January 25, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 39 Recap: Caps find redemption against Leafs in high-scoring affair

The Washington Capitals rode into frosty Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night red-hot. Coming into the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Capitals lost just one regulation game over their past fourteen, a 10-1-3 record since Dec. 4.

With a sugar high from last week’s exciting Winter Classic victory and a home win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon, the Capitals continue to enjoy a great start to 2015. Their year continued rolling along with a 6-2 blowout win against the Leafs, a dominating performance that exacted revenge for their 6-2 loss in Air Canada Centre on Nov. 29. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 35 Recap: Caps blank Pens in Pittsburgh

Eric Fehr scored twice, Braden Holtby was once again stellar and the Washington Capitals blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 at Consol Energy Center.

Holtby made 31 saves, including nine on the penalty kill, to lead the Caps (18-11-6-42) to break an eight-game losing streak to Pittsburgh. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders 11/28/14

While you were eating (or maybe doing the wave at the Verizon Center, shame on you), the Washington Capitals took the home portion of this week’s home-and-home series against the New York Islanders. While they could hardly muster any enthusiasm on the Island (who can blame them, really), the Capitals overcame a slow start to win 5-2.

First Star: Matt Niskanen. The defenseman collected three assists in the game, his second career 3-assist game, and led all Caps skaters in ice time with 22:35. He’s earned a point in three consecutive games (1g, 4a). Mike Green’s absence, which might be extensive at this point, has been a good opportunity for Niskanen to showcase his offensive.

Second Star: Braden Holtby. In his eighth win of the season, Holtby stopped 26 of 28 shots with a SV% of .929. Holtby is 5-2-1 in his last seven starts, with a 1.61 GAA, and a .938 SV%. With his 68th win, Holtby is now sixth on the Capitals’ franchise wins list.

Third Star: Marcus Johansson. The Swede marked his fourth multi-point game of the season with one goal and one assist. Johansson finished the night with three shots on goal and one hit. He has 16 points on the season (7g, 9a), and has earned points in three straight games.

Honorable mention: Evgeny Kuznetsov collected two points in the contest, a goal and an assist, his second and sixth respectively. It was the second multi-point game of his career.

 

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

The Washington Capitals won their third straight game Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin had two goals apiece in the 4-2 win.

Jay Beagle played on the first line and didn’t screw anything up. He even dished a slick no-look pass to Ovechkin on his first goal. Nate Schmidt got his first point of the season with a secondary assist on Johansson’s second goal of the night. He’s probably smiling about that right now. Additionally, Braden Holtby stopped 24 of 26 shots and had one of his better performances this season.

 

First Star:

Marcus Johansson.

With his two goals Tuesday night, Johansson now has 8 goals on the season, and has already eclipsed his goal total from last season. He has as many goals as Ovechkin, and had 8 shots on goal (career high) against Columbus. His trigger finger is serving him well.

 

Second Star:

Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin had 8 shots on goal in his 2-goal performance. Pretty insane until you realize Johansson had 8 SOG as well. The Caps player with the next highest SOG was John Carlson with 3.

 

Third Star:

Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky assisted on both of Johansson’s goals, bumping him up to 12 points on the season. His line with Johansson and Troy Brouwer is clicking well. The Caps top six is producing a lot of goals, and it’s no coincidence they’re on a winning streak.

 

Honorable mention:

Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom collected two assists, one on each of Ovechkin’s goals. He’s up to 16 points on the season.

Washington Capitals Game 15 Recap: Ovechkin and Johansson lead Caps over Columbus

After righting the ship against Chicago and Carolina over the weekend, the Washington Capitals, led by Alexander Ovechkin, extended their winning streak to three games on Tuesday evening with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 13 Recap: Capitals return to winning ways in Winter Classic preview

It wasn’t pretty and certainly wasn’t easy, but the Washington Capitals ended their five-game losing streak on Friday night in Chicago with a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks.

[Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Calgary Flames 11/4/14

The last time the Capitals won a game in regulation, it was in Calgary on October 25. They were hoping to repeat that Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

Goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and Joel Ward had the Caps leading after two, but Calgary tied things up in the third. In overtime, Sean Monahan’s wrister ended things for the Flames. Caps lose, 4-3. The Caps end up with one point, but still remain winless in their last five games.

 

First Star: Alex Ovechkin

It was an historic night for Ovechkin, who surpassed Peter Bondra in franchise scoring, his 826th point coming on an assist to Backstrom in the first period. Ovechkin finished the night with seven shots on goal, blocked a shot late in the third and carried the puck into the zone – a play that almost led to Tom Wilson scoring the game-winning goal. He covered Monahan on the eventual game-ending play, which will surely be dissected tomorrow, but it would be wise to watch what the actual defensemen were doing on the play.

Second Star: Nicklas Backstrom

Backstrom collected a goal and an assist in the loss. He has three goals and 10 assists on the season. His saucer pass to Tom Wilson late in the third almost led to a game-winning goal. Backstrom has a point in each of his last three games, and Tuesday was his second consecutive multi-point game and his fourth multi-point game of the season.

Third Star: Marcus Johansson

Johansson’s goal Tuesday night was his fifth of the season, and his third in five games. He’s displaying a more aggressive game this season, and appears to have found some chemistry with his linemates Troy Brouwer and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Washington Capitals Game 10 Recap: Caps unable to stave off Bolts’ forecheck, lose 4-3

After a start to the season that put many hockey observers on notice, the Washington Capitals have now lost three straight games after falling 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road on Saturday night.

[Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 11/1/14

The weather was pretty in Tampa tonight, but the ensuing contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning wasn’t so lovely for the Washington Capitals.

Ryan Callahan struck first for the Lightning in the first period, and Marcus Johansson answered with an even strength goal for the Caps. In the second period, Eric Fehr’s hard work paid off for a 2-1 Capitals lead, but Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov struck for the Lightning. Troy Brouwer tied things up late in the period. In the final frame, Jason Garrison scored the Lightning’s game winning goal. Capitals lose 4-3, their third loss in 4 games.

First Star: Marcus Johansson

The Swede scored his fourth goal of the season – an even strength goal, nonetheless – skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. He is well on his way to eclipsing his goal total (8) from last season. Johansson added 4 hits, and an assist on Troy Brouwer’s second period goal. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him break his career-high goals for a regular season (14) this year.

Second Star: Eric Fehr

He went from being a healthy scratch on Thursday to the scoresheet on Saturday. He scored his first goal of the season in Tampa. He only has 3 points in 10 games played so far, but you have to commend Fehr on bouncing back with a strong performance. Hopefully the coaching staff agrees.

Third Star: Troy Brouwer

Brouwer scored a power play goal from the slot, which briefly tied the game at 3-3. He finished the night with 4 shots on goal and 3 hits. The second period goal was Brouwer’s third on the season. Brouwer has 6 points (3g, 3a) through 10 games.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks 10/26/14

Three games, one win and two losses, two out of six possible points on the road. Not ideal, but the Capitals are sitting on a 4-2-2 record after 8 games, which is actually pretty good.

Add Vancouver to the list of places the Caps can’t seem to win in. They haven’t won a game in Vancouver since 2001, when the Sedins were practically babies.

Marcus Johansson scored his third goal of the season off a neat feed from Andre Burakovsky in the second period, then the Canucks added three goals in less than two minutes. The Capitals took a bunch of penalties and then rookie Liam O’ Brien scored his first career NHL goal in the second period, but a Vancouver empty-netter with a minute left in the third snuffed any hopes of a tie. Canucks win 4-2.

 

First Star:

Marcus Johansson.

Johansson is actually shooting (i.e. not passing up shots) and looks more confident than ever on the ice. Andre Burakovsky’s nifty pass to Johansson was one of two that got past Ryan Miller all night, and was #90’s third goal this season, which is equal to his even strength goal total from last season. Johansson began the night skating with Burakovsky and Troy Brouwer, but lines were shuffled and he ended up with Evgeny Kuznetsov as his center. Who knows if that will stick, though.

Second Star.

Justin Peters.

He may not have come up with the win, but Peters was a key component to keeping the Canucks off the board in the first period. The penalty kill wasn’t stellar tonight for the Caps, and Peters covered for the rest of the team’s defensive lapses capably. His last few starts haven’t been the best, but you can’t fault him for the losses.

Third Star.

Liam O’Brien.

The surprise rookie put himself on the map for something else besides face-punching. This is a facet of his game that he hopefully will put to use more often. He finished the night with 5 shots on goal and TOI of 8:04. O’Brien and Latta seem to have a bit of chemistry, so maybe Trotz will keep them together amidst the shuffling of lines of late.

 

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