June 23, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 71 Recap: Blues indeed, Caps lose with Grubrauer in and Oshie out

Coming into this game, the Blues had dominated with three shut-out wins, this one makes four as the Caps fall 4-0 to the Blues.

The St. Louis Blues (44-22-9) are fighting hard for home ice positioning in the west, while the Washington Capitals (53-15-5) are one point away from the President’s trophy. The Blues just wanted this one more. The Blues played as the Caps did in December, four small breakdowns and four opportunities taken advantage of.

The Blues’ first goal came as Dimitri Orlov gave up a soft turnover in the offensive zone, allowing the Blues’ Kyle Brodziak a quick snipe on an unprepared Philipp Grubauer.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 73 Recap: Caps welcome back Carlson in win over Devils

CARLSON RETURNS FROM LENGTHY ABSENCE WITH OVERTIME WINNER

(Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals (53-15-5) found themselves in a defensive battle with the New Jersey Devils, with the only goal of the game coming in overtime, thanks to defenseman John Carlson, who returned to the lineup after a lengthy battle with a lower-body injury.

On the decisive play, Jason Chimera gathered the puck behind the net three minutes into the overtime session and found an open John Carlson, who connected on a beautiful one-timer from above the circle. It was about the only way beat to a goalie who had shut out opponents for 180 minutes of regulation, but who seemed to be throwing his stick on purpose on multiple occasions to cut off the Caps’ low shots. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 73 Recap: Caps downed by the Jets

The Winnipeg Jets are trying to stave off the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference and entered winners of three in a row and 10-2-2 in their past 15 home games.

You can add one to the win column in both cases, as the Jets scored a goal in each period and Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves, some spectacular, to shut out the Washington Capitals 3-0 on Saturday at the MTS Center, halting the Caps modest three-game winning streak.

It ends the Caps (39-24-10) seven-game winning streak against Winnipeg. Washington is now two points behind Pittsburgh for third in the Metro, and the Penguins have a game in hand with 10 to play. The Caps are four points ahead of Boston, who has a game, and five clear of Ottawa, who has two games in hand and sit outside the playoffs currently.

Winnipeg got the scoring started halfway through the first. Drew Stafford carried down the left wing, centered to Mark Scheifle in the slot which drew all the defenders, and Scheifle flicked to Mark Stuart, alone to his right for the unmolested attempt and goal.

It was Scheifle doing the damage in the second. This time, Stafford picked John Carlson’s pocket on the Caps goal line and knocked it to Blake Wheeler, who then found Scheifle cruising through the slot by himself and he buried it.

Pavelec saved his best for late. With just under five minutes to go, the Caps streaked in on a rush and Marcus Johansson found Mike Green alone on the doorstop, but Pavelec was able to slide across the crease and snare Green’s wrister to preserve the shutout.

Winnipeg added an empty net short-handed goal from their own zone by Adam Lowry with 1:22 left in the game.

CAPS NOTES:

  • Washington hit four posts in the contest.
  • The Caps top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Johansson managed four shots on goal, two apiece by Ovechkin and Backstrom. Ovechkin had six attempts blocked and missed on five.
  • The Caps were o for 3 on the power play, but also killed all three short-handed situations.
  • Troy Brouwer wiped out 50 seconds of power play time early in the third period with an elbowing penalty.
  • Two-and-a-half minutes later, Michael Latta was called for high-sticking. The combined penalties made it hard to engineer a comeback.
  • Braden Holtby made 21 saves on 23 shots.

Washington Capitals Game 43 Recap: Holtby keeps hot hand, blanks Flyers

CHIMERA SCORES LONE GOAL AS CAPS INCH CLOSER TO TOP OF METRO

Braden Holtby made 21 saves to shutout the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 Wednesday night at Verizon Center. His 20th consecutive start was his fourth shutout of the season, third since his consecutive games streak started.

The Capitals are 14-2-4 in their past 20 games, just there points shy of the Islanders for first in the Metro. Holtby has a 1.98 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in that span.

Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle have found a strange sort of chemistry. On their line’s first shift of Wednesday’s game, Chimera scored the game’s lone goal. [Read more…]

D.C. United Playoff Game 1 Recap: Listless United Blanked by Red Bulls

HENRY ASSISTS BOTH GOALS AS UNITED FALL BEHIND 2-0 IN EASTERN SEMIFINAL

Lauded much of the season for improved play, a more effective attack, and better defending, D.C. United showed exactly none of that Sunday afternoon in its Major League Soccer Cup playoff opener at Red Bull Arena in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. Thierry Henry drew assists on a first-half goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips and a second-half dagger from Peguy Luyindula. United couldn’t score an away goal that would have had a massive impact on the series, and now must either win the home leg next Saturday at RFK Stadium by a 2-0 score to force extra time, or by three goals.

Without Chris Rolfe to start and the injured Luis Silva, United looked nothing at all like the team that won the Eastern Conference in the regular season and posted a club-record 59 points. Unable to connect on longer passes and crosses, United rarely possessed the ball with any level of consistency, and the defense was asked to do far too much work against a marauding Red Bulls side that didn’t even get full value for the high level of their performance. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 31 Recap: United’s epic turnaround continues as D.C. clinches playoff spot

SCORELESS DRAW VS. SPORTING KANSAS CITY SENDS UNITED INTO POSTSEASON

On this night, a draw will feel just fine for D.C. United. A 0-0 tie against visiting Sporting Kansas City before nearly 20,000 in the rain at RFK Stadium lifted United’s record to 15-9-7, and the 52 points are enough for D.C. to grab one of Major League Soccer’s five Eastern Conference playoff berths. Sporting Kansas City now stands 13-11-7 (46 points), remaining six points behind leaders United in the East.

United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a couple nice saves and three overall in posting his career-high 10th shutout of the season and 30th of his MLS career. D.C. had chances to break the deadlock, but multiple Fabian Espindola shots went wide, and mid-air contact on Chris Pontius in the SKC penalty area did not result in a spot kick in the judgment of referee Hilario Grajeda. Davy Arnaud was cautioned for United, and will be suspended for a game upon his next yellow card. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 30 Recap: November soccer close to reality after win over Philadelphia

SILVA’S 11TH GOAL OF SEASON ENOUGH SATURDAY VS. UNION

Everything is right there now, so tantalizingly out of reach for D.C. United. A playoff spot is just 5 points away (or less if Toronto FC drops points), and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference is just seven points away (at the most, depending on other results). All this is possible now after United defeated the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, Saturday before 19,478 at RFK Stadium. United improved to 15-9-6 (51 points) while Philly dropped to 9-10-11 (38).

Such thoughts a year ago at this time would have been laughed at heartily. But a remodeled roster has allowed head coach Ben Olsen (he of the newly-minted extended contract) to lead United from Major League Soccer doormats to a team to be reckoned with in the race for MLS Cup. But beyond the new players, Luis Silva perhaps embodies the improvement in this side over a year ago, and it was his career-high 11th goal of the season that was the difference Saturday. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 27 Recap: United build Eastern lead with point at Vancouver

HAMID SAVES THREE AS UNITED BATTLES TO DEADLOCK AT WHITECAPS

With midfielder Chris Rolfe lost to an arm injury and forward Eddie Johnson out due to concussion symptoms, it was fair to have somewhat lower expectations as D.C. United visited the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night. But United held firm, kept a clean sheet, and got out of western Canada with a scoreless tie before 18,116 at BC Place. The result sets United’s record at 14-8-5 (47 points), good enough for a five-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference over Sporting Kansas City, which lost to New York Saturday, 2-1. Vancouver is 7-6-13 (34 points).

The revamped attack featured Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola leading the offense, with David Estrada slipping into the open midfield spot. United didn’t create many chances, though Espindola gave the Vancouver defense plenty of problems and sent one close chance over the bar. Vancouver had a great chance on Kendall Waston’s header on 30 minutes, but he narrowly missed just wide to United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s left post. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 26 Analysis: Olsen unlocks key to perfect lineup in Sunday win

In Sunday’s 2-0 win over the arch-rival New York Red Bulls, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen answered one of the major questions facing his club, and in doing so, may have also cemented the club’s status as a championship contender in Major League Soccer for the 2014 season.

The question, of course, was how to use forward and designated player Eddie Johnson, while not messing with a combination that has been lethal of late. That combo, featuring Luis Silva, Chris Rolfe, and Fabian Espindola, helped lead United to seven goals in two wins when Johnson was serving a suspension for matches against Colorado (4-2) and Sporting Kansas City (3-0). [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 16 Recap: Team sputters in 1-0 loss to Seattle

On Saturday night at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. United showed an attack replete with excellent ideas but confounded with how to execute them. Excellent runs were unrewarded, crosses were wayward, shots either hit the frame or sailed high or wide into warm Washington night. It all added up to a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders before 16,922. The defeat drops United to 7-5-4 (25 points) on the season and a first-place tie with Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

The only goal of the game came in the 39th minute, via Seattle forward Chad Barrett. After United cleared a Sounders corner kick, the attack restarted and midfielder Gonzalo Pineda found himself with space on the right flank. He whipped in a left-footed cross that United seemed to be prepared for, in terms of the number of defenders there to deal with it. [Read more…]

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