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  • Caps Recap 11/23/09

    Y’know, sometimes I think teams tend to play different when they are missing a star player. I know that seems like an obvious statement and you may be thinking “well of course they play different; they are missing their star player.” Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 11/2/09

    We are all holding our collective breath while we await word on the condition of Alex Ovechkin. As of this writing, I have no further details on Ovechkin other than that he suffered an “upper body injury” and that the team will know more about him on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 10/26/09

    Well, the good news is that the Washington Redskins didn’t lose last week (they don’t play until tonight) and neither did the Washington Capitals!

    It’s another Monday, so it must be time for another Caps Recap! Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 10/12/09

    Wow, what a difference a week makes, huh?

    The Caps, who came out swinging in their first two games, went down flailing in their last three going from 2-0-0 to 2-2-1. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Continue To Impress

    Turning point…

    Alex Ovechkin scored just over a minute into the game. While the Toronto Maple Leafs may have had 59 minutes to get back into the game – they never did. The Capitals were able to capitalize on the home crowd energy right from the start, and their three unanswered first period goals were the difference in the 6-4 win. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 3/2/09

    Running Behind – I want to apologize to my loyal readers for not getting my recap out yesterday. Due to some personal obligations and then the snowstorm from yesterday, I wasn’t able to do it. I considered skipping it, as the Caps really didn’t do that well last week, but a lot happened that I’d like to share my thoughts on.


    So, without further ado; let’s get to the recap.


    Tuesday, Feb. 24 – Caps fail to foil Flyers – Washington dominated this game for the first forty minutes, and looked to be on their way to an easy victory until the third period. The Caps watched their two goal lead turn into a two goal deficit As Philly scored four unanswered goals to take the win 4-2.


    Broken Breakaway – Nicklas Backstrom broke free on the penalty kill and went sliding in all alone, only to hear his shot ring off the post. That was one of several breakaways the Caps had that they failed to convert. If you fail to punish a team that gives up those kinds of chances, you only keep them in the game. Philly came out, down by one goal in the third, motivated to tie it up. Had they come out down by three, maybe they don’t skate as hard as they feel the game is out of reach.


    Thursday, Feb 26th – Caps avoid Thrashing by Atlanta – Once again the Caps jumped out to a two-goal lead, and once again they let it slip away. This time however, the Caps regained their two-goal lead, but had fans on the edge of their seats when Atlanta scored with a little less than two minutes left. The Caps held on for that two minutes and managed to come away with a 4-3 win.


    First vs. Worst – With the Caps leading the Southeast division, and Atlanta pulling up the rear this game should not have been this close. The two teams are separated by more than 30-points in the standings, but on this night were only separated by one goal.


    Saturday, Feb 28th – Caps Stun Bruins in OT – Comparatively speaking the Caps played good, mistake free hockey for most of this game…until the third period. The Caps had one penalty for the first forty minutes, but then had three penalties in the third (the third of which gave up the game tying goal. With both teams deadlocked at 3-goals apiece, they headed into overtime. They wouldn’t need long as Alex Semin ripped a hail-mary slapshot from just inside center ice and had it slide through Tim Thomas for the game winner.


    This is what it sounds like… – Boston’s Coach Claude Julien called the Caps “overconfident” based on the head-to-head records of the two teams. “I have heard them say they’re in our heads,” he said. “They do a lot of talking. I don’t think they do a lot of research.” I’m thinking maybe Mr. Julien is the one not doing the research as the Caps have a 3-0-1 record against his Bruins this year.


    Sunday, Mar 1st – Caps mauled by Panthers, 6-2 – In my weekly recap last week, I forgot to mention the Caps were facing Florida. I overlooked it completely as the schedule switched months. Apparently, I’m not the only one to have overlooked the Panthers as the Caps didn’t even bother to show up for the game. I’m not sure who those guys were in the red jerseys at Verizon Center, but they sure didn’t play like a team that’s a hot prospect for a playoff run. I know the score says 6-2, but believe me, the game was never close.


    They’re killin’ me, Whitey – This game was painful to watch. The Caps, as usual, scored first; but then gave up four unanswered goals in the first period alone. Once again, penalties killed the Caps as Florida’s first three goals were all on the power-play.


    The Wrap up – The mounting losses have slid the caps back into 5th overall in the league, and third in the Eastern Conference. They still hold the lead in the Southeast division by 13-points.


     Coming up – The Caps wrap up their home-stand this week as they welcome Carolina, Toronto, and Pittsburgh.

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    Caps Recap 2/23/09

    On the face of things, the Capitals record of 2-1-0 for the week seems pretty good. However, when you consider that the Caps one loss came at the hand of their weakest opponent for the week, it really makes for some head scratching.


    Any other time you might see a line-up involving the Canadiens, Avalanche and Penguins as a tough stretch of opponents. Not only were they slumping, but they were playing the Caps in Chinatown, where the Caps have only lost four times this season.


    Colorado was the only team the Caps faced this week that had lost more games than they’d won (28-31-1), yet Colorado looked like the team bound for the playoffs while the Caps skated around like they were still looking for the answer. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 2/16/09

    It’s not easy to outshine a player such as Alex Ovechkin; but for this past weekend, Mike Green managed to do just that. Even though Green’s scoring run ended with eight games, he set a new league record for consecutive games with a goal scored by a defenseman. His eight game goal scoring streak was the longest such consecutive streak since the ’98-’99 season when Miroslav Satan and Teemu Selanne both had eight game runs.


    Ovechkin may be knocking off records held by previous Caps left and right, but Green’s achievement is one that even the Great-Eight doesn’t have yet. Green’s eight game goal scoring streak is the longest by a Capital since ’86-’87 when Mike Gartner went on a nine-game goal-scoring run. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 2/9/09

    It was another good week to be a Caps fan last week as the Caps went 2-1-0 in their three games. The Caps managed to cling to their positions in both the League and Eastern Conference standings when they fended off New Jersey.


    Alex Ovechkin scored his 200th career goal making him only the fifth player in NHL history to score 200 goals in his first four years. Mike Green broke a franchise record for consecutive games with a goal scored by a defenseman as he is currently on a six-game goal scoring streak.


    The Caps did lose the services of Net-Minder Brent Johnson as he went in for surgery on a hip flexor that has plagued him all year. He is expected to be out for the next eight weeks, but may be back in time for the play-offs.


    After starting the week off with a convincing win over New Jersey, the Caps had an equally convincing loss to Los Angles. The horrific play versus L.A. resulted in the return of fan favorite Karl Alzner from Hershey. The Caps defense improved dramatically as they bounced back to beat division-rival Florida in a low scoring affair Saturday night at Verizon Center.


    Let’s get to some recapping.


    Tuesday, Feb. 3rd – @ New Jersey – In a game that meant the difference between 2nd and 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals staved off the Devils in a 5-2 victory. They did this by jumping out to a 3-0 lead and going three for four on the power-play. New Jersey, who was fresh off comeback overtime wins over Boston and Pittsburg looked like they might do the same versus the Caps as the scored to end the second and begin the third periods bringing the score to 3-2, but it was Michael Nylander’s power-play goal, and Eric Fehr’s empty netter that finally tamed the Devils.


    Perfect Timing – Michael Nylander hadn’t scored twice in a game since December 29, 2007. Nylander scored only his 6th and 7th goals of the season versus New Jersey and it’s appropriate that one of his two goals would be the game-winner. “He doesn’t like to shoot,” Washington’s Coach Boudreau said after the game. “We have a few of those guys, and then we have one guy who shoots every chance he gets. He makes up for those guys.”


    Wow, that was fast – Brooks Laich scored the Capital’s second goal, just four seconds into the team’s second power-play opportunity.


    Thursday, Feb. 5th – versus Los Angles – The sellout crowd at Verizon Center had barely had time to find their seats before Alex Semin had scored the team’s first goal; just 0:15 seconds into the first period. Unfortunately, the Caps faithful had been in their seats for a while (and had watched the Kings score three straight goals) before Mike Green would score the second.  By the end of the second period, L.A. had a comfortable 4-2 lead. The Caps would attempt to stage a late rally, but it was too little, too late as they would fall to L.A. 5-4.


    We’ve secretly replaced the Capital’s defense with Foldger’s Crystals – The Capitals looked sloppy and disjointed versus the Kings. Bad passing and worse turnovers seemed to be the name of the game. “The first two periods were as bad as we’ve played all year,” lamented Caps coach Bruce Boudreau afterwards. “They’ve got good speed, and they were coming up the middle well. Our guys were all over the place. We weren’t playing anywhere near what we’re supposed to be doing. That’s the frustrating part of the game.”


    Bittersweet – Alex Ovechkin scored his 200th goal in his 296th game. It’s a huge milestone as he is now only the fifth to do so in league history. It’s a shame it had to come in a losing effort.


    Saturday, Feb. 7th – versus Florida – Florida may be a distant speck in the rear-view mirror as far as the Southeast point standings go, but that was no reason for the Caps to take them lightly. Following the pattern of the L.A. game, the Caps scored first, just 0:33 seconds into the game. The teams were deadlocked 1-1 after the first and second periods. It was Mike Green’s early third period, PPG that broke the tie. Florida was granted a golden opportunity late in the third as they were give the two-man advantage with Sergei Federov and Shaone Morrison called for penalties less than a minute apart. Morrison’s 5-minute major meant the Panthers would be on the power-play for the rest of the game.


    The Caps had been on a 13-game streak where they had given up at least one power-play goal, but on this night the streak would be broken as it would be Mike Green scoring short-handed on the empty net to finally put the Panthers to bed.


    Green Light – Mike Green is one game away from tying the league record for consecutive games with a goal scored by a defenseman. That record was established by Boston’s Mike O’Connell who tallied in seven straight games for the Bruins in January of 1984. O’Connell netted a career-high 18 goals that season. Green has now scored seven goals in his past six games, and currently has 19 goals on the season.


    The Wrap Up – The Caps played well versus their Eastern Conference rivals, but not so much against a mediocre Western Conference Opponent. Nine of the Caps’ 16 losses have come at the hands of Western Conference opponents to whom they are 7-9-0. The Caps seem to play great against the top teams in the East, and look like they may be playing late into the play-offs, but they will need to figure out a way to put away the West if they want to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.


    Coming Up – The Caps are going to be busy as they wrap up the month of February. They play three games this week; all on the road. They start off in New York this Wednesday versus the Rangers, and spend this weekend in Florida with back-to-back game versus the Lightning and Panthers. They return to Verizon next week where they start a five-game home stand and play six games in 11 days to wrap up the month.


    The Caps are still 4th in the league, 2nd in the Eastern Conference and 1st in their division, and are in no danger of losing their position to any of their next three opponents, but with New Jersey nipping at their heels, they will need to win versus all three.

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    Caps Recap 2/2/09

    The Washington Capitals came out of the All-Star break to face two of the top teams in the league in the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Redwings. They also had a match-up against the Ottawa Senators who had beaten them in their two previous meetings.


    The Caps returned to form as they went 2-0-1 last week, netting 5 out of a possible 6 points.


    The Caps are still where we left them prior to the All-Star break ranked 1st in the Southeast division (now with a 13-point lead), ranked 2nd in the Eastern Conference (now with only a 1-point lead), and still ranked fourth overall in the league (also with only a 1-point lead).


    The team nipping at their heels in the conference, and the league is the Caps next opponent; the New Jersey Devils. The Devils will be the Caps third opponent in four days.


    Let’s get to some recapping.


    1/27/09 – @ Boston – In a game that seemed like a chess match, these two heavyweights of the Eastern conference squared off for the second time in 11 days. The Caps had won their previous meeting at Verizon Center by a score of 2-1. This game started with the Caps leading 2-1 after the first period. The Bruins were able to tie the game up in the second period, and goaltending expedition by Jose Theodore and Tim Thomas in the third period carried the game into overtime with both teams tied at two. In the end, a costly penalty put the Capitals 23rd ranked penalty killers into a 4-on-3 situation and lead to the Bruins game winning goal.


    Losing in the worst way – The Bruins game winner in overtime came when Shaone Morrison attempted to disrupt a pass in front of the net, and had the puck ricochet off his skate past Theodore. This is the second time I’ve seen this happen to Morrison this season. Morrison was in good position; it was just an unlucky bounce.


    1/31/09 – vs. Detroit – The Washington Capitals have turned Verizon Center into the place that no one wants to play. Their sell-out crowds at Verizon have only seen four Capitals losses this season. Even the defending Stanley Cup Champion Redwings couldn’t overcome the Red-Out at Verizon as they fell 4-2 to their ungracious hosts.


    Call ‘em out, Bruce – After watching the Redwings tie the game near the end of the second period, thanks to a bone-headed and unnecessary penalty by Alex Semin, Coach Boudreau had some choice words for his two superstars Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin’s response was immediate as he came out and scored two goals in the third period to give the Capitals the 4-2 win over Detroit.


    How many Caps can you fit into one penalty box? – To show you how much the NHL loves their dramatic finishes, I’ll need to paint you a bit of a picture. The Caps are up by two goals. Detroit has pulled their goalie with two minutes left to get the extra attacker and are skating 6-on-5. Victor Kozlov is given a questionable hooking penalty giving the Redwings a 6-on-4 advantage.


    The refs weren’t finished yet; 13 seconds later, Brooks Laich has the puck hit high on the glass and bounce over, but the refs call him for delay of game. Laich takes a seat next to Kozlov; Detroit replaces their goalie and now skate 5-on-3 with a minute-and-a-half left to go. The refs still weren’t done. Tom Poti, while clearing the puck, hit an attacker’s stick and the puck flew up over the glass. He was forced to stand in the box with Kozlov and Laich with a little less than a minute to go, knowing that the Redwings could be on the power-play for both the game tying, and game winning goals.


    Detroit failed to score, but I gotta tell you, a game where your team is leading by two goals with less than two minutes to go, should not be so nerve racking!


    2/1/09 – vs. Ottawa – It had been less than 24 hours since the Caps wrapped up their game versus the Bruins. During that time, the ice had been converted to a basketball court for the Wizards, and returned to an ice surface for the Capitals as they prepared to face Ottawa. This was the Caps fourth meeting with the Senators, and Ottawa had won the previous two matchups. Ottawa scored the game’s first goal, early in the first period, but it would be the last time they would lead in the game. Washington poured it on getting four straight goals before Ottawa was able to score their second. By the end of the second period, the Caps had a comfortable four-goal lead, and Alex Ovechkin had scored a hat trick. Ottawa was able to score two more goals in the third, but it was really too little, too late. The Caps went on to win 7-4.


    Five Goals in 24-hours – Alex’s two goal performance in the third period versus Detroit, plus his hat trick in the first and second periods versus Ottawa gave him a grand total of 36 goals for the season. I would be willing to bet if you asked people who hadn’t seen the game versus Ottawa to guess who had the hat trick in that game, they would all guess Ovechkin first.


    The Wrap up – Getting 5-out-of-6 points, considering the competition last week, is a great job by the Caps. They faced two of the top three teams last week and got three points for their efforts. A casual observer may see the Caps lose to some teams that they shouldn’t, but the more trained eye will notice that the Caps seem to play their best when they are facing the best.


    Looking forward – The Caps start this week tomorrow night in New Jersey as they try and fend off the Devils. The Caps need a win over New Jersey to keep their position in the conference standings. After that they get to come back home to welcome the Kings, and the Panthers. The Caps are the healthiest they’ve been since November but need to be careful this week. As noted in the wrap-up, the Caps are notorious for losing to teams they should beat, and L.A and Florida certainly fit that description.

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