When the Washington Capitals fell behind 3-0 to the Boston Bruins in the first period, it looked like it was going to be another one of ‘those nights’. Fortunately coach Adam Oates didn’t see it that way, managed to keep his team focused, and was rewarded with a sensational comeback from his team when Eric Fehr scored a beautiful goal in overtime to steal the two points. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s Monday, it’s a new Hockey season, that means it’s time to break out the Caps Recap!
The Caps had two games last week facing the Northeast Division Champion Boston Bruins in their season opener followed up by the familiar face of Ron Wilson and his Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener. The Caps came out of the gate swinging scoring 10 goals in their first two games. Alex Ovechkin having three goals in his first two games is hardly a surprise, but for him to be tied with Brooks Laich certainly may raise some eyebrows.
The race for the cup starts here, so lets get to some recapping! Read the rest of this entry »
1st period Overview:
The Capitals opened up the season against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night where they left off the 2008-2009 season with a 4-1 victory. Their fire didn’t stop during their home opener tonight against the Maple Leafs as reigning back-to-back NHL MVP Alexander Ovechkin ignited the raucous Verizon Center crowd with his third goal of the season just 1:17 into the contest. Chants of MVP quickly ensued from the home fans. Read the rest of this entry »
With Washington’s win over division rival Tampa Bay last night, the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.
Your top-3 seeds in the East are
1 – Boston
2 – Washington
3 – New Jersey
Seeds 4, 5, and 6 will be determined this weekend but will include Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Carolina
Seeds 7 and 8 will go to either New York or Montreal.
So who’s ready to play the playoff picture game?
If the season ended today, your match-ups would be
Bruins vs. Canadiens
Capitals vs. Rangers
Devils vs. Penguins
Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Caps fans will be pleased to see this, because it means there is a chance they may not have to face either Philly or Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
Now here’s the rub.
Philly technically has the fourth seed right now because they are a game up on Pittsburgh and Carolina (even though all three are tied in points and Philly has fewer wins). That extra game comes tomorrow in New York versus the Islanders.
Carolina technically has the fifth seed over Pittsburgh because they have one more win than the Penguins do (even though they are tied in points) and they face the third seeded Devils tomorrow.
The Rangers technically have the seventh seed because they have one more win than Montreal (even though they are also tied in points), and they face Philly on Sunday. The Rangers 2-1 win over Philly last night was huge, and when they face Philly on Sunday, it will be the Flyers third game in four days.
Pittsburgh and Montreal square off tomorrow.
So, each of the bottom five teams are facing a playoff opponent this weekend!
Games I’ll be Watching:
4/11 – 1:00pm – Carolina at New Jersey
Carolina needs the points more than New Jersey and after a humiliating loss to Buffalo ended their nine-game winning streak they’ll be spoiling for a fight. For Carolina this could mean the difference between the sixth and fourth seeds. New Jersey is already locked in as the third seed, but shouldn’t want to take their foot off the gas now when they are one game away from the playoffs.
4/11 – 2:00pm – Philadelphia at New York Islanders
The Isles have nothing to play for. They lost their pride a few nights ago when they dropped one to Carolina in a 9-0 shutout. Sure, they’ll be in front of their hometown fans (what’s left of them) but I don’t see that slowing down the Flyers at all. I won’t be watching this one as much as keeping an eye on it. The only chance New York has here is if the Flyers overlook them and forget what time the game starts. The Flyers may not want to leave it all on the ice in this game as they play again the very next day. Of course, the Islanders are in the same boat as they have to turn around and face Boston the next day.
4/11 – 7:00pm – Washington at Florida
No playoff implications here, I just enjoy watching the Capitals. Much like New Jersey, the Caps playoff spot is secure. The Caps are one game away from a franchise record for most wins in a single season, and Boudreau is going to want them to finish the season strong. Florida is playing in front of their hometown fans, and may just like to play spoiler.
4/11 – 7:00 – Pittsburgh at Montreal
This will be a good matchup as Montreal will be at home in front of their home fans and *ahem* their home officials. Both teams need the points. For Montreal it means the difference between seventh or eighth seed, For Pittsburgh it could mean the difference between sixth and fourth.
4/12 – 5:00pm – New York Rangers at Philadelphia
If Carolina and Pittsburgh both lose in regulation, the Flyers may not need this game, but New York will to secure the seventh seed. If Montreal loses in regulation, the Rangers won’t need this game, but Philly might (depending on whether or not they beat the Islanders) to secure the fourth seed.
There are far too many playoff scenarios to determine what the actual picture will be, but rest assured it’ll be fun to watch!
I sat down for last night’s game confident that the Caps were going to lose to the highest scoring monster in the Eastern Conference. The Caps came limping into Verizon with 10 players on their injury list, and have been playing up and down hockey recently. Contrarily, Boston, tied for second place in the league, and currently leading the Eastern Conference with a record of 19-4-4, was looking like a well-oiled machine with scoring threats on all of their lines. I believe their coach could probably score if he were allowed on the ice.
I got an e-mail from the Caps late yesterday saying they were sending Sami Lepisto, Keith Acoin, and Bryan Helmer back down to Hershey, and that they had recalled Oskar Osala. By my superior math skills that left two spot open; maybe someone was coming back from the injury list!
Imagine my glee when I found out those two players were Alex Semin and Tom Poti!
The Caps are a different team without the stick-handling acrobatics of Alex Semin, and with the return of Tom Poti the Caps now only have three defensemen on the injured list (John Erskine, Brian Pothier, and Mike Green). Poti’s presence may have been considerably more noticeable, but it was Semin who helped come up with the play that put the Bruins away for the night.
From PK to PP to Goal! – The Caps came out strong versus the Bruins, and in fact looked like they were on the power-play for the first 0:41 seconds of the game. Then they got hit for a minor penalty that sent them short-handed when Shaone Morrison got nicked for high sticking. The Caps got their shot with the extra attacker two-minutes later as Stephane Yalle was called for interference 1:36 seconds into their power-play.
Alex Ovechkin would make them pay.
One for you, one for me – Last week vs. the Islanders, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom broke free on a two on one with the empty net. Alex unselfishly passed the puck over to Nicklas and let him score the goal. Tonight, Nicklas returned the favor.
Alex took his shot from the point and his shot most likely would have hit the leg-pad of Manny Fernandez if not for the slight redirect of Nicklas Backstrom who got just enough of the puck to redirect it between Fernandez’s skate and the goal post to put the Caps up 1-0
Starting in Net for the Washington Capitals; Gumby! – Brent Johnson’s night looked like it was going to end early and on a high note. Johnny stared down a quick two on one with P.J. Axelsson and Chuck Kobasew flying right at him. Axelsson fired the wrist shot from the left, and was stopped; the rebound bounced right to Kobasew. Johnson dropped into the splits and made a spectacular save against Kobasew.
It all happened so fast that Kobasew couldn’t avoid Johnson as he skated into Johnson’s outstretched right leg.
I figured Johnson was at least done for the night, if not for the season, but he finally got up, shook it off and continued.
Easy as 1, 2, 3 – Alexandre Giroux scored his first NHL goal, in the second period of his second game wearing the number 33. His goal gave the Caps a 2-0 advantage.
A little luck, a lot of skill, but no “love” for Johnny – Brent Johnson was having one of the greatest nights I had seen as he continued to make highlight-reel saves. Johnny looked like he might pull off a shut-out (0 is called “love in tennis for those not as quick on the uptake) as he stopped 23 shots in the first two periods, but the 24th was too hot to handle.
With 0:35 seconds left in the second period, Phil Kessel got a lucky bounce of the boards on the right side and went straight for Johnson, he passed it across to Milan Lucic who slapped the puck home from the left.
The Backbreak(away)er – With a little over a minute to go, the Bruins pulled their goalie to get the extra attacker with the Caps up 2-1. Alex Semin fished the puck loose from the boards in front of the players’ bench, passed it over to Ovechkin who shot into the attacking zone on the break-away. In a scene that had to look like it was in slow-motion for Bruins fans Alex skated deep into the attacking zone, and lazily lobbed the puck into the empty-net.
Interesting tidbit #1 – Everyone named Alex (Semin, Ovechkin and Giroux) got a point in last night’s game. Giroux had a goal, Semin picked up an assist, and Ovechkin had a goal and an assist.
Maybe they were just sleepy – After calling four penalties in the first period, the refs stayed off their whistles the rest of the night. They did give the Caps a penalty shot, but made up for it by calling Sean Collins for hooking in the third period.
As if he didn’t have enough gear to lug around – After his spectacular performance, Brent Johnson was given the Caps Hardhat (an honor bestowed upon the player by his teammates for being the hardest worker on the team). Johnny went on to stop 33 of 34 shots on the night, and 79 of the past 83 shots he’s faced in his last three games. Johnny’s on a three game winning streak with a .952 save percentage and a 1.33 Goals Against Average in those games.
His record for the season is now 8-4-2 with a .918 and a 2.47 GAA.