April 30, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 80 Recap: Comeback falls short in overtime loss to Pens

HOLTBY’S CHANCE AT BRODEUR’S ALL-TIME WINS RECORD TAKES HEAVY BLOW

(Photo by Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson — yes, Marcus Johansson — led a three-goal comeback for the Washington Capitals, only to see Sidney Crosby take a long head-man pass in overtime to beat Braden Holtby and lift the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Caps 4-3 on Thursday at a noticeably divided Verizon Center.

Pittsburgh won its eighth in a row and locked up second place in the division win the win.

The Caps (55-17-8) needed the late comeback because once again they came out complacent, suffered defensive breakdowns and received sometimes nonchalant goaltending.

A mere 44 seconds into the game, on a three-on-two rush, Tom Kuhnackl turned Nate Schmidt inside-out and passed to wide open Matt Cullen, who cleanly beat Holtby for a 1-0 lead. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 76 Recap: Flyers take down Caps in shootout

LATE FLYERS GOAL TIES IT, CAPS FALL IN RARE SHOOTOUT LOSS

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A third period essentially bookended by a power play goal from a star on both the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers was a fitting penultimate frame in a potential preview of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both teams had over 60 shot attempts and 30 hits each, and the atmosphere was befitting of this traditional Metropolitan Division rivalry.

Behind shootout goals from Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner and two stops in the skills competition from Steve Mason, the Flyers prevailed 2-1 in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 16 Recap: Caps end of game surge is extinguished by the Flames in OT

WASHINGTON CAPITALS PLAYED WITH “URGENCY” IN THIRD PERIOD BUT IT WASN’T ENOUGH TO WIN

“I’m not happy with the overall result,” stated Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz after the 3-2 overtime loss to Flames, however, “I think the positive is that we came back and got a point…our team is better than one period of hockey.”

The Washington Capitals hosted the Calgary Flames on Friday the 13th making it their third game in just four days, with the first two games on the road. The travel fatigue seemed to effect the Caps and had only one shot on goal for the first ten minutes.

Calgary was skating very fast and the Caps struggled to keep up with them for the first forty minutes. The Caps felt the urgency and bounced back in the third. Trott referred to the third and fourth lines as his “workers” and credits the bottom six for stepping it up. Michael Latta and Jay Beagle scored for the Caps.

“Latta was a spark plug,” said Trotz. Michael Latta scored his first goal of the season and his second career goal (11/15/13 at DET). Latta has earned 12 points (2g, 10a) in 77 career NHL games.

Goalie Braden Holtby had the night off and Philip Grubauer was in net for the Capitals and stopped 26 of 29 shots in his third start of the season. Trotz called Grubauer “pretty sharp” and made some critical saves to keep the Caps in the game.

Captain Alex Ovechkin still has the monkey on this back and wants to get the goal and move on. Coach Trotz weighed in at the post-game presser.  “Today I did [sense mounting pressure] for the first time. I think he wants to get it [passing Sergei Fedorov (483) for first place among Russian-born NHL players in career goals]. There’s no question. I haven’t talked to him about it, but the best advice I can give him is to ‘play your normal game.’ He’s scored a gazillion goals in this league, and to our team: don’t look for Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] to score that goal. Don’t overpass. He’s scored a lot of goals. Play the way we play, and I guarantee you, he will score that goal, and he’ll score many after that.”

A few of the players had shared their thoughts about playing with urgency and resiliency of the team.

Brooks Laich: “With a caliber of hockey team that we have, we expected more. I know it’s three games in four nights, but they traveled last night too, they played last night. There’s no excuses. If you look at our hockey team, I think it’s a game that we should’ve had. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it.”

Michael Latta:  “We’ve got a lot of great character in this room. It shows. We could’ve had a couple more in the third, I feel like, We’ve got a great group in here. We never give up, that’s for sure.”

Andre Burakovsky : “I think we have so much energy… I think everyone can really go for 60 minutes here. At the end of the games, other teams are getting tired but we can just keep going. I think we kind of know that we have to come back every time we get the puck behind their D [defense]. That’s the way we want to play, that’s where we’re good. That’s something we have to do all the time, not just at the end.”

Congratulations to Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz for coaching his 1,294th NFL game which ties Jacques Martin for 10th place on the all-time NHL games coached list.

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals lit up the ice at Verizon Center in Washington DC to represent the French flag in honor of Paris victims during the National Anthem. Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Caps Notes:

- The Capitals outshot Calgary 36-29 and won 33 of 65 faceoffs (50.7%).
- Washington has held its opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games (10/15-11/13), marking the longest streak since the Capitals held their opponents to 30 or fewer shots in 14 consecutive games during the 1999-2000 season (1/6/00-2/3/00). The franchise record for most consecutive games holding an opponent to fewer than 30 shots is 20 games, set during the 1984-85 season.
- The Capitals have posted a 6-2-1 record at home this season and have earned a point in four consecutive games at Verizon Center (10/30-11/13: 3-0-1).
Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 278th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Washington Capitals Game Recap: Capitals downed in overtime by streaking Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t lost a game in December, thanks in (most) part to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has has been among the best in the league after a rough start to the season. He showcased another dominant performance against the Washington Capitals in their home barn, a 3-2 overtime win, their fifth straight.

Bobrovsky faced 41 shots from the Capitals, 18 of while Washington was on the power play. Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer scored goals in regulation, but a late Jason Chimera penalty in overtime doomed their effort with 19 seconds left in extra time.

Braden Holtby was less busy, only saw 23 shots on goal, and helped his team kill two of three Blue Jackets penalties.

Penalties are the real story here, though. Before the first period was five minutes old, Columbus had given up three penalties, and Washington had 6 power plays over the course of the game. Fehr’s first period tally, a deflection from Matt Niskanen’s blueline cannon, was the only Capitals power play goal of the night, and his first power play goal of the season.

The game was never out of reach for Columbus, despite the shot disparity. Brouwer’s second period goal was answered a mere 1:39 later by Kevin Connaughton’s game-tying shot.

Nicholas Foligno rang Washington’s death knell in overtime, his second of the game. Chimera was called for interference against Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson late in the extra time, a mistake that coach Barry Trotz was openly upset with in his postgame presser.

“Definitely unnecessary,” said Trotz. “We’ll address that tomorrow with that individual.”

 

  • Alex Ovechkin led the team with nine shots on goal and five hits, but no goals. Trotz doesn’t think anyone should be worried about that. “Maybe one of the best goal-scorers in this decade had nine shots. That’s not bad. That’s what you want.”
  • Ovechkin led all forwards in ice time with 24:43, and a whopping PP TOI of 8:34.
  • In addition to his assist, Niskanen led all Caps skaters in ice time with 26:15. That included a hefty 5:47 PP TOI and 2:11 SH TOI.
  • Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom skated 7:44 apiece on the power play.
  • John Carlson skated 25:07, and joined the “seven-plus minutes on the power play” club with 7:10 PP TOI.

Washington Capitals Game 18 Recap: Capitals down Coyotes with Fehr’s overtime winner

The Washington Capitals needed an extra inning to decide their game against the Arizona Coyotes, where Eric Fehr scored the winning goal. Caps win 2-1.

After a rough weekend with losses to St. Louis and New Jersey, the win was a good bounce back from two straight losses. With the victory, the Caps now stand in 3rd in the Metropolitan Division with 19 points.

Jay Beagle scored his second of the season in the first period, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson evened it up for the Coyotes. In overtime, Fehr netted his third of the season for the game-winner.

A few notes:

  • Braden Holtby stopped 23 of 24 shots for a SV% of .958. Holtby, like his beard, was majestic. He’s finally bouncing back.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov skated 7:32, the second lowest TOI next to Chris Brown, who skated 6:36. Barry Trotz says he’s trying to find minutes for everybody, but burying Kuznetsov on the fourth line clearly isn’t working.
  • The Capitals had 24 shots on goal, including 4 in OT. They had just 2 SOG in the second period.
  • Shot attempts were tied at 50 for both teams.
  • The Capitals were 0/3 on the PP, but were perfect on the penalty kill, killing all 4 Coyotes power plays.
  • Tom Wilson had another strong showing. He led the team with 6 hits, had 2 shots on goal, and played 13:55. Good look for him.

The Colorado Avalanche are up next for the Caps on Thursday at 9 PM eastern time. Since it’s not a back-to-back, expect Holtby to get the start in net. Ride the wave, Trotz, ride the wave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Wizards Game 5 Review: Wall helps Wiz defeat Pacers in Overtime

John Wall went on a 6-0 run in overtime to give the Washington Wizards the lead for good as they beat the Indiana Pacers, 96-94, Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. Roy Hibbert’s two free throws had given the Pacers their first lead since the first quarter with 3:24 left in overtime at 88-87. Hibbert missed a three-pointer to win the game, while Chris Copeland missed a follow-up jumper from seven feet out that would have forced a second overtime.

The Wizards took a five-point lead into halftime at 46-41 after ending the first quarter tied at 24. Wall gave the Wizards their largest lead at 61-49 with 4:37 left in the third quarter. The Pacers chipped away at the lead until Chris Copeland’s three-pointer tied the game up at 77 with 4:07 left in regulation.

The Wizards were able to extend out to a four-point lead after Copeland’s basket, but Donald Sloan tied the game at 84 with 6 seconds left. Paul Pierce missed a three-pointer at the end of regulation.

Sloan led the Pacers with a career-high 31 points. Copeland added 19 points off the bench.

Wall led the Wizards with a double-double, scoring 31 points along with 10 assists. The Wizards had four starters score in double figures, with Marcin Gortat, Garrett Temple and Paul Pierce also contributing. The Wizards made 21 of 23 free throws.

Washington Redskins Game 8 Review: McCoy shocks Cowboys in overtime

In what seems to be another season destined for being on the outside of the playoffs, this could very well have been the high point.

The Washington Redskins, huge underdogs to the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys, went on the road on Monday Night Football led by third-string quarterback Colt McCoy and beat Dallas 20-17 in overtime.

McCoy went 25 of 30 for 299 yards and hit Jordan Reed twice in overtime for big first downs to set up Kai Forbath on what turned out to be a game-winning 40-yard field goal on the first possession in the extra session. [Read more…]

Washington Mystics Game 5 Recap: Mystics rookies lead the way in thrilling 92-84 3OT win over LA Sparks

Bria Hartley goes up for a shot during Sunday's game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Bria Hartley goes up for a basket during Sunday’s game against the LA Sparks. Image courtesy of Monumental Network.

Led by first-year players Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, the Washington Mystics secured the first ever triple overtime win in franchise history, defeating the Los Angeles Sparks 92-84. Hartley posted a career-high 20 points, and Dolson put up 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. It was their second consecutive win of the season, and their second consecutive win at home.

The Mystics bench outscored the Sparks 63-29, went 20-for-22 at the free-throw line, gathered 52 rebounds (a franchise record) and had 31 turnovers, which Coach Mike Thibault though was surprising.

“Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a score where you win a game in three overtimes and can have 31 turnovers,” he said.  ” [It took ] a lot of heart to win a game like that, when I’m looking at all the young players and I’m going ‘holy smokes.’ You got to get tested somewhere and they survived the test.”

Thibault also mused that high-pressure games are what aid the maturity of the younger players. “…game situations where you have score and time and fouls to give situations, inbounding against pressure, and all those things you have something to teach off of. Both on film and on the court, the things you preached at them that sometimes they may not always believe all come out in a game like this.”

“And we learned some valuable lessons while you’re doing it. I’d rather much learn the lessons and get a win at the end, than saying it was a great learning lesson and having a loss. It was really ugly for a while but really good in many ways too.”

Ivory Latta added 14 points and a team-high 8 assists, Monique Currie and Jelena Milovanovic had 12 points apiece, and Emma Meesseman scored 8 points and had 4 rebounds.

“I feel good and especially that we got a win in front of our crowd. It’s always a great feeling; we just have to continue the streak and play together and play hard,” said Latta. “To be honest this is what I train for, stuff like this. We pulled it out, we dug down and got it together.”

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.

Washington Capitals Game 56 Recap: Capitals soar to 6-5 overtime win against Red Wings

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

After playing five road games in eight nights and four games in 5 1/2 days, the Washington Capitals showed little sign of fatigue as they skated to an early lead against the Detroit Red Wings, eventually winning 6-5 in overtime.

The Red Wings went down 2-0 early in the first, and trailed 3-1 by the end of the first period, but a Gustav Nyquist hat trick kept them within striking distance. Justin Abdelkader tied the game at 5-5 late in the third, but Alex Ovechkin scored his 39th goal of the season in overtime to send the Wings packing.

Michal Neuvirth got his second consecutive start after a 42-save outing in Detroit on Friday night. He’s been playing well, but defensive lapses in the Caps’ own zone gave the Red Wings ample opportunity to attack — and score. The Red Wings surged back from two 2-goal deficits, and even though Neuvirth allowed five goals, he was happy with his overall performance.

“I was just focusing on myself,” said Neuvirth. “After I had a few behind me, I wasn’t looking at the scoreboard. Playing just a game it was 0-0”

“Pretty happy with the win tonight. [I’m] feeling more comfortable mentally and physically. This win is definitely going to help my confidence, but today is today,” he continued. “We still have three games at home and we have to be ready, take one game at a time.”

With Mike Green and Brooks Laich both absent from the lineup, younger players like Connor Carrick are tasked with more responsibility. Carrick stepped up to the plate, and assisted on Jason Chimera’s opening goal and Joel Ward’s second period tally, a solid game for the youngster.

“The first goal of the game, he jumped up,” said Oates “Wardo’s [Joel Ward] second goal he jumped up when we needed it because we were reeling. He had poise with the puck in overtime, right at the start of overtime. He’s still learning the game. It can be overwhelming at times.”

“They have some Stanley Cup Champions over there coming at him, one of the best puck handling teams there is. I’m sure at times it’s overwhelming, but I thought all-in-all he hung in there and did a great job.”

The Capitals have three more games (all at home) before the Olympic break, and need to gather as many points as they possibly can to help their playoff cause. As it stands, the Caps have 13 regulation wins in 56 games and are in playoff contention purely because the Metropolitan Division is otherwise putrid aside from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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