Statistically, it wasn’t going poorly at all. The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins were very close in most major metrics late in the second period on Wednesday night, but in reality, Pittsburgh was all but dominating play with higher-quality chances and sustained possession in the Capitals’ zone.
Washington Capitals First Round Game 1 Recap: Caps withstand early pressure, shut Flyers down and out
CAPS LIMIT FLYERS TO 18 SHOTS IN GAME 1 SHUTOUT
John Carlson and Jay Beagle scored, the team defense was stifling — especially on the penalty kill — and the Washington Capitals took Game 1 of their first round matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0.
The Flyers managed seven shots on their four power play opportunities without scoring. The Caps, meanwhile, were 1 for 6 with their extra-man opportunities.
Braden Holtby was strong, especially early with the Flyers spending so much time with the advantage. [Read more…]
Washington Capitals Game 81 Recap: Goal number 50 for Ovechkin; Win Record for Holtby in win over Blues
Alex Ovechkin gets a hattrick and goal number 50 in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues as Braden Holtby ties NHL wins record for a season.
Number 48 came on a beautiful one timer pass from John Carlson that set up the Ovechkin just below the circle. Ovechkin seemed primed for more after he snapped his first goal into the net and he did not disappoint.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) April 10, 2016
Ovechkin goal number 49 came off of Nicklas Backstrom assist number 49. With a classic Backstrom set up pass to a beautiful snap shot that found its way in. a whole twelve minutes for Ovechkin to get both his goals in. Ovechkin now has 108 career multi goal games.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) April 10, 2016
And number 50 came in the third period. A three on two breakaway saw Ovechkin streaking down the left side gobbled up the puck and took another snap shot to put it in. His second hat trick of the year, and seventh 50 goal season matching only Gretzky and Bossy for that many 50 goal seasons. Backstrom was once again the gifter giving him his own 50 point mark.
Braden Holtby would finally reach win number 48 in front of the only other NHL goalie to do the same, Martin Brodeur. Although Holtby has one more potential game to go, the record is now at least partially, his. With 19 stops on 20 shots, Holtby deserved a slightly easier win.
Caps goal number three came from Carlson who wanted to ensure his own multi point night. Tom Wilson made a beautiful thread of a pass to give Carlson the back hand chance.
Lastly, goal number four was all for Jason Chimera. In the 36 year olds best season he netted goal number 20 for the year by tipping in a Evgeny Kuznetsov back door feed (fantastic in its own right) that slipped right in. Another great play for the Caps in a night full of them. There are now six Capitals with at least 20 goals this season,
The Blues did put a little pressure on the Caps when Vladimir Tarasenko placed one past Braden Holtby at the 1:15 mark in the first, clearly the Capitals were less than phased by it. By the end of the game the Caps would lead 36-20 on shots.
The Caps will officially face the Philadelphia Flyers for the first round of the playoffs with the FLyers win earlier today.
NEXT GAME: Tomorrow at 7pm vs the Anaheim Ducks.
OVECHKIN NETS NO. 46, BEAGLE GETS FANCY AS CAPS DUMP AVALANCHE
Alex Ovechkin scored his 46th goal of the season to lead the Washington Capitals over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.
Facing a desperate Avalanche team that needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt, the Capitals (55-16-6) showed that the offense may be back on track — just in time for the playoffs.
Play and goal of the night go to Mr. Jay Beagle. With a great defensive takeaway behind the Avalanche goal he turned the puck and put it behind the back of netminder Seymon Varlamov. See below: [Read more…]
CAPS CLINCH DIVISION, CONFERENCE WITH 10 GAMES TO GO
The Capitals clinched the Metro Division and Eastern Conference to guarantee home ice throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
For the first time in months, the Caps heeded their locker room motto: Stick to the Script.
The script included scoring first. Left completely unattended at Ottawa’s net at 2:32 into the first period, Mike Richards got the first goal with an easy conversion after Tom Wilson’s solid takeaway on the Senators’ failed clear.
CAPS FORGE TIE IN SECOND BUT STEPAN’S SOFTIE WINS IT
Can’t win ‘em all.
The Washington Capitals once again started slow but scored two second-period goals to tie it up going into the third period.
Unfortunately, the New York Rangers didn’t stick to the script.
Derek Stepan scored 17 seconds into the final frame and Antti Raanta filled in admirably (depending on your point of view) for the injured Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers downed the Caps 3-2 at Verizon Center. [Read more…]
CAPITALS WIN NINTH IN A ROW; BACKSTROM, BEAGLE INJURED
After a physical game on Monday in Buffalo, everyone expected more of the same Wednesday night at Verizon Center in the rematch. Those looking for physicality weren’t disappointed, but Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jack Eichel showed the potential for the next generation of skill players, as both players registered a pair of assists.
In the end, Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals, Marcus Johansson added a goal and assist, and Braden Holtby made 25 saves as the Washington Capitals dispatched the Buffalo Sabres for the second game in a row, this one by a 5-2 margin.
The biggest story line, though, could turn out to be undisclosed injuries to Nick Backstrom and Jay Beagle, who both left the game to not return, and the status of John Carlson, who missed his second game in a row. [Read more…]
Whatever the reason for this recent dominance by the Washington Capitals, they have a number of key players to thank.
For starters, goalie Braden Holtby is playing like the top netminder in the world, with another shutout helping the Capitals to a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on the road Monday, for their eighth win in a row. Of his 31 saves on the night, he had one that immediately launched itself to the top of his highlight reel. [Read more…]
HOLTBY SPECTACULAR, KUZNETSOV MAGICAL TO EXTEND BEST START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
After an ugly loss Thursday night to the Florida Panthers, the Capitals (20-6-2) traveled to Tampa Bay (14-13-3) on Saturday night and looked to prevent losing the title of the only Eastern Conference team not to lose back-to-back games. The Caps built a lead, then nervously held on to go 8-0-0 following a loss this season, beating Tampa Bay 2-1.
Holtby was his spectacular self again, earning his league-leading 18th win of the year. With a glorious breakaway one-on-one stop and numerous clutch saves on the penalty kill, he finished with 35 stops on the night.
Although Tampa Bay spent the better part of the first five minutes in the Caps’ zone, Holtby showed no rust and the Caps struck first. Jay Beagle carried the puck down ice and dropped it in the circle where Stanislav Galiev picked it up then sent it right back to Beagle behind the goal. From there it was a simple stuff behind Lightning goalie Ben Bishop to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS PLAYED WITH “URGENCY” IN THIRD PERIOD BUT IT WASN’T ENOUGH TO WIN
“I’m not happy with the overall result,” stated Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz after the 3-2 overtime loss to Flames, however, “I think the positive is that we came back and got a point…our team is better than one period of hockey.”
The Washington Capitals hosted the Calgary Flames on Friday the 13th making it their third game in just four days, with the first two games on the road. The travel fatigue seemed to effect the Caps and had only one shot on goal for the first ten minutes.
Calgary was skating very fast and the Caps struggled to keep up with them for the first forty minutes. The Caps felt the urgency and bounced back in the third. Trott referred to the third and fourth lines as his “workers” and credits the bottom six for stepping it up. Michael Latta and Jay Beagle scored for the Caps.
“Latta was a spark plug,” said Trotz. Michael Latta scored his first goal of the season and his second career goal (11/15/13 at DET). Latta has earned 12 points (2g, 10a) in 77 career NHL games.
Goalie Braden Holtby had the night off and Philip Grubauer was in net for the Capitals and stopped 26 of 29 shots in his third start of the season. Trotz called Grubauer “pretty sharp” and made some critical saves to keep the Caps in the game.
Captain Alex Ovechkin still has the monkey on this back and wants to get the goal and move on. Coach Trotz weighed in at the post-game presser. “Today I did [sense mounting pressure] for the first time. I think he wants to get it [passing Sergei Fedorov (483) for first place among Russian-born NHL players in career goals]. There’s no question. I haven’t talked to him about it, but the best advice I can give him is to ‘play your normal game.’ He’s scored a gazillion goals in this league, and to our team: don’t look for Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] to score that goal. Don’t overpass. He’s scored a lot of goals. Play the way we play, and I guarantee you, he will score that goal, and he’ll score many after that.”
A few of the players had shared their thoughts about playing with urgency and resiliency of the team.
Brooks Laich: “With a caliber of hockey team that we have, we expected more. I know it’s three games in four nights, but they traveled last night too, they played last night. There’s no excuses. If you look at our hockey team, I think it’s a game that we should’ve had. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it.”
Michael Latta: “We’ve got a lot of great character in this room. It shows. We could’ve had a couple more in the third, I feel like, We’ve got a great group in here. We never give up, that’s for sure.”
Andre Burakovsky : “I think we have so much energy… I think everyone can really go for 60 minutes here. At the end of the games, other teams are getting tired but we can just keep going. I think we kind of know that we have to come back every time we get the puck behind their D [defense]. That’s the way we want to play, that’s where we’re good. That’s something we have to do all the time, not just at the end.”
Congratulations to Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz for coaching his 1,294th NFL game which ties Jacques Martin for 10th place on the all-time NHL games coached list.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. (ET)