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.
OVECHKIN TAKES FRANCHISE RECORD FOR PLAYOFF POINTS; ORPIK EXITS AFTER ROUGH HIT
With a high-tension game that ended with a five-minute major against the Philadephia Flyers, two ten-minute game misconducts, and a delay-of-game penalty assessed to the Flyers’ fans, the Washington Capitals silenced the Wells Fargo Center and took game three of the series 6-1.
The Capitals scored five power-play goals, the most in their history in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. They were 5 for 9 and are 8 for 17 with the man-advantage in the series.
The goal scoring in the first, when Marcus Johansson added anther point to his stellar first-round sheet. On the very first power play, John Carlson took a shot from just inside the blue line and the puck deflected just of Johansson’s shin. Adding his first goal of the series to his five assists, Johansson grabbed his sixth point in the series to trail only Nicklas Backstrom and Carlson (7 apiece).
HOLTBY MAKES 41 SAVES TO LIFT CAPS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD
After a physical Game 1, the Washington Capitals came in to Game 2 expecting nothing less from the Philadelphia Flyers, except maybe that they would ratchet the hitting, antagonizing and overall agitating up even another notch. That was certainly the case — and then some — as the Flyers controlled play in just about every facet…except the scoreboard.
Braden Holtby was again exceptional, especially in a first period where the Flyers got 18 shots, and the Caps were the beneficiaries of one of the strangest goals you’ll ever see, and the Caps beat the Flyers 4-1 before a raucous Saturday night crowd at Verizon Center to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Flyers came out, well, flying, at the start of Game 2, outshooting the Caps 7-1 in the first few minutes.
It was Washington that got the first power-play opportunity, and they made good on it. The Flyers tried to clear with a lob, but John Carlson caught it open-gloved to keep it in the zone. Stung, he passed it off twice before trying a shot, and his wrister from center point got through a double-high screen and past Steve Mason to put the Caps up 1-0, despite being outplayed.
The Caps managed to avoid the early penalty calls they suffered in Game 1, but it caught up to them late in the first, with Jason Chimera and Carlson both whistled for cross-checks within 50 seconds of each other late.
But as he’s been all season long, Holtby (41 saves) was the Caps’ best player, turning aside the Flyers on every opportunity and the first ended with the Caps up by one.
Early in the second, Washington made it 2-0 on one of the all-time strangest plays. After a tie-up at center ice, both teams went for a change and Chimera sent a soft backhanded deflection toward the Flyers cage. Mason went down to block it, but it somehow eluded him and went right between his legs and behind him into the net. It needs to be seen to be believed.
It stayed that way for about seven minutes before the Flyers got back in it. On an odd-man rush, Brooks Orpik got caught playing a man instead of the puck and it slipped right between his legs to the awaiting stick of Jakob Voracek, who flipped it past Holtby to trim their deficit to one.
But just before the second intermission, Mark Streit was whistled for holding, giving the Caps’ vaunted power play another opportunity. Backstrom held at the half-boards, then slipped a pass through T.J. Oshie’s legs – a play they work on in practice — to Alex Ovechkin in his normal spot in the left wing circle. The Great 8 made no mistake, ramming it home to make it 3-1 before the break.
The Caps were content to play dump and chase most of the third period, but with just over two minutes left, Nick Backstrom carried in on the right wing and when Mason went down thinking about the pass Backstrom called his own number for the insurance goal and a 4-1 lead.
The series moves to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.
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.
CAPS CLINCH BEST OVERALL BEFORE ANYONE ELSE IN EAST CLINCH PLAYOFFS
Led by a three-goal third period, The Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 and officially clinching the 2015-16 President’s trophy and assured home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With a couple of rebound goals, a late power play strike, and solid goal-tending, the Caps (54-16-5, 113) wrapped up the final regular-season prize of the Presidents trophy for most points in the regular season — and still have seven games to play.
The fourth line came to play and Tom Wilson benefited the most from it. Picking up a rebound off a Mike Richards shot, Wilson made a nifty little backhand move from his knees to put the puck in the goal and the Caps on top for the rest of the night. An expert exploitation of a broken Blue Jackets’ stick. [Read more…]
CARLSON RETURNS FROM LENGTHY ABSENCE WITH OVERTIME WINNER
The Washington Capitals (53-15-5) found themselves in a defensive battle with the New Jersey Devils, with the only goal of the game coming in overtime, thanks to defenseman John Carlson, who returned to the lineup after a lengthy battle with a lower-body injury.
On the decisive play, Jason Chimera gathered the puck behind the net three minutes into the overtime session and found an open John Carlson, who connected on a beautiful one-timer from above the circle. It was about the only way beat to a goalie who had shut out opponents for 180 minutes of regulation, but who seemed to be throwing his stick on purpose on multiple occasions to cut off the Caps’ low shots. [Read more…]
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson will be out several weeks after a procedure to fix a lower-body injury, head coach Barry Trotz announced Saturday.
Carlson missed Friday night’s comeback 3-2 win over Minnesota and had the procedure on Saturday morning. The veteran defenseman missed 12 games in December and January. Presumably this procedure was to correct whatever was bothering him then, as no specifics about the injury or procedure have been released.
This news certainly make the acquisition of Mike Weber a little more clearer. In addition, if Carlson was to be placed on the long-term injured list, it would free up cap space for the team to use for Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
PAUL CAREY’S FIRST NHL GOAL FORGES LATE TIE, CAPS PREVAIL IN SHOOTOUT
With their power play continuing to struggle, the Washington Capitals looked to an unlikely hero to notch their league-leading 37th win: Paul Carey.
Carey’s goal late in the third period tied it at two, then after a scoreless overtime played mostly at four a side due to a carryover penalty, the Caps got shootout goals from T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin to steal the extra point from the stingy New Jersey Devils, winning 3-2 at Prudential 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…]