April 27, 2015

Three stars: Washington Capitals 6, Buffalo Sabres 1

FIRST STAR: Curtis Glencross. Glencross has proved to be a wonderful addition to Washington so far, providing a much needed spark to the second power play unit. He had three points against Buffalo.

SECOND STAR: Nicklas Backstrom. He’s got an NHL leading 50 assists. Beastly.

THIRD STAR: Jay Beagle. Barry Trotz favorite Beagle is in the midst of the best season of his career. He’s always worked hard to improve, and this year, it shows.

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win streak snapped in Philly

The Washington Capitals’ four-game win streak was brought to an end on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the Caps were unable to finish off the Flyers and instead gave up a late third-period goal for the loss.

The Caps had another sluggish start and found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. Claude Giroux snapped an 11-game goalless drought with an early power play goal and Wayne Simmonds added another power play tally in the second. Tom Wilson finally got the Caps on the board and Joel Ward caught Philadelphia goalie Robb Zepp off guard with a rolling puck chipped into the top shelf to tie it in the second. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 55 Recap: Sleepless in San Jose; Caps win in OT


Joel Ward scored in overtime to lift the Washington Capitals over the San Jose Sharks 5-4, earning the Caps (29-16-10) two points in the first of a four-game road trip.

Ward banged home a rebound of a Mike Green shot after the pair came in 3-on-2 along with Jay Beagle. Ward started the play by creating a turnover in the neutral zone on a play that looked like he might have hooked a Sharks player down before retrieving the puck.

Beagle opened the scoring with five minutes left in the first with a wrist shot past Antti Niemi.

That was erased — quickly — at the start of the second, as San Jose, well, the magnificently bearded Brent Burns, scored twice in the span of 22 seconds within the first minute of the frame, first with a tip-in, then with a wrist shot after a bad turnover at the blue line. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators 2/5/15

First star:
Braden Holtby.
Holtby’s 25 saves led the way for Washington’s 2-1 win in Ottawa, and his 25th win of the season, which is good enough for sixth in the league amongst fellow goaltenders for regular season wins.

Second star:
Alex Ovechkin.
He is now tied with Rick Nash for the NHL goal scoring lead with 32, thanks to his game-winner in Ottawa.

Third star:
Jay Beagle.
It may have been a weird line change that left Beagle on the ice for the play that led to Ovechkin’s game-winning goal, but whatever the twist of fate, he collected perhaps the nicest assist of his career on the ensuing sequence.

Why Beagle? Exploring the Caps most curious top line winger

Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Head coach Barry Trotz has tried just about everyone at right wing on the top line, but no one creates more reaction than when Jay Beagle is given the nod.

Trotz is not the first coach to try this tactic. Adam Oates famously paired Beagle with Ovechkin as the top line center much to the horror of the hockey community. The reaction was so negative some touted this decision as one of the main reasons why Oates should be fired.

With a competent coach now in charge of the team, many thought the days of Beagle on the top line were over, but in the merry-go-round of forwards to play on the right of the top line, Beagle has certainly had his fair share of opportunities. [Read more…]

Free agent decisions loom large for Caps as trade deadline approaches

Mike Green during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Mike Green during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

As the teams return from the All-Star Break and meaningful hockey starts again, the next big day on the NHL calendar is the trade deadline.

The NHL trade deadline is on March 2 at 3 pm, just over a month away. The task for each team over the next few weeks is to determine what their realistic goals are for this season and going forward so that they can determine if they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

On an individual level, general managers need to determine the future of their pending free agents, i.e. who they will seek to re-sign and who already has one foot out of the door.

The Washington Capitals are no exception. There are currently 10 players on the roster who are in the final year of their contract and General Manager Brian MacLellan has to determine now who he wants to see back in Washington next season. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals 4, Edmonton Oilers 5 (SO)

The Washington Capitals had a two-goal lead three different times, but lost their 4-2 lead in the final five minutes of the third period and ultimately fell to the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 in a shootout on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. Their third loss in a row, the Capitals will have some time to think about the collapse, as they’re off for the next week thanks to the All-Star break.

First star: Alex Ovechkin’s two goals in the first 14 minutes looked to be harbingers of another hat trick to add to the concourse display at the Phone Booth, and his effort was strong overall. And oh, by the way, he’s scored 11 goals in his last 11 games.

Second star: John Carlson had two assists, one of which looked like it may have been a goal at first, and a plus-one on the night. Add three blocked shots onto that and you have a recipe for a good night.

Third star: Jay Beagle was also a plus-one, and scored his seventh goal of the season on his only shot on net. He’s off to the best year, scoring-wise at least, that’s he’s ever had.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 2, Colorado Avalanche 1

The Washington Capitals won their sixth in a row at home, Alex Ovechkin became the franchise’s all-time leader in game-winning goals — eclipsing Peter Bondra — and they got another goal from Jay Beagle (good boy). The Caps are now 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, sit alone in third place in the division and are three points behind the Islanders in first and two behind second-place Pittsburgh.

First Star: Hard to not mention Braden Holtby here in this space again. He saw 32 shots against (18 of which came in an exhausting third period), and saved seven out of eight on the penalty kill — the only goal coming off a rebound into a vacant slot. If playing in a franchise-record 24th game in a row and 19th consecutive start is bothering him or tiring him out, he’s not showing it.

Second Star: Alex Ovechkin. C’mon. Power play goal (off a couple of particularly nice backhand passes from 19 and 20). Earlier, beat old buddy Semyon Varlamov through the five-hole but hit the post on another attempt. Has 22 goals and just keeps plugging away.

Third Star: Jay Beagle. Scored his personal-best sixth goal, and they’re all coming from hard work and willingness to crash the net. This one came on a rebound in the slot, and a nifty backhander to boot.

Goat of the night: Varlamov. Was issued a roughing penalty by face-washing Tom Wilson with his goalie gear. Poor form.

Washington Capitals Game 42 Recap: Caps tough out solid win over Avalanche


Make it six straight wins at Verizon Center for the Washington Capitals. Braden Holtby had 18 of his 31 saves in the third period, and Alex Ovechkin scored his 22nd goal of the year as the Capitals beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Monday night.

Jay Beagle opened the scoring at 7:34 of the first period. After winning an offensive zone faceoff, Tom Wilson directed a shot toward the net from the point. Beagle found the rebound left by former Capital Semyon Varlamov on the backhand and put it home. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils 12/16/14

Two wins isn’t necessarily a streak, but the Capitals have that many in their pocket as they head to Tampa, fresh off a 4-1 win in New Jersey. Goals from Jay Beagle, Karl Alzner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Brooks Laich, plus a strong performance from Braden Holtby pushed the Caps past the Devils in the second game of their three-game road trip.

First star: Braden Holtby. Holtby was stellar in the Caps’ win, stopping 33 of 34 shots. The only goal he allowed was a puck that leaked over his shoulder, but Holtby logged his strongest performance this season to date, finishing with a SV% of .971. His empty-net goal attempt didn’t work out, but he’ll probably try to get one whenever he has a chance.

Second star: Jay Beagle. The fourth-liner did his best Alex Ovechkin impression and it paid off with his fourth goal of the season, tying his career-high goal total.

Third star: Evgeny Kuznetsov. After being healthy-scratched in Carolina, Kuznetsov rebounded with a goal. He led the team in shots on goal with four, and skated 10:26, including some time on the power play.



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