November 18, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Sharks dominate Ovechkin-less Caps

OVECHKIN MISSES GAME DUE TO “PERSONAL REASONS”

If you ever wondered how the Washington Capitals would play without both Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom, you have your answer now.

Not good.

The San Jose Sharks came into D.C. and completely dominated the home team, beating the Caps 5-0 and owning play from the very get-go. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals 5, San Jose Sharks 4 (OT)

First Star: Jay Beagle. Two goals. Good boy.

Second Star: John Carlson. Offensively anyway. Goal, assist.

Third Star: Marcus Johansson. Has stepped up his game in a big way this season. Has played his way into being a tradeable asset. Will get paid this offseason, somewhere.

Honorable Mention(s): Troy Brouwer, an assist away from the Gordie Howe hat trick. Joel Ward, OT goal.

Washington Capitals Game 55 Recap: Sleepless in San Jose; Caps win in OT

JAY BEAGLE SCORES TWICE AS CAPS EARN TWO POINTS IN FIRST OF FOUR-GAME ROAD TRIP

Joel Ward scored in overtime to lift the Washington Capitals over the San Jose Sharks 5-4, earning the Caps (29-16-10) two points in the first of a four-game road trip.

Ward banged home a rebound of a Mike Green shot after the pair came in 3-on-2 along with Jay Beagle. Ward started the play by creating a turnover in the neutral zone on a play that looked like he might have hooked a Sharks player down before retrieving the puck.

Beagle opened the scoring with five minutes left in the first with a wrist shot past Antti Niemi.

That was erased — quickly — at the start of the second, as San Jose, well, the magnificently bearded Brent Burns, scored twice in the span of 22 seconds within the first minute of the frame, first with a tip-in, then with a wrist shot after a bad turnover at the blue line. [Read more…]

Caps comeback against Sharks could be biggest point earned all season

To say the Washington Capitals came out flat in the first period in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks is an understatement.

As well as the team played in its first two games, it was quite a shock to everyone — including the team — to see it come out so poorly against the travelling Sharks, a team this franchise historically has had its fair share of problems with.

There were problems all night on the blue line. John Carlson, in particular, played poorly and ended up demoted in the third period as Mike Green — who actually had a fantastic game — joined Brooks Orpik on the second pairing.

But the Caps were able to comeback, tie the game, and force overtime to earn a point against one of the better teams in the Western Conference — after falling behind 3-0 midway through the first period.

Considering the situation, then, could erasing a three-goal deficit — and a two-goal margin with less than six minutes left in the game — be one of the biggest single points the Caps pick up this season?

“Yeah. It’s pretty incredible we found a way to come back there and score some goals against a team that hadn’t let a goal in [yet this season],” defenseman Karl Alzner said afterwards. “That’s gotta say something.”

“We started the game playing the way we did in the first two games there in the second period. If we play three periods like that, it doesn’t matter what team it is you’re gonna have a chance to win. We’re happy that we came back against a great team, but we like to think about ourselves and what we did tonight wasn’t enough.

Coach Barry Trotz agreed. “We got a point where we probably could sit here and go ‘We shouldn’t deserve points tonight’, but we got one.”

Trotz also brought up that the Caps have picked up four points in the first three games — all against playoff teams.

It’s problematic for this team to dig a hole for themselves and have to score their way out of it. And they’d especially like to avoid going the shootout route they took so much last season. But a point is a point, and considering their absence form the playoffs last season, they need to accumulate points wherever and whenever they can.

“You gotta commend us for coming back but we definitely had a slow start,” Green said. Green had a goal and an assist, and has scored in both games he’s played thus far.

“You know, we can’t be doing that. We realize how we have to play to be successful. It took us about a period to figure it out. Barry had some words of encouragement in the second and third [periods].  We put our minds to it and we got the job done as far as getting the one point. But we can’t be going to shootout most nights.”

Backup goalie Justin Peters was called on by Trotz to relieve Braden Holtby after the Sharks’ third goal in the first period. It was a tough situation to come into for his first action of the season, but he acquitted himself well under the conditions.

“We were a resilient group tonight,” Peters said. “We were real flat in the first period. I guess now you realize how valuable points are and we’re lucky to come away with a point but it just shows when we get playing we’re a pretty good team.”

Washington Capitals Game 3 Recap: Caps earn point against Sharks despite 3-0 hole

OVECHKIN SCORES TWICE TO LEAD CAPS IN THREE-GOAL COMEBACK

Despite trailing one of the best teams in the Western Conference 3-0 after the first period, and facing a two-goal deficit with 5:51 left in the game, the Washington Capitals earned a point by forcing overtime on Troy Brouwer’s late third period goal.

Unfortunately, the Caps were shut out in the shootout, and fell to the San Jose Sharks 6-5. But considering the start, it could end up being one of the biggest points the Caps earn all season.

The Caps found themselves in an early hole. Just 1:23 into the contest, Joe Thornton won a draw in the left wing faceoff circle to defenseman Matt Irwin, who blasted a long-range shot past Braden Holtby for a 1-0 Sharks lead.

Moments later, fourth-liner Michael Latta was called for elbowing. Though the Caps did a credible job killing the advantage, San Jose struck again with two seconds remaining in the infraction, as Irwin lifted a backhander past Holtby. Irwin was a healthy scratch in the Sharks’ first tow games.

Things got out of hand with just over 10 minutes left in the first, as John Scott — known primarily for beating people senseless — snuck a shot past Holtby on an odd-man rush as Brooks Orpik got caught out of position.

Just like that, the Caps trailed 3-0 and Holtby found a seat on the bench, in favor of Justin Peters making his Capitals’ debut.

“The first period I didn’t like at all,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I just didn’t like our commitment. We were a pass-first team in a shoot-first league in the first period. You’re not going to give a team like the Sharks a three-goal lead and expect to come back.”

The Caps got on the board at 2:51 of the second period. With Tomas Hertl off for interference, the power play put on an impressive passing clinic, with Troy Brouwer feeding Alex Ovechkin at the high point, to John Carlson on the wing, back to Ovechkin and finally to Marcus Johansson, who was camped on the right post.

After a battle for the puck. Johansson tapped it past Antti Niemi for the first goal against the Sharks in three games this season.

San Jose killed the momentum at 14:33, as a harmless looking shot bounced off Eric Fehr and past Peters to make it a three goal game again. Joe Pavelski, who took the initial shot, was credited with the goal.

But as quickly as that came about, the Caps righted the ship. Following an odd-man rush, Mike Green collected the puck in the corner, played keep-away until he could settle into a good shooting spot in the center of the ice, and whipped a wrister past Niemi to make it 4-2.

Moments later, Ovechkin took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom in the high slot and did what only Ovi can do: make a world-class goalie look bad, as he rifled a shot through Niemi to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.

But San Jose made it a two-goal game less than two minutes into the third. Chris Tierney broke up a Caps rush at the Caps’ blue line and fed Tommy Wingels streaking in all alone on Peters. Peters made the save on Wingels’ first shot, but the Sharks winger got another whack at it and snuck it through.

The Caps got another power play with 6:15 left and made good on it, as Ovechkin registered his second of the game and fourth of the season with a wicked wrister from the left wing circle, bringing the Caps within one at 5-4 with 5:51 remaining in the game.

“We had some big efforts,” Trotz said. “I thought [Ovechkin] was the best player on the ice today. He had a couple goals. He’s blocking shots. He’s running over people. He was a beast out there.”

Brouwer tied it just over a minute later, as he took an outlet pass from Green, faked out Irwin who fell, and beat Niemi high glove side to even things up.

Overtime came after a few nervous moments as Backstrom took a high-sticking penalty with less than two minutes left in the third period.

CAPS NOTES:

  • With his assist tonight, Ovechkin passed Mike Gartner (392) for second place on the Capitals’ franchise assists list. Ovechkin now sits 26 assists shy of passing Michal Pivonka (418) for first place on the Capitals’ assists list.
  • Andre Burakovsky earned an assist, extending his point streak to three games (10/9-10/14: 1g, 3a). Burakovsky is the first Capitals player to start his career with a three-game point streak since Alex Ovechkin started his career with an eight-game point streak in 2005.
  • Liam O’Brien earned an assist, marking his first NHL point.
  •  The Capitals scored two power-play goals for the second consecutive game.
  • Washington outshot San Jose 34-23 and outhit the Sharks 26-13.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. San Jose Sharks 10/14/14

Despite trailing 3-0 in the first period to the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals rallied and tied the game late in the third, but fell in the shootout, 6-5. John Scott scored on the Capitals. At least they came away with a point.

First Star: Alex Ovechkin

The Captain scored two goals and logged one assist and eight shots on goal in the Capitals’ shootout loss against San Jose, his 87th career multi-point game. Four goals in two games (one each at even strength and on the power play) is a great start to the season for Ovechkin.

Second Star: Mike Green

In his first two games, Green has notched three points, two of those (1g, 1a) against San Jose. No sign of injury slowdown, and hopefully for the Caps he stays that way. He might be technically a third pairing defensemen on the depth chart, but for skill, there’s probably not a defenseman on the roster that can match Green.

Third Star: Troy Brouwer

Brouwer scored the equalizer that sent the game to overtime, nearly completing the Capitals’ comeback. While Antii Niemi should have probably stopped it, the goal Brouwer scored Tuesday night is the kind of goal the team needs him to score.

Honorable Mention:

Nicklas Backstrom: He finished the night with 2 assists, both dishes to Ovechkin on his two goals.

Liam O’Brien’s tongue: Good thing John Scott only picks on people his own size, or at least he did Tuesday night. Probably because he scored a goal for once.

Washington Capitals Game 46 Recap: Capitals still can’t beat Sharks, fall 2-1 in shootout

Photo by Patrick McDermott

Photo by Patrick McDermott

 

Almost two years ago, on February 13, 2012, when the Washington Capitals last met the San Jose Sharks, a young goaltender named Braden Holtby started in net for the Capitals. On Tuesday night, another young upstart goaltender, Philipp Grubauer­, started for Washington. He fared slightly better than Holtby in 2012, stopping 28 of 29 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss.

The Capitals knew they’d have to start strong against a Sharks team that has the best first period numbers in the league. They outshot the Sharks 9-1 early in the first, but then did not register a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes, leading to a San Jose goal before the period expired. Alex Ovechkin’s second period tally accounted for the Capitals’ scoring for the evening. [Read more…]

GAME 56 RE-Cap: Capitals special teams fail in 5-3 loss to San Jose

With the NHL trade deadline looming in two weeks and the Washington Capitals on the outside of the playoffs looking in, the Caps need to take advantage of every opportunity to square away two points.  Last night they had a chance to do just that against a west coast team playing the second of a nine-game road trip on back-to-back nights.

Unfortunately, many of the problems that have faced the Caps this season reared their ugly head again, as the San Jose Sharks opened up a 5-1 lead mid-way through the third period and cruised to a 5-3 win before a disgruntled crowd at Verizon Center.

The Caps have lost two straight and five of their last seven games.  They now head out on a four-game road trip that will have stops against Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Ottawa that may very well define their playoff fate. [Read more…]

Game 39 Re-CAP–Sharks 5, Caps 2: Bitten Again

Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 38 shots Saturday night in San Jose (Stock Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

A night that began with promise ended familiarly — with the Washington Capitals losing a road game to the San Jose Sharks, as has now happened 11 times (with a single tie thrown in for good measure) since October 30, 1993.

Not content simply to have the Caps fall to a disappointing defeat, the hockey gods saw fit to throw an extra wrench into whatever optimism Washington might have been feeling entering Saturday night’s game. Mike Green, so recently returned from a prolonged absence with a groin injury, did not return to action after taking a hit from Andrew Desjardins behind Washington’s net early in the second period. In all Green could only managed 7:11 of ice time, and only nine shifts. [Read more…]

Caps in Advance: Week 13

Let there be no question, last week was the type of performance the organization and fans were expecting to see when Dale Hunter took the reins for the Washington Capitals.  After a poor effort on Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres, Washington reeled off three straight victories, starting with the the top team in the East and ending with the worst team in the West.

Paramount to the Caps’ success, particularly for captain Alexander Ovechkin, who recorded five goals and two assists (and is a +4) over the past four games.  The Russian superstar now has 16 goals on the season, and although he’s still on pace for a disappointing 35-goal season, Ovechkin’s resurgence is the best sign that the tides are finally shifting for the better in D.C.

Although the standings say Washington wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended on December 31, the Caps are just three points back of Southeast Division-leading Florida with one game in hand, and one point out of the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Joining Ovechkin in the thanks-for-finally-showing-up category is Tomas Vokoun, who posted a 1.32 GAA and .963 Sv% to earn three wins after taking over for Michal Neuvirth after the first period of last Monday’s loss to Buffalo.  Hunter has showed the propensity to keep playing one netminder until a reason to otherwise presents itself, so it’s a safe bet to expect that Vokoun will earn both starts in the Caps’ upcoming light week to open 2012.

Games this week:

TUESDAY, JANUARY 3rd v. CALGARY FLAMES
7:00pm, Verizon Center
TV: CSN-MA

Records:
Washington Capitals: 20-15-2, 42 points, 3rd in Southeast Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
Calgary Flames: 18-16-5, 41 points, 4th in Northwest Division, 12th in Western Conference
Only meeting this season

A great deal of eyes from across the hockey world will be focused on the Verizon Center on Tuesday night, and not to watch Ovechkin. Veteran Flames sniper Jarome Iginla, in his 15th season with the team that drafted him 11th overall in 1995, scored his 499th career goal on Sunday, leaving him one strike away from the exclusive club. Iginla will be the 42nd player in the history of the NHL to reach the 500-goal plateau, and assistant head coach Jim Johnson and his defensive corps will be trying their damnedest to make sure a different city has the honor of celebrating Iginla’s milestone.

Stopping Iginla might be an onerous task for the Caps, but scoring on Calgary likely won’t be.  The Flames are in the midst of a three-game losing streak that coincides with an ongoing road trip due to the World Junior Championships, and have allowed an average of four goals a game during that streak.

While Iginla is no surprise atop the Flames’ goal-scoring leaderboard, he is surprisingly accompanied by Curtis Glencross, a former journeyman winger whose 15 goals are just nine away from his career high, less than halfway through the season.  Glencross’s emergence is one reason the Flames are at least in the playoff hunt, because extremely few of his teammates are performing up to expectations on offense. Only four Calgary players have double-digit goal totals, and the Flames are 25th in the league with just 2.45 goals/game (for reference, Washington is 9th, at 2.97/game).

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7th @ SAN JOSE SHARKS
10:30pm, HP Pavilion at San Jose
TV: CSN-MA

Records:
Washington Capitals: 20-15-2, 42 points, 3rd in Southeast Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
San Jose Sharks: 19-11-4, 42 points, 3rd in Pacific Division, 10th in Western Conference
First meeting this season

Although 10th place in the Western Conference is a disappointing spot for the Sharks, their standing is deceptive. At 42 points, the Sharks are just two points back of Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles with five games in hand, thanks to some creative scheduling from the central office. Earning 1.235 standings point/game, the Sharks would actually be the fifth seed in the West if the playoffs started today.

All season long the Sharks have been adept on both offense and defense.  San Jose is in the top 10 in both goals scored and goals allowed per game, at 2.79 and 2.41, respectively. They also boast great scoring depth. Captain Joe Thornton (7 goals, 23 assists) is the Sharks’ leading scorer, ranking 50th in the league, and 11 San Jose players are in double digits for points.

Backstopping the Sharks is Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi, who continues to build off his stellar sophomore outing in 2010-11 with a 15-7-4 record, 2.36 GAA and .916 Sv%. The 28-year-old goalie is making his four-year, $15.2 million contract look like a steal, and Washington will be hard-pressed to beat a top-tier goalie with whom they have little to no experience (other than Troy Brouwer, who was teammates with Niemi during the Blackhawks’ Cup run in 2009-10).

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