September 21, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 67 Recap: Caps furious comeback earns point against Kings

WILLIAMS, RICHARDS HONORED BY KINGS IN RETURN TO STAPLES CENTER

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

It wasn’t over until it was over.

The Washington Capitals continued their recent string of bad starts and furious finishes, coming from three goals down to salvage a point against one of the better teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings. Jeff Carter’s goal at 2:50 in overtime dealt the Caps a 4-3 loss that for many might have felt like a win.

T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov — in spectacular fashion — scored three third period goal to forge a tie and carry the game to a frenetic overtime period. Or half of an overtime period, as it was.

The Caps improve to 49-13-5 for 103 points on the season. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 55 Recap: Yet another hero emerges as Caps beat Kings

GRUBAUER SPECTACULAR WITH 39 SAVES; KUZNETSOV NETS WINNER LATE IN THIRD

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Brooks Orpik finally returned after a long absence to play his fifteenth game of the season, but it was Philipp Grubauer’s 14th appearance in net this year that propelled the Caps to a hard-fought victory.

Grubauer made 39 saves, keeping the Caps competitive on the way to the 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The young netminder stopped everything from nasty rebounds to one-on-one breakaways — the backup keeper was nothing short of astounding in play.

The Kings (33-20-3 69 points) and Washington Capitals (41-10-4 86 points) faced off at Verizon in a game that at times felt like one that would be played in June, as Justin Williams and Mike Richards took on their former club. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Los Angeles Kings 2/13/15

First star: Braden Holtby. Holtby is tied for the league lead in shutouts with 6. His 4-0 shutout of the L.A. Kings was his third straight in regulation, and he’s tied with Cory Schneider for most games played this season (44). He’s carrying the load, and doing a mighty fine job.

Second star: Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom gets the second star because of his really sweet goal on Jonathan Quick, his 16th of the year. With his assist on Troy Brouwer’s second goal, number 38 on the season, Backstrom moved into fourth place in league scoring. Only Jakub Voracek has more assists (41).

Third star: Troy Brouwer. He played in his 500th NHL game and scored two goals in Washington’s whipping of the L.A. Kings. Brouwer has three points in his last five games.

 

 

Washington Capitals Game 73 Recap: Capitals fall 5-4 to Kings in shootout; Kuznetsov scores first career goal

After a surprisingly successful west coast swing, the Washington Capitals faced the Los Angeles Kings for the second time in a week, this time on home turf. After running off with a lead to start the game, the Capitals couldn’t hold the Kings comeback, and lost 5-4 in the shootout.

The Capitals got off to a great start (on the power play, as it were). Alex Ovechkin scored his 47th goal of the season, assisted by John Carlson and Troy Brouwer.

Less than five minutes later, Ovechkin scored on a power play again, his 48th goal of the season assisted by Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom.

While the first period was all Capitals, the second period belonged to the Kings, who spent much quality time in the Caps zone, and had something to show for it. Mike Richards scored on the power play, and the Kings continued to chip at the Caps lead.

In the meantime, Chris Brown, Troy Brouwer, and Nicklas Backstrom each had their turn going down the tunnel for various ailments. Brown and Brouwer returned to the game, but Backstrom did not. Capitals coach Adam Oates told reporters post game that Backstrom is not undergoing concussion protocol, and called it an “upper body injury”.

Dustin Penner scored his first goal as a Capital late in the second, assisted by Brown, who’d just returned to the bench. The assist marked Brown’s first NHL point. The momentum didn’t carry to the third period the way the Capitals would have liked.

The Kings scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead halfway through the third period.

John Carlson took a hooking penalty with a minute left in regulation, but the Capitals iced a penalty kill that Karl Alzner called “desperate”. So desperate, in fact, that it led to Russian youth Evgeny Kuznetsov’s first career goal, a shorthanded tally that sent the game to overtime.

Alex Ovechkin scrambled to the goal line to retrieve the puck for Kuznetsov, and the crowd began throwing hats, because they thought he was the one who scored.

“It was a big goal that actually got us a point,” coach Adam Oates said. “Shorthanded. It was a good play. We won a draw, Orly [Dmitry Orlov] makes a nice run up the ice, which gives us a chance to get the goalie out. We dumped it in, and then I’m sure they relaxed just enough; it’s a weird situation. Sometimes those goals go in. It was a big goal for him and us; it gets us a point.”

The Capitals fell in the shootout, but got a little help from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who fell 5-3 in regulation to the St. Louis Blues.

Ovechkin collided with Jack Hillen in the neutral zone during overtime, which appeared to render Hillen unconscious. Hillen was able to stand and leave the ice, and Ovechkin returned to play despite looking a little shaken up after the hit.

Two points were what they needed, but they had to settle for one. There’s still work to be done if they want to make the playoffs, and their next obstacle is the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Maybe the Leafs will help the Capitals out a little more in the meantime.

Washington Capitals Game 71 Recap: Caps steal a point in L.A.

It would have been very easy for the Washington Capitals to go out on this late season trip through California without earning a single point, then come back to D.C. and start cleaning the golf clubs.

But Joel Ward’s third period goal forced overtime and the Caps, despite falling to the Los Angeles Kings in the shootout, have earned three of four points thus far on their West Coast swing, with the San Jose Sharks looming Saturday night.

The Caps played perhaps their best team-defense game of the season, with Jaroslav Halak stellar in net once again with 27 saves matching the Kings’ Jonathan Quick (21 saves) all evening long.

Washington remains one point behind Columbus and the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and the Wild Card chase with 11 games to play.

Anze Kopitar opened the scoring in the first period, beating Halak on a quick wrist shot through the five-hole. The Kings owned the better of play in the first and most of the second, but the Caps penalty kill was strong once again, killing minors to Jason Chimera and two by Nick Backstrom.

The equalizer came at 12:24 of the third period. Evgeny Kuznetsov, playing in his sixth NHL game, carried the puck along the right wing dasher to the goal line and snuck a pass through the crease to Joel Ward. Ward’s first attempt banged off defenseman Drew Doughty’s skate, but caromed right back to Ward, who got better wood on the second attempt and lifted it past Quick to even it up.

It was Ward’s 22nd goal of the season.

Both teams survived a frenetic final five minutes, and the Caps were unable to take advantage of a 4-on-3 power play in overtime despite several quality attempts, each spoiled by Quick.

Kuznetsov beat Quick in his first-ever shootout attempt in the NHL, but Ovechkin and Backstrom were both denied and the Caps had to be satisfied with just one point in L.A.

The Caps may not eventually qualify for the playoffs, but at least they are giving themselves a fighting chance with their performance in California this week. It makes one wonder where this effort ahs been all season long.

Game 40 Re-CAP–Kings 5, Caps 2: Crowned With Thorns

How soon can Nicklas return?  (photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Here’s how bad it got for the Washington Capitals Monday night at the Staples Center: Much of the last two periods was devoted to a social media guessing game regarding Capitals beat writer Mike Vogel‘s least favorite musical acts. As entertainments go, it certainly beat anything the Caps served up on the ice as they fell to the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 — their second straight loss — and ensured that they would return home from their two-game California swing empty-handed.

The game started well enough, as Marcus Johansson potted the first of his two goals 94 seconds in when he finished off a 2-on-1 break by wristing a shot past Jonathan Bernier to give Washington a 1-0 lead.  But despite their early deficit, Los Angeles had the better of the puck possession, scoring chances, and shots, and their pressure finally paid off with 8:19 left in the first period when Kyle Clifford banged a rebound past Tomas Vokoun to tie the game. [Read more…]

Caps in Advance: Week 14

This is a busy week for the Washington Capitals, with four games in seven days, at the beginning of a stretch in which the Caps take the ice 10 times in 18 days.  If this were college basketball, the media would call this Rivalry Week.  After a visit to the Los Angeles Kings, Washington’s schedule presents a game against long-time enemy Pittsburgh, and then a pair of division matchups against the bottom 40% of the Southeast.

One player who’s likely glad for the busy week is Dennis Wideman, who continues to surge under Dale Hunter, his former junior coach.  Wideman scored a power play goal and added an assist in Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks, vaulting him to 4th in the NHL scoring race among defensemen. The offensive defenseman now has four goals and 11 assists in 17 games under Hunter, scoring .88 points/game compared to .64 points/game under Bruce Boudreau.

Three of Wideman’s four goals under Hunter have been on the power play, where the Capitals are now operating at 19.7% efficiency, 7th best in the league and third in the Eastern Conference. [Read more…]

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