October 21, 2020

Washington Capitals Game 35 Recap: Caps blank Pens in Pittsburgh

Eric Fehr scored twice, Braden Holtby was once again stellar and the Washington Capitals blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 at Consol Energy Center.

Holtby made 31 saves, including nine on the penalty kill, to lead the Caps (18-11-6-42) to break an eight-game losing streak to Pittsburgh. [Read more…]

Capitals vs. Penguins: The Thrill is Gone (For Now)

Caps Celebrating 2011 Winter Classic Victory! (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

As the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins prepare for their third of four meetings in this 2011-12 regular season Wednesday night at the Verizon Center, I invite you to cast your minds back to the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

As one year turned into another, the Capitals and Penguins played two of the most anticipated games of the season. The Dec. 23 meeting in Washington, which Pittsburgh won 3-2 in a shootout, was the best regular season game of that term, full of skill and energy. Nine days later, the teams met again at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field in front of 68,111 fans in the Winter Classic. This time, the Capitals won 3-1, and the whole crazy, glorious business was captured for posterity by HBO’s cameras.

Their meeting in the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals aside, it was the biggest stage for what the NHL hoped would be its answer to Bird/Magic and Brady/Manning: Crosby/Ovechkin. [Read more…]

Capitals and Penguins renew heated rivalry against emotional backdrop

There are few matchups in sports that need not be hyped more than when the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins face off.  The rivalry was heated to start, with what used to be a lingering insecurity on the part of Caps’ fans after all the ignominious playoff defeat at the flippers of the Penguins in the days of the old Patrick Division.  All you needed to do was add in the two most dynamic players in the league today — with completely opposite personalities — and passions for this rivalry were ignited anew.

But that wasn’t enough for the NHL.  In their never-ending marketing wisdom, the league put the teams in the national spotlight, awarding Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field the 2011 Winter Classic, pitting the two foes.  Not to be outdone, the NHL aligned with HBO Sports to feature the teams on their all-access, instant-classic serial documentary 24/7.  What once was a simple sports rivalry had become a media sensation.

A Faceoff During 2011 Winter Classic (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

[Read more…]

Neuvirth doesn’t travel to Pittsburgh; Holtby recalled

The Washington Capitals recalled goalie Braden Holtby from AHL Hershey this morning in light of Michal Neuvirth not travelling with the team to Pittsburgh for tonight’s game against the Penguins.  Neuvirth is “day-to-day” with a lower body injury.

Braden Holtby during training camp (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The roster move probably signals a start for veteran Tomas Vokoun, who surrendered five goals on 28 shots in Monday night’s shootout win over Carolina.

According to reports from the morning skate in Pittsburgh, both Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and Sidney Crosby (concussion symptoms) took the ice for the Penguins.  Crosby has been practicing with the team and apparently cleared for contact as he continues his recovery from concussion symptoms.  It’s unclear — and unlikely — that he will dress for tonight’s game so quickly after being cleared, but we’ll update as more information becomes available.

What is certain is that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wants the Capitals to think both Crosby and Malkin are possible for the game tonight, an interesting little piece of gamesmanship for the third game of the NHL season.

Caps in Advance: Week 2

Coming off a closer-than-comfortable OT win over the Hurricanes on Saturday night, the Caps look to continue their winning ways during the first full week of the regular seasons. Three games are on tap…

Games this week:

MONDAY, OCTOBER 10 V. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
7:00 pm, Verizon Center
TV: Versus, CSN-DC

Records:
Washington Capitals: 1-0-0
Tampa Bay Lightning: 1-1-0
Season Series: 0-0-0 [Read more…]

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