April 18, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Caps score twice in third, shock Islanders

Down 3-1, and having given up a critical goal shortly after tallying their much-needed first, the Washington Capitals were in very dire straits and at risk of falling behind the New York Islanders two games to none in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Spurred on by their fans as well as improved puck control, they ensured that talk of a potential sweep would be just that – talk.

A spirited final 30 minutes of hockey, in which Washington scored three unanswered goals in a space of 11 minutes and 28 seconds (spanning two periods), lifted Washington to a 4-3 win in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Islanders in front of a raucous crowd Friday night at Verizon Center.

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Washington Capitals Game 81 Recap: Holtby stellar in Caps’ win over Bruins

Three times this season, the Boston Bruins went up against Braden Holtby. Three times they exited the ice without a single goal.

Holtby made 27 saves and Washington scored two goals early in the first period en route to a 3-0 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

The win certifies that the Caps will play in the 2-3 matchup in the Metro Division. If the Islanders lost Thursday night, the Capitals will finish as the No. 2 seed. [Read more…]

Secondary scoring remains Caps’ biggest weakness

Marcus Johansson - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Marcus Johansson – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

What is the biggest weakness of the Washington Capitals?

It’s a simple question, but an important one. The playoffs have a way of exposing every weakness of every team very quickly. Knowing what those weaknesses are can help determine who the true Stanley Cup contenders are.

With nine games left in their regular season schedule, the Washington Capitals sit in a playoff position with a four-point cushion. To put it simply, they are the seventh best team in the Eastern Conference. But why? [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 70 Recap: Washington stellar in win over Boston

Before Sunday night’s game against the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz discussed the mindset needed of a team vying to secure a spot in the postseason, saying that his team’s work ethic had “slipped a little bit.”

For all 60 minutes, Washington’s worth ethic was on display as they took control of momentum from the opening shift en route to a 2-0 win over the Bruins at Verizon Center.

Energy from both the Caps, who only added to their playoff cushion with the victory, and their fans played a role from the beginning and helped deliver Washington to just their second win in the last five games, a set that made up a season-long homestand.

At 12:34 of the first, John Carlson struck from the point on the power play, and the Caps finally had something to show for their physical domination and unwillingness to back down the Bruins’ own physicality.

Nate Schmidt scored a rare goal with 6:23 left in the second, his first of the season. “I actually was trying to look to see if there was off the back side of the post because the [Boston] forwards were coming up trying to block it,” Schmidt said. “I was just trying to get it to the net, let’s be honest,” he said with a laugh. Not only was the defenseman exuberant in the huddle immediately after the goal, he clearly wore the emotions of a player with a sizable weight lifted off his shoulders in the locker room afterward. “It’s like ‘finally.’ It’s like, you’re just glad it finally happened but I guess there was no better time, better late than never.”

Backstrom’s assist on the Carlson goal moved him into first place by himself on the franchise’s all-time assists list, breaking a three-way tie with Alex Ovechkin and Michal Pivonka, who had 418 each. He extended his lead with a secondary helper on the Schmidt tally.

Backstrom called the feat a “nice bonus,” adding, “it’s always [nice] when you get credit for something; maybe you’ve done something good. But, you have to remember, that I played with a lot of good players over the years and without the teammates, coaches and the fans, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Braden Holtby had 32 saves on the night, extending his career high for shutouts in a season to eight.

CAPS NOTES

  • Backstrom’s two assists extended his league-high total for the season to 56.
  • Trotz said that Dmitry Orlov (wrist) would have increased intensity with his rehabilitation this week, and that he had a higher probability of going to Hershey for a rehab assignment after the Caps return from a three-game road trip early next week.
  • In addition, Trotz said that he had yet to make a decision on whether Philipp Grubauer or Holtby would start the back end of the team’s back-to-back set on Monday night in Buffalo.
  • Interestingly, Holtby leads the NHL in shutouts since the 2012-13 season with 16.
  • Tom Wilson had a game-high six hits, while drawing a penalty and committing none.

Three stars: Washington Capitals 6, Buffalo Sabres 1

FIRST STAR: Curtis Glencross. Glencross has proved to be a wonderful addition to Washington so far, providing a much needed spark to the second power play unit. He had three points against Buffalo.

SECOND STAR: Nicklas Backstrom. He’s got an NHL leading 50 assists. Beastly.

THIRD STAR: Jay Beagle. Barry Trotz favorite Beagle is in the midst of the best season of his career. He’s always worked hard to improve, and this year, it shows.

Washington Capitals Game 67 Recap: Capitals hand 6-1 loss to struggling Sabres

­The Buffalo Sabres started the scoring against the Washington Capitals, but the game quickly slipped away from them as the Caps scored six unanswered goals to win 6-1. It was the Sabres’ fourth consecutive loss.

Alex Ovechkin scored an NHL-leading 44th goal on Washington’s second power play attempt of the night. Ovechkin was also awarded a penalty shot later in the game after Andre Benoit was called for holding on a breakaway, but did not convert on the attempt. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 3

First star: Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin increased his goal scoring total with two against Columbus. He leads the league in goals with 43, and shares the points lead with Nicklas Backstrom with 67.

Second star: Nicklas Backstrom. If he isn’t a Hart contender already, he’s making a strong case for it. Backstrom shares the league lead  with 67 points – and 49 of those are assists.

Third star: Braden Holtby. Holtby earned his 31st win of the season, and stopped 27 of 30 shots in his record 56th start of the year. He is quite literally a beast.

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

First star:

Braden Holtby.

It seems like he should have more, but his 7th shutout of the season was no less impressive. He stopped all 32 shots thrown his way.

 

Second star:

Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin scored his 40th and 41st goals against Toronto on Sunday night, and earned  an assist to boot. If he scored 50, no one would be surprised.

 

Third star:

Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom earned his 47th assist Sunday night, and is a serious contender for the Hart Trophy. Yeah.

Washington Capitals Game 60 Recap: Holtby stymies Islanders in shootout as Caps win 3-2

In arguably their biggest win of the regular season, the Washington Capitals lost a one-goal lead late in the third period, only to see Braden Holtby stop all three shots he faced in the shootout and secure a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday at Verizon Center.

The Caps got the lead from Eric Fehr with 5:34 to go in regulation. Fehr got the puck in the Washington zone via an errant New York pass, and fed Brooks Laich near the center line. Laich gave it right back to Fehr, who put a blistering snap shot past Johnson from the slot.

The Islanders forced overtime with 48 seconds left after Washington played a conservative game for the final few minutes, as Ryan Strome put a tight-angle shot behind Holtby as the Islanders skated 6-on-5 with the goalie pulled.
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Washington Capitals Game 59 Recap: Backstrom, Caps fly to first-class victory over Jets

Five tripping penalties by the Winnipeg Jets, four goals against Ondrej Pavelec, three points from Nicklas Backstrom and two first-period goals led the way to one solid win for the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

A pretty calm start for both teams led the way to a pair of goals in the last six minutes of the third. John Carlson opened the scoring, with a seemingly deflcted shot from the point with traffic in front off Pavelec. Ovechkin turned not only Pavelec, but the entire Winnipeg backcheck, inside-out with his league-leading 38th goal, with less than two minutes left in the period.

“Right now, in this kind of moment of the season, you look at different teams and you just have to play to get points,” Ovechkin said. “Every point right now is a very important point and we have to show the best game. All the guys have to sacrifice their body and play well. [Tonight] was great. It was the plan, to make a push. Since the first drop of the puck, from the first face off, all the lines play well, everybody does their job, and that’s why we get success.”

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