March 6, 2015

Three stars: Washington Capitals 0, Carolina Hurricanes 3

First star: Braden Holtby. This game could have been 5-0 if it weren’t for Braden Holtby. His diving “insect save” in the third period was his best of the night.

Second star: Matt Niskanen. He took a hard shot off his bottom and was part of the PK unit that held Carolina’s squad off on both of their attempts. Niskanen had 2 shots on goal and 6 hits for the night.

Third Star: Karl Alzner. Alzner was also great on the PK in Carolina, and his one shot on goal was a great chance in the third period. He finished with three hits and 21:28 TOI.

Washington Capitals Game 54 Recap: Missed opportunities haunt Capitals in 3-1 loss to Flyers

A season-low shots on goal total and an otherwise underwhelming showing for the Washington Capitals led to a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon.

Alex Ovechkin scored Washington’s lone goal in a 14-shot outing, the team’s fewest since March 18, 2011. Braden Holtby faced 25 on his end from the Flyers.

Philadelphia gave Washington six power play chances, but they were able to convert only one on Ovechkin’s 33rd of the year.

It seemed like Philadelphia was daring the Capitals to take over the game, and they had plenty of opportunity to do so. Perhaps no chance was as ripe as Flyers goalie Ray Emery replacing Steve Mason, who was carted off the ice with an undisclosed lower body injury in the second period.

“We were all saying that on the bench, this is a great opportunity for us to be able to pepper him and we just didn’t do it,” said defenseman Karl Alzner. “It just wasn’t a good game for us.”

The Capitals have been able to string together winning streaks of three games all season, but never more than that. A fourth consecutive win has been elusive, but the players don’t really keep track of that stuff. They just want to win.

“I don’t really look into it,” said Alzner. “Obviously you want to have as many wins in a row as possible. It’s just a weird coincidence that we can’t get past that, but if we can keep going three-and-one, three-and-one, three-and-one, I don’t think anyone would be upset with that. We gotta take advantage of the opportunities we have.”

Brooks Laich doesn’t feel that Sunday’s game was a measuring stick for Washington’s chances during their California road trip, nor the prospect of the trip a motivating factor in the team’s performance.

“We had good success on that trip last year,” said Laich. “We don’t look at that and put extra emphasis on this game.”

“We battled for two months here to close the gap and could’ve today sat at number one in the division. That’s enough of a motivation right there.”

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 3, St. Louis Blues 4

 First Star: Alex Ovechkin. Time and time again, he’s had to hoist the rest of the squad onto his back. He did that against St. Louis, but sometimes one man can’t do all the work. His 31 goals currently leads the league. Ovechkin had three points in the 4-2 loss.

Second Star: Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom’s 52 points (15 G, 37 A) is good enough for him to sit in fifth place in the NHL in points. He contributed two assists against St. Louis.

Third Star: Karl Alzner. Much has been said about the coaches asking Alzner to step up his offense this season, and so far, he’s achieved a career-high four-goal season. His goal against the Blues was a good bit of revenge for the stitches over the eye he ended up with after being boarded by David Backes.

Washington Capitals Game 50 Recap: Caps fall short in 4-3 loss to Blues

Playing the second of back-to-back games has been problematic for the Washington Capitals, and it proved so again on Sunday, as the Caps fell to the St. Louis Blues at home 4-3.

Karl Alzner took a hit from St. Louis Blues center David Backes in the second period of the Capitals’ Sunday afternoon matinee at Verizon Center.

While Alzner fought for the puck along the boards, Backes approached, and stapled Alzner to the boards. The defenseman dropped to the ice and emerged from a tangle of skates and fists bleeding from a cut over his left eye. [Read more…]

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…]

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