March 28, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 54 Recap: Caps break hearts on Valentine’s eve in Dallas

CAPS SCORE THREE IN THIRD, WILSON RINGS PIPE IN LAST MINUTE

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals and the Dallas Stars  faced off with three of the top four goal scorers and five of the top fifteen point producing players on the ice, and the score and pace reflected that.

The Caps (40-10-4, 84 points) spotted Dallas four second period goals and made it interesting at the end. Despite three third period goals, the Caps fell in regulation for just the 10th time this season, a 4-3 decision to the Stars. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 48 Recap: Panthers score twice in first two periods, take down Caps 5-2

Given that this was just the Washington Capitals’ second game in as many weeks due to the recent D.C. blizzard and All-Star break — never mind that the team was missing two key offensive cogs in Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson — a flat showing Tuesday from the very shorthanded Caps against Florida could have been understandable.

Strong even-strength performance aside, a couple of stagnant Washington power plays in the early going set the tone for the evening, as the current Atlantic Division front-runners scored twice in each of the first two periods to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals, 5-2 at Verizon Center. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 17 Recap: Caps beat Red Wings 2-1 in overtime

GOALIE BATTLE LEADS TO OVERTIME GOAL BY KUZNETSOV FOR VICTORY

2015.11.16 winner

(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was Matt Niskanen, Justin Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov who stole the show on a night that saw Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom reunited on the same line for the first time this season. Williams’ goal in regulation — and Kuzntesov’s in overtime — led the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

After four days off, the Caps (12-4-1) struggled to shake off the rust against the same Detroit team (9-9-1) that shut them out on 38 shots eight days ago.

Hero of the night Kuznetsov made his mark in overtime. While the Red Wings were stuck in a line change Kuznetsov beat Mzarek to the far side and slipped one into the goal less than a minute into 3-on-3.

Although the Caps managed to put up 10 shots (eight on the power play) in the first frame, their passes and shots frequently sailed wide of target. And in what has become a bothersome sight in recent contests, shaky neutral zone play allowed their opponent, in this case Dylan Larkin, to exploit a one-on-one matchup down the boards and then beat Braden Holtby high far-side.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 13 Recap: Call it anything but easy, Caps beat Maple Leafs in shootout

BACKSTROM SCORES LAST-SECOND GOAL TO FORCE OVERTIME

ALEX OVECHKIN TIES SERGEI FEDOROV FOR MOST GOALS BY RUSSIAN-BORN PLAYER

Alex Ovechkin scored in regulation, tying Sergei Fedorov at the top Russian-born NHL scorer of all-time, and netted the eventual winner in the shootout and the Washington Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 at Verizon Center.

With a 2-8-3 record this season and an overtime loss to Detroit the previous night, the Toronto Maple Leafs came to Verizon Center hungry for a win. With a snapped stick, bad bounces, and a less than stellar defense, the Capitals were handing them all the opportunities they could.

The Maple Leafs struck first. Daniel Winnick was able to corral a bouncing puck in the neutral zone to go one-on-one against Dmitry Orlov and catch Holtby cheating by going top shelf to his glove side. The breakout followed a nifty passing sequence between Ovechkin and Kuznetsov that resulted in Ovechkin snapping his stick and retreating to the bench. With the Caps unable to move the puck through the neutral zone, Toronto took a 1-0 advantage into the first intermission for only the second time this year.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Caps besiege the Bruins

FIRST GOALS FOR BROOKS LAICH AND KARL ALZNER HELP CAPS TOP BRUINS

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 05: Brooks Laich #21 of the Washington Capitals celebrates scoring a second period goal against the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center on November 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Last week Karl Alzner and Justin Williams mentioned a lofty hope for the season; do not lose back-to-back games. A simple proposition, much more difficult to execute. After an ugly loss to the New York Rangers on the road Tuesday, the Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center looking to keep that hope alive.

Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the season and the Caps indeed avoided losing consecutive games, knocking off the Boston Bruins 4-1.

It took 193 minutes and a handful of seconds, and an entire season of head-to head-games, until Braden Holtby finally gave up a goal to the Bruins.

With the win, Washington improved to 9-3-0 this season, tying the best start in franchise history. The Capitals also registered a 9-3-0 record through 12 games in 1991-92 and 2011-12. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 9 Recap: Caps take gritty win over Columbus

NEWCOMERS OSHIE, WILLIAMS SCORE FOR CAPITALS

New team, same ego, as John Tortorella returned to the Verizon Center as newly-appointed coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a messy affair devoid of much offensive cohesiveness, the Washington Capitals were able to scratch out a 2-1 win over Tort’s troops.

Maybe the ghosts of Halloween came out a bit early to haunt the Caps. Looking slow, sloppy, and even a bit tired for the first half of the game, the Caps played a less than stellar outing against the struggling Blue Jackets. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 1 Recap: Wall takes control, leads Wiz to close win over Magic

The Washington Wizards opened up their 2015-16 campaign in Orlando, defeating a young and talented Magic team, 88-87. John Wall was the star, posting 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a game-high 5 blocks. Bradley Beal added 24 points and 6 rebounds, while Orlando was led by Victor Oladipo with 17 and 11. The game was back and forth and remained close the entire time, as Orlando was definitely up to the challenge defensively. However, Wall and Beal took control in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 of the team’s 23 points in the period. The Wizards closed it out on a Wall floater with 12.7 seconds to go.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 65 Review: Bats explode in 16-4 win over Tampa Bay

After a 6-1 loss on Monday, the Washington Nationals rebounded for a borderline absurd 16-4 shellacking of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday behind five hits from Danny Espinosa and home runs from Bryce Harper, Clint Robinson and Wilson Ramos, who hit two off of two different position players.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 82 Recap: All over but the crying

The Washington Capitals fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0, in a shootout naturally, ending their season in what most folks would consider a premature manner. It was the 21st time this season that a Caps game ended in a shootout, an NHL record. That, in itself, says a lot about this team this season.

If you polled people across the NHL this preseason, most would have accepted the idea of the Capitals qualifying for the playoffs. I don’t think anyone expected them to be serious Cup contenders, but even with the move to the Metropolitan Division, this team on paper seemed to have enough talent to survive to the second season.

But they don’t play hockey on paper, they play on ice. And this season, the Washington Capitals weren’t good enough on the ice.

There’s a large segment of fans in any fan base, but they seem more vocal here, that believes any time their team isn’t successful they aren’t trying hard enough, or they don’t “want it” enough. They equate poor play with desire. But that’s very rarely the case. Modern professional athletes are highly-driven, highly-motivated individuals.

At the very least, these players are motivated to achieve the highest success their talent can carry them to.

This season’s failures weren’t about motivation or desire. It was about talent, and mismanagement of that talent. It was about players playing out of position — intentionally. It was about a difference in philosophies between the general manager and the head coach. It was about carrying three goalie for a month and a half. It was about performance — or lack thereof — on the ice.

So while we wait to see what changes are made at Kettler this week, next week, over the offseason, the only thing for certain now is that the Washington Capitals were simply not good enough on the ice to qualify for the playoffs this season, which should provide all the motivation the organization needs to make the necessary changes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Washington Wizards Game 22 Recap: Wiz clipped by Paul’s big night

“This was the first game where we truly had no chance to win. They were just way better.” — Wizards center Marcin Gortat

Over the past 15 games or so, the Washington Wizards have been mostly competitive when they weren’t outright winning basketball games. Saturday night, Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers showed the Wizards have a ways to go yet, as they unceremoniously dominated Washington from start to finish, winning 104-86 at Verizon Center.

It was the Wizards’ fourth loss in a row, dropping them to 9-13.

“I think we didn’t execute anything today defensively and offensively,” Gortat said. “You have to give them credit, they are a very good team.  They are really talented and have a very good coaching staff.  They came out ready to play. You can see there’s a difference between the teams, the way they talk to each other, and the way they communicate.”

The veteran big man finished with six points and seven boards in 28 minutes.

Chris Paul had a night for the ages, dropping 38 on the Wiz shooting 11 of 14 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Paul also had time for 12 assists and made all 11 of his free throws.

“When [Paul] scores 21-or-more points, they’re 10-0,” Booker said after the game. “He had it going.  It’s just one of those nights.”

The Wizards were led by John Wall, whose 24 points came on 10 of 16 shooting and 4 of 5 from the line. Wall matched Paul’s assists with 12 on the night.

“I think [Wall] learned something tonight,” coach Randy Wittman explained. “But that is part of the process in growing. Trust me, Chris Paul learned some things early in his career from different guys. That’s part of the league.”

“We gave three games away, that’s one thing we are frustrated about,” Wall said. “You got to move past that and look at the next game. Tonight, we came out, but they were on a roll, knocking down shots, getting whatever they wanted. We fought our way back but it was still tough to come back and get a win. We got three more games before the Christmas break and they are all on the road. We got to go find a way to win the first one and that starts in New York on Monday.”

Washington never led in the game and was down by 10 points before seven minutes came off the game clock. The Clippers never really went on any single big run throughout the game, but the way Paul was sinking his shots, they seemingly made three buckets for every two by the Wizards.

The final could have been worse. Chris Singleton hit two 3-pointers late to shave six points off the Clippers margin of victory.

Martell Webster and Trevor Booker added 12 apiece, while Trevor Ariza chipped in with 11.

So what can a team take out of a beating like this? Wittman just wanted to focus on the future.

“New York. That is all we have to think about now, going into New York. We’ve played them already once, we played Brooklyn already once, we haven’t played Boston, but we have played Minnesota. So three out of these four, we know what we’re up against so that should help us.”

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