August 14, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 20 Recap: Holtby, Orlov lead Caps over Oilers


(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Braden Holtby was the best player on the ice, Dmitry Orlov came up with a third period goal and the Washington Capitals won for the second time on their current five-game homestand, the longest of the season, beating the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 at Verizon Center on Monday.

The Capitals improved to 14-5-1 (29 points) this season, tying the team’s second best start (in terms of points and wins) in franchise history.

Orlov’s goal, his second in as many games, came with just 6:32 left in regulation, as it seemed the teams would play to a scoreless resolution and need overtime or beyond to settle it.

“We didn’t have much going on all night,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “[Orlov’s goal] was huge, guys stepped up. I thought we managed it [the game] really well once we got the lead. We managed it much better than we managed the game in total.” [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 7 Recap: Kuznetsov’s hat trick lifts Caps to road sweep

(Photo by Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored three goals with two assists and the Washington Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 7-4, sweeping a three-game Western Canada road swing.

The Caps (6-1-0) knocked off Calgary and Vancouver earlier in the week and have won five in a row altogether.

The hat trick was Kuznetsov’s first in the NHL. Justin Williams, Nick Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson all added goals. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 46 Recap: Penalties turn the tide as Caps fall to Oilers

Less than two minutes into the game, the Washington Capitals’ two-game skid was already a distant memory. By the game’s end, it was the only thing on everyone’s mind.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the opening frame. including one in the first two minutes, but the Caps gave up three separate two-goal leads to the Edmonton Oilers before falling 5-4 in a shootout. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 6 Recap: Capitals lose 3-2 in regulation to Oilers

On the first stop of their road trip to western Canada, the Washington Capitals parked in Edmonton for the night to visit former Capitals Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks.

The Oilers struck first, John Carlson answered on the power play, and Mike Green’s wrister gave the Caps the lead, but 20 seconds later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins struck for the Oilers. Tie game. Late in the second Nikita Nikitin scored the go-ahead goal for Edmonton. The Capitals lobbed everything they had at Ben Scrivens, but he was figuratively on fire, and had a fine crew of shot-blockers in front of him. Caps lose for the first time in regulation, 3-2.

  • Power play looks pretty good, and the Oilers defense makes it look even better.
  • Jay Beagle made his first start of the season against Edmonton. He was really excited. Trotz had him on the ice with 1:30 left, which is puzzling, to say the least. He played on a line with Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky, which is ostensibly the Capitals’ second line.
  • Two consecutive shots on goal in the second period by Karl Alzner. Adam Oates wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.
  • Mike Green scored a beauty, but the Caps allowed a goal against 20 seconds later. Some habits are hard to break, I suppose. Last season, the Caps gave up a buttload (scientific term) of quick response goals, and it helped them lose a lot of games.
  • Former Capital Matt Hendricks fought with new Capital Liam O’Brien. It was weird.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal until the third period, but he’s been terrific otherwise this season. Everyone has their off nights.
  • How’s this for a fancy stat: after Wednesday’s game, the Capitals held their opponent to less than 30 shots on goal for the sixth time this season, the first time they’ve done that since November 2010.
  • The Capitals had 66 shot attempts to the Oilers’ 36, but still couldn’t find the back of the net. The Oilers were shot-blocking machines, and Ben Scrivens was pretty good too.
  • Nicklas Backstrom assisted on John Carlson’s first period power play goal, his 500th point in his 501st game.

Caps Quick Takes: Game 10 vs. Oilers

The Washington Capitals evened their season record, recovering from a bit of a shaky start to overcome an injured and overmatched Edmonton Oilers squad, 4-1. The Caps’ top and third lines both accounted for two goals and Braden Holtby recorded 30 saves to lead the Caps to their third straight win, and second on their five-game road trip. The Caps now head to Calgary for a roundup at the Stampede Saturday night.

1) Braden Holtby was tested early and often in the first period and was up to the task. It took the Caps a little bit to find their legs, especially on defense against the Oilers fast-skating forwards, and it was up to Holtby to keep the Caps in this one early until the Caps got warmed up. 30 saves, and a couple of lucky posts, and the Caps get out of Edmonton with two more big points. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 10 Recap: Caps control play in 4-1 win over Oilers


So far, so good for the Washington Capitals on their longest road trip of the season.

Alex Ovechkin led four goal scorers and Braden Holtby made 30 saves to lead the Caps to their third straight win, a 4-1 decision over the rebuilding Edmonton Oilers from Rexhall Place in Alberta.

The Caps broke out on top in the first. Following an icing call on the Oilers, Nick Backstrom won an offensive zone draw in the right wing circle to Marcus Johansson, who immediately put one on a tee for Alex Ovechkin in the high slot. Ovechkin then directed an absolute laser shot over Devan Dubnyk’s right shoulder for his 10th goal of the season in the Caps 10th game. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 6 Recap: Capitals best Oilers, 4-2

Three games deep in a losing streak, winning one game out of the last four, the Washington Capitals were starting to look a little hungry. Thankfully, they stumbled upon an opponent ripe for the picking – the Edmonton Oilers (1-3-1), who were basically in the same boat as the Capitals coming into Monday night.  The Capitals won 4-2, despite a poor start, and managed to hold on to a three-goal lead for most of the game.

“They [Edmonton] came out hard, played a solid first period and shut us down in the neutral zone,” said Mike Green. “We didn’t have much. It was just a matter of regrouping after the first and making sure we do the simple things to get pucks to the net, and we ended up doing that and they were going in.”

The Capitals have had trouble going on the attack right out of the gate and that was no exception tonight.  Oates is still trying to figure out how to get better starts out of the team. “I’m taking suggestions,” he said after the game. Troy Brouwer also told reporters that he thought turnovers were a huge problem tonight and have been throughout the season.

  • The Capitals hadn’t held more than a one-goal lead in any game this season, but rolled out to a 4-1 advantage in the second period after going into first intermission tied at 1-1.
  • Marcus Johansson scored his 100th career point thanks to his assist on Alex Ovechkin’s second period goal.
  • Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Troy Brouwer all scored their first goals of the season.
  • The Capitals were 2-for-3 on the power play, with exactly zero of those goals scored by Ovechkin.
  • Steve Oleksy has been quietly good, notching two assists in his last three games, one of which led to Laich’s tally in the first period.
  • Nicklas Backstrom also had an understatedly successful night, tucking away three assists, his 22nd career multipoint game. Joel Ward complimented Backstrom’s pass on the power play that led to Ward’s first goal of the season. “I just had to put my stick down and take a crack at it. Nicky gave me a pass that almost felt like one of those drills at the end of practice with a wide open cage.”

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, 10/16 vs. New York Rangers, in their first meeting since being blown out in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

GAME 8 RE-CAP: Caps get trapped in Edmonton; lose 2-1

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle both scored power plays goals and Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves to lead the home-standing Edmonton Oilers over the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a penalty filled game, sending the Caps to their first loss of the young NHL season.

The Caps fall to 7-1-0 in their first eight games and remain in second place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Pittsburgh, who have  played four  more games than the Caps.

There were a total of 15 minor penalties called in the affair by referees Stephane Auger and Dan O’Halloran with nine on the Caps, including all five in the second period.  Nine different Capitals players were whistled for an infraction. [Read more…]

Caps Hit the Road for Test out West

After a drubbing of the elite Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, the Capitals packed up their gear and headed towards the oil sands of Western Canada for this week’s match-ups with the Edmonton Oilers and the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks.

As we all know, the Caps are off to a red hot start and boast the League’s top power play thus far this young season. The additions of Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern have provided depth, chemistry and net presence, while Tomas Vokoun’s performance against the Wings and .944 save percentage earned him NHL Third Star of the Week honors. [Read more…]

Caps in Advance: Week 3

Is there any question the undefeated Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL at this moment?  No?  Good.  Washington outscored opponents 15-3 in three wins last week…opponents with a combined 13-6-1 record.

This week the Caps head out on an abbreviated western road trip against a pair of Northwest Division opponents. Washington’s next two games could not possibly be against two more different squads, as far as the 2010-11 season is concerned. The Vancouver Canucks finished first overall in the NHL in the regular season and came as close as possible to the Stanley Cup without winning it, losing to the Boston Bruins in game 7 of the Cup finals. Meanwhile, the Oilers finished dead last in the NHL, with a point total less than half that of their division foes.

It would be too much to say that this season has been a reversal of fortunes so far, but certainly the gap between the haves and the have-nots is closer. Vancouver is looking to improve from an uneven start, while Edmonton is hoping that their collection of young talent can finally produce wins consistently.

In the Washington room, the big question is whether the Caps can maintain their impressive momentum after a four-day layoff and facing two out-of-conference opponents.  The Oilers and Canucks are good hockey teams, but they’re no Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

Games this week:

9:30pm, Rexall Place, Edmonton

Washington Capitals: 7-0-0
Edmonton Oilers: 3-2-2
Only meeting this season

Last year:
Capitals 48-23-11, 107 pts, 1st in Southeast, 1st in Eastern Conference
Oilers 25-45-12, 62 pts, 5th in Northwest Division, 15th in Western Conference

Ignore the 25 wins last season, ignore the last-place finish. Years of terrible hockey turned in to high draft choices, which are maturing into sweet fruit in Edmonton. On Thursday the Caps will face an Oilers lineup which includes forwards Sam Gagner (6th overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft), Jordan Eberle (22nd, 2008), Magnus Paajarvi (10th, 2009), Taylor Hall (1st, 2010), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st, 2011).

Nugent-Hopkins has been the most impressive of the young crew, scoring a hat trick in his third game while centering a line with Eberle and Hall. Thursday’s game could be the last one for Nugent-Hopkins in the NHL this season, if the Oilers choose to send him back to the WHL to keep him from accruing a season toward free agency.

Also performing well for the Oilers this season is “Captain Canada,” Ryan Smyth, a rich man’s Mike Knuble who was traded in June to the squad with which he played his first 12 NHL seasons. Even though he doesn’t have a ‘C’ or ‘A’ on his jersey Smyth is unquestionably one of the Oilers’ leaders, and he brings a physical game (23 penalty minutes) as well as a scoring touch around the net (2 goals, 2 assists in 7 games).

10:00pm, Rogers Arena, Vancouver

Washington Capitals: 7-0-0
Vancouver Canucks: 4-3-1
Only meeting this season

Last year:
Canucks 54-19-9, 117 pts, 1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference

Vancouver was the best team in the NHL last season from start to finish. This year’s incarnation is essentially the same team, missing only stalwart defenseman Christian Erhoff and grinder Raffi Torres. All-Star netminder Roberto Luongo is the best goalie the Caps have faced so far this season (even if his postseason resume is less than stellar).

Washington’s third line of Chimera-Laich-Ward and top D pairing of Karl Alzner and John Carlson will be tasked with shutting down Vancouver’s first line of the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows. Even if they succeed, a healthy Ryan Kesler is a significant offensive threat on the second line, as well as a top two-way forward.  Over the weekend, the Canucks acquired David Booth to skate alongside Kesler, and if the forward can pick up his game to previous levels, the Vancouver offense just got that much more potent.

Finally, Vancouver-Washington will reunite former teammates Tomas Vokoun and Keith Ballard, who played together for two seasons in Florida. It’s a good thing Ballard, a defenseman, will probably never go near Vokoun’s crease, or else we would see if the goalie ever forgave Ballard for this little love tap a few seasons ago.

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