November 26, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 10 Recap: Caps win in OT on Kuznetsov goal


(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

After beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 at Verizon Center on Friday night, the Washington Capitals played their second game in as many days as they headed to Sunrise, Florida to take on the Florida Panthers.  In the first overtime game of the season, with 3-on-3, the Caps pulled off the road win with a goal by Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The action was sparse in the first period.  The Capitals were put on the penalty a minute and a half into the game when Jay Beagle was called for tripping, and had to kill another later when Karl Alzner was called for hooking.  Despite the Panthers having two man-advantages, they couldn’t get any shots past Philipp Grubauer.  It was scoreless at the end of the first period. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers Dec. 16

In the most #CapsCats game ever, the Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in a shootout that lasted 20 rounds, beating the previous league record for shootout rounds previously held by a Caps-Rangers game in 2005.

Troy Brouwer scored a power play goal for the good guys, Derek McKenzie potted one for the Kitties, and both Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo were exhausted after the 20-round shootout gimmick.

With no further adieu…

FIRST STAR: Braden Holtby. The dude made 25 saves in regulation plus overtime and was once again the best player on the ice for the Caps. The only goal allowed came after a bad turnover behind the net by Mike Green.

SECOND STAR: Alex Ovechkin. He was a hitting machine and his pass to Brouwer in the slot for the power play goal was born of tremendous vision and surgeon’s precision on the pass.

THIRD STAR: Brooks Orpik. Why not? Was credited with seven hits and I’m making it a rule that every time Orpik scores in a shootout he has to be awarded at least one of the stars of the game.

Washington Capitals Game 30 Recap: Caps come up short in epic shootout with Florida

By Brian Barnard

Following their Saturday night victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals faced another former Southeast division rival on Tuesday. The Caps were greeted in Sunrise by a surging Florida Panthers team that has gone 5-3-2 over its last ten games. When the two squared off in mid-October, the Caps won a 2-1 shootout victory.

This time around, the Panthers returned the favor, winning the game 2-1 after a shootout that went 20 rounds and involved rally helmets on the bench. It was officially five rounds longer than the previous record-holder, the Capitals vs. the Rangers at MSG in 2005 (see, Marek Malik). [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: Caps survive in shootout win over Florida

The Washington Capitals continued their  strong start to the 2014-15 season on Saturday night at Verizon Center with a 2-1 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.

Justin Peters made his first start of the young season in goal for the Caps, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced, and looked ready to be a solid backup to Braden Holtby.

“That’s some nice run support,” said Peters, the game’s first star, on his teammates’ 1-2-3 scoring effort in the shootout. “We’ve got a lot of skill and I see those guys in practice every day, so it’s nice to see them score because they do that to me.”

Nick Backstrom scored the deciding goal in the shootout, and Alex Ovechkin iced it in the top of the third round with his first shootout tally of the season.

It was Backstrom’s 500th NHL game, and the Swedish pivot sits at 499 career points.

“He’s exceptional,” coach Barry Trotz said of his No. 1 center. “The hockey IQ, the professionalism, the stick skills, all those things. You know what you’re going to get night in and night out. That’s part of being a pro, and that’s part of being a great pro.

He’s done it at a high level for 500 games and he was good tonight. He had a couple looks himself and he set a couple guys up that sort of whiffed on a couple chances. He’s a pleasure to coach and a pleasure to watch.”

Jason Chimera was the best player on the ice not wearing goalie pads Saturday night, and he opened the scoring late in the first period. Chimera was in front of the net and received a nifty pass from Eric Fehr. Chimera deked Florida goalie Al Montoya out of position and deposited his first goal of the season on the backhand.

“It was nice to get the goal and get the team going, for sure. You want to win as much as possible and if you can help your team win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Chimera said.

The Panthers tied it on the power play early in the third period to make things interesting, as Brad Boyes scored his first goal of the season.

The win puts the Capitals’ record at 3-0-2 ahead of next week’s road trip at Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.


  • Washington has posted a 10-0-1 record in its last 11 games against Florida and has won nine consecutive home games against the Panthers.
  • The Capitals outshot the Panthers 28-21.
  • Washington was 4 for 5 on the penalty kill tonight and is 18 for 20 (90.0%) on the penalty kill this season.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers 10/18/14

The Panthers aren’t divisional rivals anymore, which is weird, but the Capitals still kind of beat up on the new kid like the old days. Jason Chimera scored a weird goal, and the Panthers got one back on a power play, but the Capitals were perfect in the shootout and won 2-1.

First Star: Jason Chimera

The Ice Cheetah was everywhere on the ice against the Panthers tonight. Since the re-addition of Eric Fehr, the third line has been abuzz, including Joel Ward scoring a weird goal against the Devils Thursday night. Chimera’s goal was as fancy as they come. He was clearly working on his finesse in the offseason. He had another great scoring chance on Al Montoya later in the game, and had a team high 5 shots on goal.

Check it.

Second Star: Justin Peters

In his first start with the Caps, Peters effectively brought home the bacon for the Capitals, stopping 20 of 21 shots, and stopped Jussi Jokinen in the shootout for the Caps’ win. It was his first start since December of 2013, when he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s a super solid No. 2 goalie. And he has great hair. What more do you want?

Third Star: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin was the third shooter in the shootout lineup, and scored the winning shot with the prettiest shootout goal he’s made in years. He had two shots on goal and seven hits in the 2-1 win.

Honorable mention: Nicklas Backstrom

He finished with three shots on goal and did not register a point, but Mr. 500 is still one of the best. Congrats on 500.

Washington Capitals Game 32 Recap: Capitals fall 3-2 to Panthers in shootout

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)


Another day, another slow start. For the second time this week, the Washington Capitals seemed to forget they were supposed to be playing a hockey game against a team from Florida. Coach Adam Oates called it “the worst we’ve played in our own end for a long time.”

Mike Green, who had a rough night already with a waved-off goal in the first period, gave the puck away to Dylan Olsen early in the second period, who took the impetus to score and give his team a 1-0 lead. Outshot by 16-7 in the first period alone, it took a dirty hit on Eric Fehr by Erik Gudbranson late in the second period to help the Caps remember how to play hockey again. Sort of. They had 8 shots on goal in the second period, despite a 3-minute power play.

Troy Brouwer came to his comrade’s rescue after the hit, earning himself 17 minutes worth of penalties in the process. Sure, he avenged his teammate’s honor, but robbed his team of a valuable piece of what would have been a 5-minute power play. Instead, it was two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey followed up by a 3-minute Capitals power play. All hail The Code.

Fehr returned to the game in the third period after undergoing NHL concussion protocol.

Okay, so a 4-minute power play isn’t something to complain about, especially when it’s a power play that’s as effective as the Caps.The wizardry of Mikhail Grabovski’s work on the boards during the 4-on-4 time paid off in the form of a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot that tied the game. The Panthers Alexsander Barkov scored the go-ahead goal for Panthers before the 4-on-4 expired.

Before the 3-minute Capitals power play expired, the Capitals scored the tying goal, but it was first waved off by the referee when there should have been a whistle. The play was reviewed, and the replay showed the goal belonged to Joel Ward, assisted by Marcus Johansson and Backstrom.

Philipp Grubauer, the backup goalie’s backup, faced a total of 41 shots on goal, regulation and overtime combined, not to mention the 10 round shootout.  The Capitals only mustered 25 shots the entire game, so this was a classic Washington Capitals case of goaltender bailout. By all intents and purposes, the Capitals should have lost this game in regulation, and by a much larger margin. Grubauer made save after magisterial save, and bailed out the rest of the team when they had a lapse. He plays with the composure and maturity of a much more experienced goaltender.

However, there is no way the Capitals can continually allow their goaltenders to be shelled in every game and expect to win (or in this case, make it to overtime). It might work for a little while, but it won’t last forever. Just look at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Washington Capitals Game 14 Recap: It takes a shootout, but Caps down Florida 3-2

Playing without captain and leading scorer Alex Ovechkin for the second night in a row due to an upper body injury, the Washingt0n Capitals got a solid effort from goalie Michal Neuvirth and goals from Nick Backstrom and John Carlson — his first of the season — to force overtime and a shootout, where all three Caps shooters scored to take two points from former Southeast Division foe Florida Panthers. The resulting 3-2 win evens the Caps record at 7-7-0, good for third place in their new digs, the Metropolitan Division, with 14 points.

Neuvirth, starting in place of Braden Holtby, who played Friday night and went around with noted pugilist Ray Emery, saved 33 of the 35 shots sent his way, including 19 of 20 at even strength.  He allowed a goal to the first shooter in the skills competition, Aleksander Barkov, but denied Jonathan Huberdeau, which led to Nick Backstrom sealing the deal on the next shot.

Washington broke out on top in the first period with the refigured first line of Backstrom, Eric Fehr and Martin Erat. The Caps made an easy transition off a defensive zone faceoff through the neutral zone and into Panthers territory. Fehr brought the puck across the blue line and seemed to fumble it as he made his way into the slot.

But Backstrom alertly corralled the puck and whipped it past a seemingly stunned Scott Clemmensen for his fifth goal of the season, and third in the two games that Ovechkin has been absent.

In the second period, a very poor pass from Brooks Laich, who was covering the left point after Alexander Urbom pinched in on a play, led to Scottie Upshall springing Jesse Winchester on a breakaway. Despite Laich hooking Winchester the last 40 feet of the sprint, the Florida forward got enough on the shot to beat Neuvirth five-hole.

But just 36 seconds later, John Carlson took a nifty feed by Michael Latta on a controlled break and roofed it over Clemmensen’s right shoulder to give the Caps a 2-1 lead after two.

Midway through the third, the Caps had an extended offensive possession on the power play with several good chances, including Mike Green ringing one off the post, but could not get a shot to fall.

But former Caps have a way of haunting the current squad, and Saturday night would be no different. Old friend Tomas Fleischmann tied things up with just 2:38 remaining as the Panthers skated on a 4-on-3.

The power play goal against breaks the Caps streak of 35 consecutive penalty kills.

Despite the Caps getting a power play in the overtime, the extra session ended scoreless. Mikhail Grabovski led off for the Caps in the shootout and made a beautiful move, carrying in on his forehand, then faking a slap shot before slipping it to his backhand and getting the puck just out of the reach of Clemmensen.

Barkov used almost the exact same move against Neuvirth at the other end to even things up.

Brooks Laich was up next, and through he faked himself out — he missed the puck with his last attempt at a deke — the puck eluded Clemmensen five-hole. With the goal, Laich moves to 6-for-18 (33.3%) career in the shootout.

Neuvirth then made a glove save on second-year center Jonathan Huberdeau to set up Backstrom’s dramatic game-winner. Backstrom came in forehand all the way and simply beat Clemmensen without any trickery whatsoever to deliver the extra point to the Capitals.

The Caps have won 18 of the last 23 meetings with the Panthers.

Washington is off until Tuesday night, when they host the New York Islanders at 7:00 pm.

Washington Capitals Game 22 Recap: Capitals’ quick start buries Panthers

While the Washington Capitals have dominated the Florida Panthers in the last two years at Verizon Center, Thursday night the Caps took it to a whole new level in a 7-1 destruction of their Southeast Division foe.

The Capitals scored four times in the first 8:10 of the contest – second-fastest time to the four-goal mark in team history – and crushed the Panthers to move within a game of the .500 points mark for the first time since the team’s home opener back on January 22 – when they were 0-1.

Washington has outscored Florida 23-3 in their last five meetings at Verizon Center, with three shutouts, and overall have scored 18 goals in three games against Florida, 27 percent of their season’s production. More importantly for the Capitals, they moved to within six points of the Southeast lead with Carolina’s 4-2 loss to Montreal. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 13 Recap: Brouwer caps comeback with OT winner

It’s been trying times for the Washington Capitals this season as they have struggled out of the gate in this lockout-shortened season with just three wins in their first 12 games. But a furious third period comeback from a two-goal deficit set up an overtime winner from Troy Brouwer to deliver the Caps a 6-5 OT win against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, FL, the Caps second consecutive win over the Panthers.

The Caps (4-8-1, 9 points) got two late third period goals, from Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin, to force overtime, where Brouwer took a breakout pass from Nick Backstrom, drove past Panthers forward Steven Weiss down the right wing, and beat goalie Scott Clemmensen between the wickets for the game-winner. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Washington breaks skid in rout of Panthers

Mired in last place in the Eastern Conference and desperately needing a boost in the standings, the Washington Capitals earned just their third victory of the season with a 5-0 win over the Florida Panthers at Verizon Center Saturday night.

Washington struggled in the short season’s first quarter, going just 3-8-1, but managed to at least not fall any further out of the playoff chase with the victory over their division rivals.

Braden Holtby had a 27-save shutout for Washington, his first since last March 25 against Minnesota, while Troy Brouwer had his first two-goal game since last February 28 against the Islanders. In addition, Alex Ovechkin ended his 5-on-5 drought, scoring his first even-strength goal of the season.

“I had a feeling right away we were going to play well,” Ovechkin said afterwards. “Everyone was focusing and not joking around. That’s how we have to play.” [Read more…]

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