March 28, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 80 Recap: Comeback falls short in overtime loss to Pens

HOLTBY’S CHANCE AT BRODEUR’S ALL-TIME WINS RECORD TAKES HEAVY BLOW

(Photo by Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson — yes, Marcus Johansson — led a three-goal comeback for the Washington Capitals, only to see Sidney Crosby take a long head-man pass in overtime to beat Braden Holtby and lift the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Caps 4-3 on Thursday at a noticeably divided Verizon Center.

Pittsburgh won its eighth in a row and locked up second place in the division win the win.

The Caps (55-17-8) needed the late comeback because once again they came out complacent, suffered defensive breakdowns and received sometimes nonchalant goaltending.

A mere 44 seconds into the game, on a three-on-two rush, Tom Kuhnackl turned Nate Schmidt inside-out and passed to wide open Matt Cullen, who cleanly beat Holtby for a 1-0 lead. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 79 Recap: Holtby’s record chance has to wait as Isles top Caps in OT

OVECHKIN SCORES TWICE BUT THIRD PERIOD BREAKDOWNS LEAD TO LOSS

Braden Holtby entered play against the New York Islanders needing one win to tie Martin Brodeur’s all-time record for wins in a season for a goaltender with 48. He was spectacular at times, and was victimized by sloppy defense and a little casualness on his own part, and the Isles came from two goal down to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime Tuesday at a disbelieving Verizon Center.

The Caps dominated early on, with several very good chances. Then, on an offensive-zone faceoff, Alex Ovechkin took matters into his own hands. He gathered the won faceoff, looped around a defensemen and let a wicked wrister go through a screen into about eight inches of open net past Christopher Gibson — making his second NHL start — for his 46th goal of the season.

It was Ovechkin’s third goal in his last four games and marks the eighth time the Great 8 has reached the 46-goal mark in his illustrious career. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 77 Recap: Caps set season high in shots in win over Avalanche

OVECHKIN NETS NO. 46, BEAGLE GETS FANCY AS CAPS DUMP AVALANCHE

Alex Ovechkin scored his 46th goal of the season to lead the Washington Capitals over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.

Facing a desperate Avalanche team that needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt, the Capitals (55-16-6) showed that the offense may be back on track — just in time for the playoffs.

Play and goal of the night go to Mr. Jay Beagle. With a great defensive takeaway behind the Avalanche goal he turned the puck and put it behind the back of netminder Seymon Varlamov. See below: [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 76 Recap: Flyers take down Caps in shootout

LATE FLYERS GOAL TIES IT, CAPS FALL IN RARE SHOOTOUT LOSS

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A third period essentially bookended by a power play goal from a star on both the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers was a fitting penultimate frame in a potential preview of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both teams had over 60 shot attempts and 30 hits each, and the atmosphere was befitting of this traditional Metropolitan Division rivalry.

Behind shootout goals from Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner and two stops in the skills competition from Steve Mason, the Flyers prevailed 2-1 in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 75 Recap: Caps clinch Presidents trophy; home ice for playoffs

CAPS CLINCH BEST OVERALL BEFORE ANYONE ELSE IN EAST CLINCH PLAYOFFS

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Led by a three-goal third period, The Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 and officially clinching the 2015-16 President’s trophy and assured home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With a couple of rebound goals,  a late power play strike, and solid goal-tending, the Caps (54-16-5, 113) wrapped up the final regular-season prize of the Presidents trophy for most points in the regular season — and still have seven games to play.

The fourth line came to play and Tom Wilson benefited the most from it. Picking up a rebound off a Mike Richards shot, Wilson made a nifty little backhand move from his knees to put the puck in the goal and the Caps on top for the rest of the night. An expert exploitation of a broken Blue Jackets’ stick. [Read more…]

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 72 Recap: Caps finally start to put the script together

CAPS CLINCH DIVISION, CONFERENCE WITH 10 GAMES TO GO

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Capitals clinched the Metro Division and Eastern Conference to guarantee home ice throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

For the first time in months, the Caps heeded their locker room motto: Stick to the Script.

The script included scoring first. Left completely unattended at Ottawa’s net at 2:32 into the first period, Mike Richards got the first goal with an easy conversion after Tom Wilson’s solid takeaway on the Senators’ failed clear.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 69 Recap: Ovechkin scores in overtime as Caps claim playoff berth

OVECHKIN NETS WINNER IN OVERTIME AFTER CONTROVERSIAL REVIEW

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No longer interested in continuing the narrative of slow starts and allowing the first goal of the game, the Washington Capitals commanded action from the jump on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The 2-1 overtime win for Washington over the Carolina Hurricanes came in a somewhat controversial way, with storylines abound.

First, it was the fast-paced start. Outshooting the Hurricanes 6-1 less than 7 minutes into the contest, their relative domination of the opening frame resulted in a scoreless tie at the first intermission, but the message from the Capitals was clear — they weren’t settling.

“I was fine with the first period. We hit a couple crossbars, thought we were playing the right way. Just sometimes, you’re not going to find the back of the net,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 67 Recap: Caps furious comeback earns point against Kings

WILLIAMS, RICHARDS HONORED BY KINGS IN RETURN TO STAPLES CENTER

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

It wasn’t over until it was over.

The Washington Capitals continued their recent string of bad starts and furious finishes, coming from three goals down to salvage a point against one of the better teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings. Jeff Carter’s goal at 2:50 in overtime dealt the Caps a 4-3 loss that for many might have felt like a win.

T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov — in spectacular fashion — scored three third period goal to forge a tie and carry the game to a frenetic overtime period. Or half of an overtime period, as it was.

The Caps improve to 49-13-5 for 103 points on the season. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 66 Recap: After 65 minutes of championship-level hockey, Caps beat Ducks in shootout

OSHIE, BACKSTROM SCORE IN SHOOTOUT TO LIFT CAPS OVER DUCKS

The Washington Capitals started a grueling west coast swing with a matchup against the only team in the league that’s been hotter than them since Christmas. After 65 minutes of exhilarating hockey, the Caps and Anaheim Ducks needed a shootout to settle the score.

T.J. Oshie and Nick Backstrom scored in the shootout and the Caps edged the Ducks 2-1. As was pointed out on social media throughout, if this was a Stanley Cup finals preview, not a single hockey fan could complain.

The win marks the Caps 11th straight one-goal game and ups the season record to 49-13-4, 102 points. Braden Holtby (27 saves) earned his 41st win, tying himself (’14-’15) and Olie Kolzig (’99-’00) for most wins in a season. [Read more…]

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