The Washington Capitals defeated the Buffalo Sabres yesterday evening to earn their first victory of the season. After coming from behind to take a lead and hold it for an extended length of time, they capped off the game with a stick salute to fans. Joel Ward went RG3ing after scoring his third goal of the year, John Erskine scored and Alex Ovechkin netted the game winner.
Question (not sure who asked): How far do you think this team is from winning the Stanley Cup?
Dale Hunter: Yeah you know some long it’s it’s the right way to play and you know and, ah, you know to to win and and ah that’s what you have to play it and you know it’s ah next year we’ll you know you can you can always start off and ah that’s your goal to win.
Wednesday night’s Washington Capitals victory over the New York Rangers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the perfect relief for fans from their heartache following their loss in Game Five in New York on Monday. That loss brought the kind of fan depression that can only be cured by the next win. With this win, the Capitals stay alive and force a Game Seven. Oh Boy.
After the game that wouldn’t end finally ended Thursday morning, I wrote something about an “I got this” vibe from the Washington Capitals. Saturday afternoon’s game validated that feeling. The Caps had it and defeated the New York Rangers by a score of 3-2. Thankfully, it was in regulation time, too.
There are three photos I’m especially happy with from yesterday’s game. One is the feature photo in this post of Nicklas Backstrom’s fist pump following his goal. We don’t get that kind of celly from him very often.
While I couldn’t quite tell how the Alex Ovechkin hit on Dan Girardi went down, but it was one of those rare times that I shot an in-focus, not-too-motion-blurred photo of a moment like that.
Then there is the photo of the sombrero on the ice in front of the Chipotle dasher board ad in front of a fan holding a sign reading “Rangers Are in Danger” with the puck sliding by for some Cinco De Mayo spirit.
The Washington Capitals bounced back last night to even their series against the Boston Bruins at two games a piece on the back of a 44 save performance by goaltender Braden Holtby. It was kinda like, “Wow,” from the 400s. Ah, yes, the 400s…where it takes a dozen Verizon Center security guys to bounce a couple drunk looking for trouble. These were not the asshats from Monday night, just garden variety drunks in a bad mood looking for a bad time.
Like always, there are better places to read about the game like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, District Sports Page, On Frozen Blog and Ed Frankovic…and I am still a very happy camper because Capitals Outsider is still doing box scores.
See my photos below or on flickr and thanks for stopping by again!
The Washington Capitals clinched a playoff berth with their 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers last night (and a loss by the Buffalo Sabres to the Philadelphia Flyers). That was good. Really, really good.
The Washington Capitals lost goalie Michal Neuvirth after former Capital Marco Sturm fell on his leg. That was bad. Really, really bad.
The Washington Capitals got goals from both Alexes for the first time since, uh, the last time they played Florida (and Jay Beagle and Brooks Laich knocked in goals of their own, too). That was good.
The Washington Capitals let a 3-0 lead slip to a 3-2 lead in an all too familiar manner. That was bad.
The Washington Capitals scored a fourth goal before the Panthers managed to score a third goal. That was good.
The Washington Capitals power play was not very powerful. Again. That was bad.
The Washington Capitals penalty kill was very successful. That was good.
The Washington Capitals had lots of trouble removing the puck from their zone. Again. That was bad.
The second season begins sometime next week. I wonder if this team has found their identity.
Oh, and what’s this? After missing 80 games with concussion like symptoms, the Capitals Outsider Box Score has returned!
My photos are below and on flickr.
The Washington Capitals were up with a solid lead again last night in their game against the Montreal Canadiens and, once again, they gave up the lead. Fortunately, the Capitals prevailed in the shootout on the strength of goals by Matt Hendricks (despite his “Paralyzer” shootout move doing nothing for him) and Alexander Semin while Michal Neuvrith didn’t let anything by him.
While there were many stories of the game last night like the Capitals blowing another lead, the team scrapping that much closer to getting into the playoffs despite themselves, a continuing powerless play, and it saying “Fan Appreciation Day” on the ticket, the only thing that really seemed to matter (and was a big enough gift back to fans) was the return of Nicklas Backstrom. Well, the playoff thing matter a little bit, too. And that power(less) play could be a real problem if they get there. It was great seeing Backstrom get right back into the groove.
It was also cool to see Semin roughing someone up. I know some up in the press box called it a weak call, and perhaps it was from that view, but from my view (which you can see in one of the photos below), Semin gave some elbow and cared enough to finish with an extra little bit.
Watching the Capitals at what may be their best in their current form at this time may not be as fun and exciting as when they were at their best in 2009 or 2010, but it sure was fun to watch yesterday’s game agains the Toronto Maple Leafs. There was no angst, no doom and gloom, no waiting for a shoe to drop…even when Mathieu Perreault put them up 2-0 in the first minute of the third period. That was kind of surprising given the Capitals recent history with 2-0 leads. Something about the game felt right. They were going to win. And give Michal Neuvirth a shutout victory in his 100th NHL game.
And there was the hitting. Which was good.
More of this please.
Read more at the regular places that tell their stories with words like On Frozen Blog, Ed Frankovic, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page and Russian Machine. Check out my photos below or on flickr and thanks for stopping by!
Way back when in ought-eight, ought-nine, when the Washington Capitals trailed by a couple goals, there was never any worry about whether they’d come back, only about who was going to be credited with the goal…and who are we kidding? It was almost always Alex Ovechkin unless it was overtime, in which case it would be Mike “Game Over” Green. It always worked out. Until April or May, at least. This season, though, and much of last season, holding a two goal lead is stressful as the wonder is focused on if they’re going to hold it, blow it, and how close it will be.
Last night was more of the latter, but a little of the former. The Capitals had to win in this game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They had the lead, they fell behind and Ovechkin won it in overtime. Of course, this was in a game against a goalie making his first NHL career start and suffering from what sounds like a pretty nasty case of dehydration. He was visibly off late in the third period and overtime, most noticeably during stops in play where it looked like he was holding onto the goal for support to keep standing. But whatever it takes, a win is a win. Unfortunately, it may be game over for green for a little while after the hit he laid on Brett Connolly, but that’s beside the point.
The theme of the night seems to have been yelling. Coach Dale Hunter yelled at the Capitals in the second intermission. Green was yelling from the bench, Dennis Wideman was yelling when shooting, and Ovi was yelling after he scored. And when was the last time we saw him jump into the glass like that after scoring? Personally, I’ve missed seeing that.
You know where to go to really read about the game, and it ain’t here. It’s over at places like Ed Frankovic, On Frozen Blog, Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page and such. I have some photos below and on flickr.
Before last night’s game I realized that the warmup music they were playing was what they used to play back in the go-go days 2009. Through Twitter, Jordan Greenberg (the guy that plays the music), told me they’ve been playing it all along. If this is true, I must be getting older and forgetting stuff. Hope I remember that can be a useful skill.
The game itself against the New York Islanders went through a number of phases. The phase where the Capitals were pretty much dominating, winning every battle for every puck, getting off lots of shots and giving up almost none, yet managing to end the period not he wrong end of of an 0-1 score. Second period was kind of the same…still winning almost all the battles, but it took eight minutes or so for the Capitals to register their first shot of the period. Um. In the third period, it felt a little bit like the game in Carolina last week.
Then the Islanders went up by another goal. A few more minutes passed and some fans started heading for the exits when Matt Hendricks took a penalty with about 7 minutes left. After that, though, the earth spun backwards and everything was right again. Troy Brouwer scored twice in the final few minutes to tie the game at two and I saw something I hadn’t seen at Verizon Center in quite a while…The fans didn’t sit back down after Brouwer’s first goal. The ones that were left. Or, at least, a bunch of them.
Overtime. Does anyone remember a game a year ago almost to the day? When Alex Ovechkin just couldn’t pretend he’s not a total, bitchin’ rock star from Mars and rolled out the magic in overtime against the Islanders? Well, it was kinda like that, but different. The result was right.