February 11, 2016

Washington Capitals Game 36 Recap: Kuznetsov shines as Caps beat Sabres

CAPITALS WIN NINTH IN A ROW; BACKSTROM, BEAGLE INJURED

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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…]

Washington Capitals Game 35 Recap: Caps keep rolling with shutout of Sabres

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

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…]

Washington Capitals Game 28 Recap: Capitals hold off Tampa Bay 2-1

HOLTBY SPECTACULAR, KUZNETSOV MAGICAL TO EXTEND BEST START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 16 Recap: Caps end of game surge is extinguished by the Flames in OT

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.

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Caps Notes:

- The Capitals outshot Calgary 36-29 and won 33 of 65 faceoffs (50.7%).
- Washington has held its opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games (10/15-11/13), marking the longest streak since the Capitals held their opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games during the 1999-2000 season (1/6/00-2/3/00). The franchise record for most consecutive games holding an opponent to fewer than 30 shots is 20 games, set during the 1984-85 season.
- The Capitals have posted a 6-2-1 record at home this season and have earned a point in four consecutive games at Verizon Center (10/30-11/13: 3-0-1).
Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 278th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. (ET)

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

GRUBAUER MAKES 27 SAVES TO KEEP CAPS COMPETITIVE UNTIL OVERTIME

(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…]

Washington Capitals Game 6 Review: Two 3rd period goals lift Caps over Canucks

OVECHKIN NOTCHES FIFTH GOAL IN AS MANY GAMES

(Photo by @PR_NHL)

(Photo by @PR_NHL)

The Washington Capitals scored two third period goals — from an unlikely source and a highly-likely one — to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena, sending the home team to its fourth consecutive loss in its own building.

Jay Beagle tied the game at 2 not quite 6 minutes into the final stanza, and Alex Ovechkin, the Great 8, scored his fifth of the season with just under 5 minutes to play to give the Caps (5-1-0, 10) their first win in Vancouver since March 28, 1998. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals 2015-16 Season Preview: Center

Unlike the wings, the center position is having down-to-the-wire battles. With Nicklas Backstrom out for an expected 4-10 games, the position is still taking shape even as the regular season starts. Although Andre Burakovsky is slated to be the second line center at the beginning of the season, the rest of the lines are still being shifted around.  With one of the most respected centers in the game, one very hot up-and-comer, an overpaid veteran, and Jay Beagle, this is a highly-staffed position that will take a few weeks to be completely set. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals 2015-16 Season Preview: Right Wing

Whereas there was very little turnover on the left wing, not the same can be said for the right wingers. Last season, the team seriously upgraded its defense; now it’s the right wings that get the facelift. Out are two of the longer-tenured players on the team; in are an Olympic hero and Mr. Game 7. And this season sets up a key one in the development of one of the team’s biggest hitters and tough guys. Can Tom Wilson transition into a complete player, or is this his role going forward? Also: Jay Beagle. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 3 Recap: Beagle, Holtby lift Washington to 1-0 win, 2-1 series lead over Rangers

Another skittish first period gave way to a high-flying second, and both stellar goaltending and a playoff-type goal by one of head coach Barry Trotz’s favorite players proved to be enough.

Jay Beagle had the game-winning goal in the second period, and a 30-save shutout from Braden Holtby paved the way to a 1-0 win for Washington on Monday night at Verizon Center. The Capitals now hold a 2-1 series lead over the New York Rangers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal.

[Read more…]

WASHINGTON CAPITALS TAKE GAME 3 BEHIND HOLTBY SHUTOUT

Another skittish first period gave way to a high-flying second, and a playoff-type goal by one of the less-recognizable Washington Capitals proved to be enough.

Jay Beagle had the game-winning goal in the second period, and a consistently strong backcheck and simply sensational effort from Braden Holtby paved the way to a 1-0 win for Washington on Monday night at Verizon Center. The Capitals now hold a 2-1 series lead over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Full story coming later tonight.

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