-1 drubbing in Buffalo, against a team comprised with a significant number of AHL call-ups, the Caps parted ways with Boudreau, saying it was clear that he had lost the attention of his players.

Now Hunter will have to muster his team’s best effort against a Sabres squad that is still missing several regulars, including stalwart defenseman Tyler Myers and power forward Brad Boyes. Working in the Caps’ favor is the poor play this season of goalie Ryan Miller, whose 3.11 GAA is over a half-goal worse than his career average. Because the Capitals and Sabres play on nonconsecutive nights, however, Washington may end up facing backup goalie Jhonas Enroth both times this week. Enroth (2.54 GAA, .918 Sv%) is 8-7-1 in his second NHL season and is starting to give Miller a run for the starting job.

Washington’s man-to-man defensive system will be tasked with defending against an offense that displays a great deal of balance. Buffalo possesses two of the top fifteen scorers in the NHL, Jason Pominville (11 goals, 26 assists) and Thomas Vanek (17 goals, 19 assists), but the duo only combined for one goal and one assist the first time these teams met. Rookie Luke Adam scored twice, while Jochen Hecht returned from injury to score his first goal of the season and rookie call-up Zack Kassian scored his first career goal in his second career game.

For all the talk of the on-ice product, most of the drama surrounding the Sabres right now surrounds the front office. Buffalo has lost three straight, a schneid that begun with a 8-3 loss to the Penguins on the 17th of December and continued with a 4-1 loss to Ottawa and 3-2 loss to Toronto. While head coach Lindy Ruff’s job probably isn’t in question, there’s enough stress and enough time to mull over it – the Sabres will have three days off prior to Monday’s game at home – that distractions may mount.

7:30pm, Verizon Center
TV: Versus, TSN2, RIS

Washington Capitals: 17-14-2, 36 points, 3rd in Southeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
New York Rangers: 21-8-4, 46 points, 1st in Atlantic Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference
Season Series: 0-1-0

Splitting up Washington’s home-and-home with Buffalo is a mid-week game against the New York Rangers, who also soundly drubbed the Caps 6-3 in the second-to-last game of Boudreau’s tenure. This time, the Rangers will have spent several weeks under the scrutiny of HBO’s cameras for the second season of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, an experience with which Washington can relate.

Against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals will need all the help they can get against the Rags and star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, whose respectable 14 wins belie another all-star statistical season. King Henrik has the 7th best GAA (2.03) and T-4th best Sv% (.934) in the NHL.

New York, which is still in the single digits in losses, has benefited from the goal-scoring of Marian Gaborik (21 goals) to lead the league’s 9th highest scoring offense (2.97 goals/game), just one spot above the Caps (2.94 goals/game).  On the blueline, Michael Del Zotto is also trending in the 20s: a +22 in the plus/minus category, to be specific. Early in the season Dan Girardi, who is tops in the NHL in ice time, was earning all the accolades among Rangers d-men, but Del Zotto’s contribution on both ends of the ice – he has 4 goals and 15 assists – allow head coach John Tortorella to effectively roll through three shut-down defensemen without losing anything on offense.


7:00pm, Nationwide Arena

Washington Capitals: 17-14-2, 36 points, 3rd in Southeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
Columbus Blue Jackets: 9-21-4, 22 points, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
Only meeting this season

As far as moribund franchises go, the Blue Jackets are the worst this season. Columbus still only has nine wins on the season, and sole possession of last place in the NHL to boot.

Last Thursday against the Predators, whom the Caps beat 4-1, Columbus took an equal lead by the end of the first period on the strength of a hat trick by Jeff Carter. Somehow the Jackets still found a way to lose, allowing Nashville to score the game’s last four goals, including a breakaway marker by Martin Erat with 8.4 seconds left in the game to give the Preds a 6-5 win.

Carter’s trick gave him 10 goals on the season, a disappointing pace for a player who scored 46, 33, and 36 goals in the past three seasons. Carter was traded to Columbus in July and has had trouble acclimating to his new surroundings, an excuse not available to Rick Nash (10 goals 14 assists, -18), the face of the Jackets franchise, who is on pace for an eight-season low in goals.

Truth be told, there’s not much going well for the Blue Jackets. With the utter failure of Steve Mason (4-14-1, 3.52 GAA, .880 Sv%) in net, backup Curtis Sanford (5-6-3, 2.66 GAA, .908 Sv%) has seized the opportunity to take the starting job, but neither are stellar options and the Capitals should feast on Columbus’ weak defense. Whether they do is a different story.

Caps Beat Columbus 3-1, But What About the White Netting?

Nobody likes change. Especially a change that has little-to-no warning. Double-especially on a change to a product or service after it has been paid for. Sometimes change can be for the good, sometimes… not so much.

Last night at Verizon Center, a pre-season hockey game between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets took place. The Caps beat a Jackets team comprised mostly of AHL’ers 3-1. Michal Neuvirth was solid in goal, veteran defensemen Dennis Wideman and Roman Hamrlik looked like they’ve played together for 10 years, and the “Mighty Mites” line of Cody Eakin, Matthieu Perrault and Chris Bourque provided a bulk of the scoring, leading the Caps to their first win of the pre-season.

But all anyone is talking about is the new white netting behind the goals at Verizon Center. [Read more…]

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