January 27, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 40 Recap: Niskanen Penalty in OT dooms Caps

The Washington Capitals renewed their rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season on Thursday, but despite an early power play goal the Caps were unable to take two points from their division foe. Jakub Voracek’s power play tally in overtime settled the tie and handed the Caps a 3-2 loss.

Despite having played the night before, it was the Caps who jumped out to the quick lead. Ovechkin was left open on the power play and ripped a one-timer from the top of the circle to take the 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 38 Recap: Caps use second-period rally to defeat Panthers

Another post-goal meltdown had the Washington Capitals on their heels and the fans on edge. Barry Trotz has talked about resilience since the first day of training camp, and got just that from his team on Sunday evening with a 4-3 home win over the Florida Panthers.

[Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

First star: Mike Green. Green was crucial to Washington’s winning effort in Columbus, with his assists on Troy Brouwer’s game-tying goal and Eric Fehr’s overtime game winning goal. It was arguably one of his strongest performances of the season. His end to end rush just 42 seconds into overtime ended up on the stick of a streaking Eric Fehr, who was essentially airborne, and whacked it past Sergei Bobrovsky for the 5-4 win.

 

Second star: Eric Fehr. He scored the above game-winner, his seventh goal of the season, and collected an assist on Joel Ward’s first-period goal.

Third Star: Karl Alzner. He’s not a guy that typically lights up the scoresheet, but this season, Alzner is bringing the heat. His third period goal was his second of the season and tied the game at 3-3. He also nabbed an apple on Ward’s first period goal.

Honorable Mention: Michael Latta’s slick pass to Jason Chimera in the first period.

 

Washington Capitals Game 31 Recap: Fehr’s overtime goal gives Caps win in wild one

Now 31 games into the 2014-15 Washington Capitals season, few observers know what to make of the team. On some nights they look reminiscent of the Capitals that were on display from 2008-11, and other nights they look like they’ve barely improved from the relative disaster that was the Adam Oates era.

If Thursday’s game was any indication, though, some improvement has been made.

Eric Fehr scored less than a minute into overtime to give Washington a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, a win that moves the team back into third place in the Metropolitan Division, if only for one night. The Caps’ playoff chances increased 5.2 percent to 66.5 with the victory, a win that they very nearly gave away. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 12/11/14

Sergei Bobrovsky was pretty great, and penalties told the tale for the Washington Capitals, who hosted the Blue Jackets in their home barn. Columbus pounced on a late power play in overtime and earned the 3-2 win, their fifth straight.

First star: Karl Alzner. This is easy. The steadfast defenseman became a dad for the first time on Wednesday morning and collected an assist on Troy Brouwer’s second period goal. Someone better have given him the game puck. Congrats, Karl.

Second star: Alex Ovechkin. He led forwards in ice time (24:43), PP TOI ( 8:34), shots on goal (9), and hits (5). A gimme.

Third star: Matt Niskanen. He’s still seeing time on the PP and clocked the second-most PP TOI of Capitals defensemen (5:47). He led all skaters in ice time (26:15). Niskanen earned an assist on Eric Fehr’s power play goal, and has earned a point in two consecutive games.

Washington Capitals Game 26 Recap: Holtby, Secondary scoring leads Caps over Devils on road

Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Laich all scored, and Braden Holtby was often spectacular, as the Washington Capitals took care of the New Jersey Devils on the road, 4-1.

It’s the first time the Caps (12-10-4) have won back-to-back games in regulation this season. The win allows the Caps to slide into third place in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Rangers loss.

Holtby made 34 saves in the effort, including an impressive effort again Marin Gelinas while short-handed when it was still close. Then in the third he made 15 saves, including robbing Jaromir Jagr twice as the Devils peppered him with shots in attempt to get back into the contest. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 16 Recap: Capitals shut out by Devils 1-0, Holtby’s misplay leads to game-winner

Close games are often defined by who dares to make the first mistake. On a slow Friday night in D.C., the Washington Capitals came out on the wrong end of a close game with the New Jersey Devils, excellent at playing the sleepy game, who won 1-0.

The defining play was a misplay of the puck behind the net by Braden Holtby. Holtby left his nest to “create a battle,” he told reporters. He was trying to find Marcus Johansson, but was slashed by Jaromir Jagr as he played the puck.

“I hadn’t touched the puck very much throughout the game, so I didn’t really know what their forecheck was, and I turned around and saw the two guys pressuring pretty hard, so that usually means their half-wall guy is open.”

“I tried to be patient with my read, and I took too long, probably made the wrong read, and the guy [Jagr] slashed my stick when I went to clear it. At that point in the game, you have to pick the safe play, and I didn’t, and it cost us,” said Holtby.

Holtby was forced to let go of the puck, and it caromed to a ready and waiting Mike Cammalleri, who scored the game-winning goal in to a virtually empty net. Brooks Orpik was in front, but he didn’t stand a chance.

“In hindsight, a 0-0 game- at that point you just need to rip it up the half wall, up the glass, a safe play. That’s a mistake I can’t make,” said Holtby. “It looks unfortunate, cause its 0-0, but you can prevent that from happening by realizing what time of the game it is, what type of game it is, and then not being fancy with the puck. “

Holtby stopped 27 of 28 shots, and defenseman Karl Alzner thought his goaltender “played great.”

“I haven’t talked to him about it yet, but it looked like that guy [Jagr] got a good hack on him right as he was going to play the puck,” said Alzner. “That’s happened to me before and you can’t really do much about it, so it’s just a tough break. He played a great game and that’s the way we have to look at it.”

The Capitals were packing up to head to St. Louis shortly after the game, and the back-to-back game doesn’t give them a whole lot of time to dwell on their bad luck. These types of games are won or lost in a split second.

“Obviously we would have liked to be on the winning end of that, said Alzner. “That’s a big game for us, but the effort was pretty good for us, so we’ve got to be somewhat happy with that. But those two points are the ones we need.”

CAPS: Hockey ‘N Heels 2013 (Photos)

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hockey ‘N Heels, November 2013

The Washington Capitals hosted the sold-out Hockey ‘n Heels on Nov. 13, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The event was held exclusively for Club Scarlet members in partnership with 97.1 Wash FM and featured instructional sessions and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals female audience.

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The first half of the night was divided into three sessions of on-ice demonstrations from current and former Capitals players and coaches. Defenseman Steve Oleksy, forward Tom Wilson and former Capital/current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed participants on shooting skills. Assistant coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on face-offs while defenseman Alexander Urbom and former Capital Paul Mulvey covered stick handling and passing skills. Attendees also had the opportunity to take a photo with defenseman Karl Alzner during the event.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy  high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Off-ice presentations included a Q & A with head goaltender coach Olie Kolzig, along with May.

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Video coach Brett Leonhardt conducted a video session to provide attendees a peek into how the team prepares for upcoming games by watching game footage.

The head equipment manager Brock Myles discussed equipment worn by the team during an equipment session in the Capitals locker room. Women were able to try on an official helmet and see equipment up close.

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

“It was great to see such an interest in hockey from our female fan base,” said Wilson. “We had a lot of skilled participants out tonight, and we enjoyed sharing the game with them.”

Founded in 2009, Club Scarlet is a fan club for women designed to provide more information, events and networking opportunities for the team’s population of female fans.

To learn more about Club Scarlet visit http://www.scarletcaps.com/.


CAPS: 2015 Caps Canine Calendar

Members of the Washington Capitals players participated in the 2015 Capitals Canine Calendar photo shoot to benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue at Potomac Regional Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia.

A limited number of 2015 Caps Canine Calendars will be available for $20 beginning Tuesday, Dec. 2, when the Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks. The Caps Better Halves will help sell the calendars during the month of December at the MSE Foundation table located at section 104 on the main concourse. In addition the calendar will be available for purchase at the team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The online sales are closed.

Players being photographed include Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters, Aaron Volpatti, and Joel Ward with their dogs and Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Alex Ovechkin, Dmitri Orlov and Tom Wilson with shelter dogs.

Last season $34,044.99 was donated to Homeward Trails through the sale of the 2014 Capitals Canine Calendar.

How could you resist a calendar with your favorite hockey players and adorable dogs? Here are a few of the photos posted on Twitter and Instragram.

 

@backstrom19 gets some puppy kisses after his shoot. #capscaninecalendar

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

#CapsCanineCalendar shoot with Braden Holtby and Hogan from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

Caps comeback against Sharks could be biggest point earned all season

To say the Washington Capitals came out flat in the first period in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks is an understatement.

As well as the team played in its first two games, it was quite a shock to everyone — including the team — to see it come out so poorly against the travelling Sharks, a team this franchise historically has had its fair share of problems with.

There were problems all night on the blue line. John Carlson, in particular, played poorly and ended up demoted in the third period as Mike Green — who actually had a fantastic game — joined Brooks Orpik on the second pairing.

But the Caps were able to comeback, tie the game, and force overtime to earn a point against one of the better teams in the Western Conference — after falling behind 3-0 midway through the first period.

Considering the situation, then, could erasing a three-goal deficit — and a two-goal margin with less than six minutes left in the game — be one of the biggest single points the Caps pick up this season?

“Yeah. It’s pretty incredible we found a way to come back there and score some goals against a team that hadn’t let a goal in [yet this season],” defenseman Karl Alzner said afterwards. “That’s gotta say something.”

“We started the game playing the way we did in the first two games there in the second period. If we play three periods like that, it doesn’t matter what team it is you’re gonna have a chance to win. We’re happy that we came back against a great team, but we like to think about ourselves and what we did tonight wasn’t enough.

Coach Barry Trotz agreed. “We got a point where we probably could sit here and go ‘We shouldn’t deserve points tonight’, but we got one.”

Trotz also brought up that the Caps have picked up four points in the first three games — all against playoff teams.

It’s problematic for this team to dig a hole for themselves and have to score their way out of it. And they’d especially like to avoid going the shootout route they took so much last season. But a point is a point, and considering their absence form the playoffs last season, they need to accumulate points wherever and whenever they can.

“You gotta commend us for coming back but we definitely had a slow start,” Green said. Green had a goal and an assist, and has scored in both games he’s played thus far.

“You know, we can’t be doing that. We realize how we have to play to be successful. It took us about a period to figure it out. Barry had some words of encouragement in the second and third [periods].  We put our minds to it and we got the job done as far as getting the one point. But we can’t be going to shootout most nights.”

Backup goalie Justin Peters was called on by Trotz to relieve Braden Holtby after the Sharks’ third goal in the first period. It was a tough situation to come into for his first action of the season, but he acquitted himself well under the conditions.

“We were a resilient group tonight,” Peters said. “We were real flat in the first period. I guess now you realize how valuable points are and we’re lucky to come away with a point but it just shows when we get playing we’re a pretty good team.”

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