October 22, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 43 Recap: Kuznetsov brings magic to Caps win over Canucks

CAPITALS EXTEND HOME WIN STREAK TO 11; OVECHKIN HONORED FOR 500

Phonto Courtesy of Monumental Network

Phonto Courtesy of Monumental Network

This may have been a night to honor Alex Ovechkin, but it was another Russian star that stole the show.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals with an assist to pace the Washington Capitals over the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 at Verizon Center.

Before the game, the organization presented Ovechkin with a gold hockey stick to memorialize his 500th career goal, scored on Monday against Ottawa.

But it was Kuznetsov that did the damage in this one, scoring his 15th and 16th of the season — starting and ending the scoring as the Caps generally had their way with their Western Conference opponent. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 6 Review: Two 3rd period goals lift Caps over Canucks

OVECHKIN NOTCHES FIFTH GOAL IN AS MANY GAMES

(Photo by @PR_NHL)

(Photo by @PR_NHL)

The Washington Capitals scored two third period goals — from an unlikely source and a highly-likely one — to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena, sending the home team to its fourth consecutive loss in its own building.

Jay Beagle tied the game at 2 not quite 6 minutes into the final stanza, and Alex Ovechkin, the Great 8, scored his fifth of the season with just under 5 minutes to play to give the Caps (5-1-0, 10) their first win in Vancouver since March 28, 1998. [Read more…]

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks 12/2/14

John Carlson’s two and Brooks Laich’s one weren’t enough to overcome the Canucks’ ridiculously effective power play – and those Sedin twins. Boy are they good. Three goals on four power plays, and the Caps lose 4-3. PK malfunction junction.

 

First Star: John Carlson. His two-goal game was the first of his career, and he totaled 3 points in the loss. His power play time has been limited, and it looks like it’ll stay that way, so it’s promising that he’s finding ways to score at evens.

Second Star: Alex Ovechkin. He’s here because he pulled a monstrous 2:39 shift in the second period, which included the entirety of Washington’s only power play and then some. He registered only one shot on goal, but had three hits and led all forwards in ice time with 22:41.

Third Star: Nicklas Backstrom. His assist on John Carlson’s first goal was his 20th of the season. Backstrom leads the team with 25 points (5g, 20a). He keeps the first line running like a well-oiled machine.

Washington Capitals Game 24 Recap: Penalty kill woes abound as Capitals fall 4-3 to Canucks

Special teams failed the Washington Capitals in their 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, who scored on three of their four power plays in the contest.

John Carlson contributed two goals and an assist to the Caps’ offense, which marked his first career multi-goal game in the NHL. Brooks Laich scored his first goal of the season, his first since March 8, 2014.

Daniel Sedin scored on two of the Canucks’ power plays and Radim Vrbata added one power play goal. Derek Dorsett’s first period goal was Vancouver’s only goal at even strength.

 

  • Alex Ovechkin skated a monster shift near the end of the second period, clocking in at 2:39. He stayed on for the entire Caps’ lone power play, and then some. Ovechkin finished the night with 2 hits, 1 SOG, and led all forwards in ice time with 22:41.
  • Washington’s penalty kill has successfully killed only 4 of its last 12 penalties. That’s not great. Tonight, Trotz said the Sedins gave the PK fits, but there’s something ailing the Caps PK, and it needs to be fixed.
  • Matt Niskanen, who led all skaters in ice time with 24:24, had some things to say about what the Caps need to work on: “When things aren’t going well, it’s those one things just seem to kind of kill you. If you are playing really well and you are winning games, it seems like you get away with a lot. It’s just kind of the way it goes. Right now, we have to work for every little thing to go right for us and it just hasn’t happened consistently over 60 minutes for us in the last little while. Keep working and keep believing in the right things. I know I have said that before, but that’s all you can really do is look at your mistakes, try to get better and keep pushing forward.”
  • John Carlson and Brooks Orpik were on ice for 3 of the 4 Canucks goals against. Orpik still managed to end the night as a +3, which tells you how useful plus/minus actually is.
  • The Capitals had 2 shots on goal in a span of 10 minutes in the first period. Vancouver got a better start, and scored first. It almost seems like the Capitals need at least 10 minutes to really get into a game, which is a problem. They let opponents get a jump on them, and put themselves behind from the get-go, a pervasive problem even last season. Eric Fehr said the Caps are a “good desperate hockey team,” meaning they are able to overcome most deficits, but adds that “we don’t want to put ourselves in those situations.” Prevention is best.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks 10/26/14

Three games, one win and two losses, two out of six possible points on the road. Not ideal, but the Capitals are sitting on a 4-2-2 record after 8 games, which is actually pretty good.

Add Vancouver to the list of places the Caps can’t seem to win in. They haven’t won a game in Vancouver since 2001, when the Sedins were practically babies.

Marcus Johansson scored his third goal of the season off a neat feed from Andre Burakovsky in the second period, then the Canucks added three goals in less than two minutes. The Capitals took a bunch of penalties and then rookie Liam O’ Brien scored his first career NHL goal in the second period, but a Vancouver empty-netter with a minute left in the third snuffed any hopes of a tie. Canucks win 4-2.

 

First Star:

Marcus Johansson.

Johansson is actually shooting (i.e. not passing up shots) and looks more confident than ever on the ice. Andre Burakovsky’s nifty pass to Johansson was one of two that got past Ryan Miller all night, and was #90’s third goal this season, which is equal to his even strength goal total from last season. Johansson began the night skating with Burakovsky and Troy Brouwer, but lines were shuffled and he ended up with Evgeny Kuznetsov as his center. Who knows if that will stick, though.

Second Star.

Justin Peters.

He may not have come up with the win, but Peters was a key component to keeping the Canucks off the board in the first period. The penalty kill wasn’t stellar tonight for the Caps, and Peters covered for the rest of the team’s defensive lapses capably. His last few starts haven’t been the best, but you can’t fault him for the losses.

Third Star.

Liam O’Brien.

The surprise rookie put himself on the map for something else besides face-punching. This is a facet of his game that he hopefully will put to use more often. He finished the night with 5 shots on goal and TOI of 8:04. O’Brien and Latta seem to have a bit of chemistry, so maybe Trotz will keep them together amidst the shuffling of lines of late.

 

Washington Capitals Game 8 Recap: Canucks score 3 in second to drop Caps

The Washington Capitals played the last of a 3-game western Canada road trip Sunday night in Vancouver against the Canucks. For the most part, they played like they’d been on the road for the better part of a week, falling to Vancouver 4-2.

Though the Caps scored first, the Canucks registered three goals in a less than two minute span and the Caps never really rallied.

After a ragged, scoreless first period, the goals fell like rain in the second. The Caps (4-2-2) broke on top as Marcus Johansson took a nice feed from Andre Burakovsky and buried it for the 1-0 lead — Johansson’s third of the season at even strength, which matches his total from last season.

Vancouver then scored in rapid-fire fashion, dropping three goals in the span of 1:47.

Henrik Sedin removed the Canuck goose egg, banging home a rebound from a sharp angle on the power play, in which John Carlson failed to clear the puck twice.

Just 1:22 later, the Canucks took advantage of an awkward line change by the Caps, and as a result Nick Bonino came in on Justin Peters alone as beat him cleanly to put the Canucks up by one.

Finally, 25 seconds after the second tally, Luca Sbisa held a puck in at the point and fired a slapshot past a screen Justin Peters to make it 3-1 Vancouver and the Canucks were making the Caps look tired and slow.

But the Caps didn’t quit despite the deficit. In fact, less than two minutes later, Liam O’Brien niftily redirected Mike Green’s centering pass past Ryan Miller (20 saves) for his first NHL goal and the Caps went into the dressing room for the second intermission down one at 3-2.

 Unfortunately, the third period saw no more goals except for Vancouver’s empty net goal with 1:01 left after John Carlson committed a delay-of-game penalty, throwing a puck over the glass with 1:38 remaining in the game.

The Caps return to DC to host the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday at 7:00 pm.

  • The Caps were outshot 34-22. It’s the first time this season the Capitals have allowed more than 30 shots on goal.
  • It seemed like the men wearing striped shirts were in the last game of a 3-game road trip as well. They called the Caps for five minor infractions and the Canucks just two, including a too-many-men call. But both of Vancouver penalties came while they had a man advantage already, so the Caps never did get a full power play on the night.
  • Alex Ovechkin managed just two shots on goal and four hits. it’s the fourth straight game Ovi’s been held pointless. Ovechkin led the forwards in ice time with 19:00.
  • Justin Peters made 30 saves and several terrific ones in the first period. But he was cleanly beaten on Bonino’s goal and while Sedin’s came on the power play, it bounced in — and out — of his catching glove.

Washington Capitals Game 68 Recap: Kuznetsov’s three-point night propels Caps to 4-3 win

In so many ways it was a typical Washington Capitals letdown game, but this time Evgeny Kuznetsov was there to save the day.

Kuznetsov’s three assists, his first three NHL points, lifted the Caps to a much needed 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

After Joel Ward put the Caps up early in the first period, Vancouver responded in just 3:24 to tie it at one. Caps fans have seen this story before.

After trading goals in the first, however, Kuznetsov took over.

Kuznetsov, playing in just his third NHL game, tallied his first assist on an Alex Ovechkin power play goal. The puck came around the boards to him and he passed it back to John Carlson, who found Ovechkin poised in his favorite spot. The shot rifled past Canucks’ goalie Eddie Lack to give the Caps a 2-1 lead.

It may have been a secondary assist, but it still counts and it clearly gave Kuznetsov confidence going forward as his second assist showed.

Only 4:07 after recording his first NHL point, Kuznetsov roared down the left side of the ice towards Lack, pulled his stick back for a monster slap shot and…passed it cross-ice to a wide open Tom Wilson, faking just about everyone on the ice. Wlson beat the helpless Lack for the two-goal lead.

It was an incredible play and it came from a 21-year-old playing in only his third career NHL game.

“He is such a creative player,” said Wilson, “A lot of fun to play with. The first couple of games he wasn’t sure, and he’s really finding his groove. Hopefully we can have some good chemistry for years to come.”

It looked as if his brilliant night would be wasted after the Caps blew yet another two-goal lead — the 12th time they have done so this season. They started the third period up 3-1 thanks to two second period assists from Kuznetsov, but Vancouver managed to tie the game at three with two goals only 3:06 apart.

But on this night, Kuznetsov would not be denied.

In the third period, head coach Adam Oates experimented with Kuznetsov and Wilson playing with Nicklas Backstrom at center. It paid off.

Kuznetsov showed his quick stick-handling skills to avoid defenders down low, then passed it behind the net to Backstrom. Backstrom found Green on the point and he rifled it past Lack for what would be the game winner.

“[Kuznetsov] did a great job battling down the corner and keeping control of the puck,” said Green. “He made a great play to [Backstrom], and I noticed when Nicky was wheeling the net the he saw me before he even looked up.”

On a night when the Caps gave up a quick response goal and a two-goal lead, they still managed to come away with the victory, something they have failed to do in recent weeks.

Tonight’s win was only the team’s second win in seven games. Even when things looked as if they were going wrong as usual, the Caps improved in a lot of areas.

Jaroslav Halak had by far his best game as a Cap with 38 saves on 41 shots and the Caps did not collapse when defending the one-goal lead.

“One of the good things was in the last five minutes,” said Oates, “We did a pretty decent job of protecting the goalie, blocked some shots, guys stayed in position.”

But even though this was a team win, it was a night that belonged to Kuznetsov who is showing the potential that has many people believing he could grow into a dominant NHL player.

“You know you get your first point on the power play,” said Oates, “which is kind of an easy point, but it still counts. You get your juices going. Great play on the second goal and then protecting the puck on a cycle, which is kind of something you don’t necessarily expect.”

At this point, we are learning that there are few things we shouldn’t expect from the young Russian.

The Caps are back in action Sunday as they host Toronto before heading out on their West Coast road swing. They currently sit at one point behind Philadelphia for the final wild card spot.

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Caps lulled to sleep by Canucks 3-2

The Washington Capitals completed their western Canada swing with a sleepy game in Vancouver, able to muster just 19 shots on goal, in a 3-2 loss to the Canucks Monday night that was not as close as the score would indicate.

The loss drops the Caps to 5-7-0 on the season.

The Caps were dominated in most phases of the game, but especially in puck possession. Vancouver was able to generate 68 total shots (41 on goal, 12 blocked and 15 misses) compared to 42 for the Caps (19-11-12). The Canucks also controlled the faceoff dot, winning 67 percent of the draws. [Read more…]

GAME 9 RE-CAP: Caps beaten in every facet in 7-4 loss to Vancouver

The Washington Capitals, playing the second game of a western swing, were beaten in every facet of the game, falling to a previously reeling Vancouver Canucks team, 7-4, before a packed Rogers Arena that eventually serenaded the Caps off the ice.

The loss drops the Caps to 7-2-0 after their first nine games, still in first in the Southeast Division.

For the first time this season, the Caps had their doors blown off, and from the very first faceoff it was apparent they were in for a different kind of fight.  Vancouver took the lead a mere 3:31 into the game, and though the Caps rallied several times, including tying the score at three and four, they were never in control and eventually were blown out in the third period with three unanswered goals. [Read more…]

Caps Hit the Road for Test out West

After a drubbing of the elite Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, the Capitals packed up their gear and headed towards the oil sands of Western Canada for this week’s match-ups with the Edmonton Oilers and the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks.

As we all know, the Caps are off to a red hot start and boast the League’s top power play thus far this young season. The additions of Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern have provided depth, chemistry and net presence, while Tomas Vokoun’s performance against the Wings and .944 save percentage earned him NHL Third Star of the Week honors. [Read more…]

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