January 25, 2015

Washington Capitals Game 45 Recap: Third period breakdown dooms Caps in Dallas

The Washington Capitals got off to a weak start against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, a tough 5-4 loss that leaves them wondering how they left two points behind in their swing through the Big D.  Coach Barry Trotz allowed the overworked Braden Holtby the night off, giving Justin Peters the start and a chance to keep the Caps rolling, but Dallas stole the show and left the visiting Caps empty-handed.

Washington, having just come from a demoralizing last-minute loss against the Nashville Predators, could not find a way to sustain momentum, handing over another loss.  The Caps, red-hot over the past fifteen games, were left wondering how to regain the spark that pushed them through December and early January. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars 1/17/15

For the second night in a row, the Capitals battled back from a multiple goal deficit, but fell short of a comeback. Justin Peters got his first start since the end of November and it wasn’t a great outing. Rust, maybe. The loss was they Caps’ second loss in as many night,s but they’ll bounce back. Regression happens.

First star: Nicklas Backstrom. He added two points in the 5-4 loss, a goal and an assist on Alex Ovechkin’s third period breakaway.

Second star: Alex Ovechkin. He has four points in Washington’s last two games (both losses), but scored his 25th goal against Dallas and assisted on Backstrom’s third period goal, his 16th assist of the season.

Third star: Eric Fehr. Since the Winter Classic, Fehr has notched six points in seven games, including a two-goal performance in Toronto. His second period goal in Dallas, his 14th of the year, got Washington’s comeback started. He also won 15 of 16 faceoffs. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play at center until last season.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 3, Nashville Predators 4

First Star: Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin’s two goals wiped out a two-goal deficit and nearly saved the game for the Capitals. He was sniffing for a hat trick, but it was not meant to be. Tonight showed he can still carry the team on his back when called upon. He finished with nine shots on goal and one hit.

Second Star: Braden Holtby. Seriously, this guy. He allowed four goals on 30 shots, but made some four-alarm saves along the way. He’s a large part of the Caps’ successful run over the last month and a half. He’s probably tired, and he’ll get a rest against Dallas.

Third Star: Nicklas Backstrom. Two assists, bringing his total to 31 on the year, is impressive, to say the least. He assisted one of Ovechkin’s goals, and Marcus Johansson’s short-lived  third period go-ahead goal.

 

A midway look at the Caps: Where do they stand and where are they going?

The Washington Capitals reached the midway point of their season on Saturday night with a 3-1 win over Detroit. The Caps closed out the first half with a red hot 12-1-4 streak and currently sit in playoff position.

Braden Holtby - Caps introductions before Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Braden Holtby – Caps introductions before Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Who have been the team’s top players in the first half and what should fans be watching for when the puck drops on the second half of the season Monday night? [Read more…]

Alex Ovechkin going to All-Star Game, Nicklas Backstrom left out again

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was selected to play in next month’s NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, the league announced on Saturday.

Ovechkin is 24th in the league in points with 36 (21g, 15a); his 21 goals are tied for fifth in the league with Joe Pavelski. That’s also more than enough for the most on the team, and Ovechkin is clearly very deserving of the honor, the sixth of his career (2007-09, 2011-12). However, if I may turn this news piece into an opinion one, the league made a serious mistake by not selecting the Caps’ most important player.

[Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders Dec. 29

The Washington Capitals forced overtime on the Island and escaped with a point after a furious three-goal third period comeback. Eric Fehr, Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin all tallied. Brooks Orpik injured a knee, but team sources think it’s not quite as bad as it might have looked. An eventful night two days before the Winter Classic.

First Star: Eric Fehr. His 10th goal of the season (I know, right) got the comeback started. It was another greasy one, as Fehr got dumped on his keister in the crease after the shot went through. Fehr is in double-digits, just one coming on the power play. Speaking of which, Caps had four extra-man opportunities, Fehr got 0:00 of power play time.

Second Star: Alex Ovechkin. His goal was a beaut, a long-range wrister that Jaroslav Halak simply couldn’t get his glove up in time to stop. Six shots on goal, five hits and an assist on Backstrom’s marker, springing his running mate for the layup.

Third Star: Brooks Laich. Assisted on Fehr’s goal and was in the crease himself when the puck went in, had four shots, blocked two shots and was on the ice for 5:13 of short-handedness.

Goat of the night: Evgeny Kuznetsov. The young Russian has spent some time in coach Barry Trotz’ doghouse this season, and his four-minute high-sticking penalty with 1:04 left in regulation, that carried over to overtime, and eventually ended with Johnny Boychuk’s game-winning goal at 2:53 of the extra session, will not go over so well with the brass.

Washington Capitals Game 34 Recap: Late penalties end Caps comeback bid

The Washington Capitals battled back from a 3-0 deficit, but saw their comeback bid foiled by late penalties on Tuesday night as they fell to the red hot New York Rangers 4-2 at Madison Square Garden.

The Caps looked very much like a team that had played the night before as they fell behind early to the blue shirts on their way to a loss against one of the NHL’s hottest teams. The offense sputtered out of the gate, mustering only 11 shots through the first two periods. Against a goalie like Henrik Lundqvist, that’s just not enough. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils 12/20/14

For what seemed like the millionth time (okay, actually the fourth, and final time of 2014), the Washington Capitals played the New Jersey Devils. This time, it was the bookend of a three-game road trip, in which the Caps were 2-0-1, the only black mark being a 20-round shootout loss to the Florida Panthers. The Caps are 6-0-2 in their last 8 games. Not shabby.

Braden Holtby pitched the shutout in the 4-0 win, propped up by goals from Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, and two from Nicklas Backstrom.

First star: Braden Holtby. He’s 6-1-2 in the month of December. Holtby stopped 21 shots in his second shutout of the season, his 14th win of the year.

Second star: Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season, and assisted on Mike Green’s game-winning goal. He leads the team with 34 points (10g, 24a) and has collected seven points in his last four games.  He’s ranked fifth in the NHL in assists.

Third star: Alex Ovechkin. Held to 4 games without a goal, he was overdue for one, and what a stunner it was. The goal was his 15th of the season, and Ovechkin has 4 points in his last 4 games.

Washington Capitals Game 32 Recap: Ovechkin provides exclamation point in whitewash of Devils

It was a sleepy game to start in New Jersey, but Alex Ovechkin opened everyone’s eyes in the third period with a highlight reel goal to finish off the Devils.

All the big guns were firing for the Washington Capitals on Saturday as Ovechkin and Mike Green both tallied once and Nicklas Backstrom added another two goals to down the New Jersey Devils 4-0. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 29 Recap: Backstrom’s hat trick helps lift surging Caps over Lightning

By his own admission, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom woke up from his pregame nap in a “grumpy” mood. The 27-year-old Swede was not-so-blissfully unaware of what was to come.

Backstrom’s natural hat trick gave Washington a 3-0 lead in the third period, and Eric Fehr’s empty-netter provided the icing on the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of a very enthusiastic Verizon Center crowd on Saturday night. [Read more…]

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