November 20, 2017

Washington Capitals First Round Game 4: Caps flat in Philadelphia; Flyers force Game 5

GAME FIVE SET FOR FRIDAY AT 7 P.M. IN WASHINGTON

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With a 3-0 series lead in hand for the first time in franchise history, and riding high after a dominant win in Game 3, the Washington Capitals came out flat again in the opening stages of a game in this best-of-seven series.

Giving up the game’s first goal for the second game in a row, Washington looked very out of sorts throughout the first two frames; a T.J. Oshie tally with 17:22 left was not enough as the Capitals fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Wednesday night.

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Washington Capitals First Round Game 3: Caps take 3-0 series lead after penalty filled affair

OVECHKIN TAKES FRANCHISE RECORD FOR PLAYOFF POINTS; ORPIK EXITS AFTER ROUGH HIT

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Ima

With a high-tension game that ended with a five-minute major against the Philadephia Flyers, two ten-minute game misconducts, and a delay-of-game penalty assessed to the Flyers’ fans, the Washington Capitals silenced the Wells Fargo Center and took game three of the series 6-1.

The Capitals scored five power-play goals, the most in their history in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. They were 5 for 9 and are 8 for 17 with the man-advantage in the series.

The goal scoring in the first, when Marcus Johansson added anther point to his stellar first-round sheet. On the very first power play, John Carlson took a shot from just inside the blue line and the puck deflected just of Johansson’s shin. Adding his first goal of the series to his five assists, Johansson grabbed his sixth point in the series to trail only Nicklas Backstrom and Carlson (7 apiece).

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Washington Capitals First Round Game 2 Recap: Holtby stellar as Caps build series lead

HOLTBY MAKES 41 SAVES TO LIFT CAPS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

After a physical Game 1, the Washington Capitals came in to Game 2 expecting nothing less from the Philadelphia Flyers, except maybe that they would ratchet the hitting, antagonizing and overall agitating up even another notch. That was certainly the case — and then some — as the Flyers controlled play in just about every facet…except the scoreboard.

Braden Holtby was again exceptional, especially in a first period where the Flyers got 18 shots, and the Caps were the beneficiaries of one of the strangest goals you’ll ever see, and the Caps beat the Flyers 4-1 before a raucous Saturday night crowd at Verizon Center to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Flyers came out, well, flying, at the start of Game 2, outshooting the Caps 7-1 in the first few minutes.

It was Washington that got the first power-play opportunity, and they made good on it. The Flyers tried to clear with a lob, but John Carlson caught it open-gloved to keep it in the zone. Stung, he passed it off twice before trying a shot, and his wrister from center point got through a double-high screen and past Steve Mason to put the Caps up 1-0, despite being outplayed.

The Caps managed to avoid the early penalty calls they suffered in Game 1, but it caught up to them late in the first, with Jason Chimera and Carlson both whistled for cross-checks within 50 seconds of each other late.

But as he’s been all season long, Holtby (41 saves) was the Caps’ best player, turning aside the Flyers on every opportunity and the first ended with the Caps up by one.

Early in the second, Washington made it 2-0 on one of the all-time strangest plays. After a tie-up at center ice, both teams went for a change and Chimera sent a soft backhanded deflection toward the Flyers cage. Mason went down to block it, but it somehow eluded him and went right between his legs and behind him into the net. It needs to be seen to be believed.

It stayed that way for about seven minutes before the Flyers got back in it. On an odd-man rush, Brooks Orpik got caught playing a man instead of the puck and it slipped right between his legs to the awaiting stick of Jakob Voracek, who flipped it past Holtby to trim their deficit to one.

But just before the second intermission, Mark Streit was whistled for holding, giving the Caps’ vaunted power play another opportunity. Backstrom held at the half-boards, then slipped a pass through T.J. Oshie’s legs – a play they work on in practice — to Alex Ovechkin in his normal spot in the left wing circle. The Great 8 made no mistake, ramming it home to make it 3-1 before the break.

The Caps were content to play dump and chase most of the third period, but with just over two minutes left, Nick Backstrom carried in on the right wing and when Mason went down thinking about the pass Backstrom called his own number for the insurance goal and a 4-1 lead.

The series moves to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.

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 47 Recap: Rusty Caps downed by Flyers in overtime

OVECHKIN TO MISS NHL ALL-STAR GAME WITH LOWER-BODY INJURY

Hello Neuvy. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Hello Neuvy. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jakob Voracek’s second goal of the game came in overtime, lifting the Philadelphia Flyers over the Washington Capitals 4-3, in the Caps first game in what feels like weeks.

After the game, the team announced that Alex Ovechkin, elected as captain of the Metropolitan Division in the upcoming All-Star Game, will miss the event due to a lower-body injury. Buy rule, he’s required now to sit out the Caps’ first game after the break,  Feb. 2 against Florida.

The Caps (35-8-4, 74 points), befitting of all their time off lately due to snow cancellations, were rusty for a lot of the game. And it showed, big time. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 15 Recap: Caps recover from sluggishness against Detroit to take down Philly

CHIMERA SCORES TWICE AS CAPS BEAT DIVISION RIVALS ON ROAD; OVECHKIN STUCK AT 483 GOALS

Three goals in the second period and a three-point (2g, 1a) night from Jason Chimera helped the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, moving Washington’s record to 11-4-0 on the year.

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Three Stars: Washington Capitals 2, Philadelphia Flyers 3

FIRST STAR: Braden Holtby. Hard to fault him for the generally lousy play in front of him in this one.

SECOND STAR: I’m struggling here. Cam Schilling? One shot, another attempt blocked, two hits. Cam Schilling it is.

THIRD STAR: This.

 

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win streak snapped in Philly

The Washington Capitals’ four-game win streak was brought to an end on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the Caps were unable to finish off the Flyers and instead gave up a late third-period goal for the loss.

The Caps had another sluggish start and found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. Claude Giroux snapped an 11-game goalless drought with an early power play goal and Wayne Simmonds added another power play tally in the second. Tom Wilson finally got the Caps on the board and Joel Ward caught Philadelphia goalie Robb Zepp off guard with a rolling puck chipped into the top shelf to tie it in the second. [Read more…]

Three stars: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers 2/8/15

First star: Alex Ovechkin.He’s now tied with the New York Rangers’ Rick Nash for the league goal-scoring lead. His power play goal was one of few things that went Washington’s way against the Flyers. When will teams learn not to leave him open in his spot?

Second star: Evegeny Kuznetsov. He’s getting more ice time and has better linemates than he has all season, and seems to be thriving under the added responsibility. He fished the puck out of Nicklas Backstrom’s skates and dished it to Ovechkin, who scored the Caps only goal against the Flyers.

Third star: Braden Holtby. Holtby gets a star for simply being alive after the sheer number of games he’s played this season. His 46 games played leads the league.

Washington Capitals Game 54 Recap: Missed opportunities haunt Capitals in 3-1 loss to Flyers

A season-low shots on goal total and an otherwise underwhelming showing for the Washington Capitals led to a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon.

Alex Ovechkin scored Washington’s lone goal in a 14-shot outing, the team’s fewest since March 18, 2011. Braden Holtby faced 25 on his end from the Flyers.

Philadelphia gave Washington six power play chances, but they were able to convert only one on Ovechkin’s 33rd of the year.

It seemed like Philadelphia was daring the Capitals to take over the game, and they had plenty of opportunity to do so. Perhaps no chance was as ripe as Flyers goalie Ray Emery replacing Steve Mason, who was carted off the ice with an undisclosed lower body injury in the second period.

“We were all saying that on the bench, this is a great opportunity for us to be able to pepper him and we just didn’t do it,” said defenseman Karl Alzner. “It just wasn’t a good game for us.”

The Capitals have been able to string together winning streaks of three games all season, but never more than that. A fourth consecutive win has been elusive, but the players don’t really keep track of that stuff. They just want to win.

“I don’t really look into it,” said Alzner. “Obviously you want to have as many wins in a row as possible. It’s just a weird coincidence that we can’t get past that, but if we can keep going three-and-one, three-and-one, three-and-one, I don’t think anyone would be upset with that. We gotta take advantage of the opportunities we have.”

Brooks Laich doesn’t feel that Sunday’s game was a measuring stick for Washington’s chances during their California road trip, nor the prospect of the trip a motivating factor in the team’s performance.

“We had good success on that trip last year,” said Laich. “We don’t look at that and put extra emphasis on this game.”

“We battled for two months here to close the gap and could’ve today sat at number one in the division. That’s enough of a motivation right there.”

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