Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Caps Make A Move: Flash For Hannan

The Capitals wanted to address their depth on defense and improve on their grit on the blue line. They did that when GM George McPhee traded Tomas Fleischmann to Colorado for 11 year vet, Scott Hannan. Per Caps PR:
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have acquired defenseman Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Hannan, 31, is an 11-year NHL veteran who has played for Colorado and the San Jose Sharks. The 6’1”, 225-pound defensive defenseman has played 775 career games, recording 30 goals, 150 assists, 456 penalty minutes and a +22 rating. This season Hannan has six assists and a +1 rating while playing all 23 games for the Avalanche.
Hannan has played at least 71 games in each of his 11 pro seasons, including 97.2% of the games since he made the NHL full-time in 2000-01. He has averaged 18:37 of ice time per game this season and 22:02 per game in the course of his career. His teams have made the playoffs eight times in 10 seasons prior to this one, playing a total of 73 playoff games.
A first-round pick of the Sharks, 23rd overall, in the 1997 Entry Draft, Hannan broke into the league after an all-star career with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. He was a teammate of current Capital Matt Bradley with the Sharks and signed with Colorado as a free agent on July 1, 2007.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Canes And Caps To The Wire Again

Capitals 3, Hurricanes 2 OT/SO (1-0)
Game Summary

When these two divisional rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals always seem to play one another very tough. Tonight was no exception. Even with a 2-0 Caps' lead, the 'Canes would make things interesting scoring a last second goal in the third. But the deciding factor is a goaltender that was on only his fourth start of the season and Semyon Varlamov turned away all three shoot out shots to ensure the Caps third win in a row.

Alex Ovechkin did not score a goal. In fact his last 8 points have all been assists. But not for lack of effort as Ovi had seven shots on net and another five shots attempted. He seemed to have a jump in his step as he had more than a few glorious chances to bury the puck but were all thwarted by Carolina's top goaltender Cam Ward. Ovi did manage a beaut of an assist on Alex Semin's goal to give the Caps a two goal lead and he scored the only shoot out goal to give the Caps the win and much needed two points.

Marcus Johansson continues to impress as a rookie after some hard nose forechecking. Eric Fehr dug the puck out of the corner to a wide open Johansson and the rook made no mistake waiting out Ward and slipping the puck five hole to give the Caps the early lead.

The Caps' defensive core did their best to keep the 'Canes explosive offense and Varly was there to clean up any mistakes. However, the 'Canes would make a rally and with under 4 seconds left, Tom Poti failed to tie up Eric Staal's stick in front and Carolina tied the game with only 2.2 seconds left on the clock.


The defensive duo of John Carlson and Karl Alzner continues to impress. The pair were called upon to neutralize Carolina's top line including Eric Staal. They were successful for a majority of the game keeping the 'Canes from penetrating Varlamov.


Alex Semin continues his hot hand scoring yet again. He has his fourth goal in 2 games and he finished off a great pass from Alex Ovechkin to keep his point streak going to now three games. Semin's work on the penalty kill was superb, and has been this season.

Questionable Officiating

I don't like to comment on officiating. For one, it's a hard job to make split second decisions in an incredibly fast game to decipher exactly what happened. Two, you can't really use officiating as an excuse. But the officiating in this game was weird to say the least. Obvious plays that were penalties on the Hurricanes seemed to go unnoticed. While the Caps couldn't get away with much. The game was relatively penalty free, but the Caps just couldn't get the calls their way.

Sergei Samsonov clearly tripped up John Carlson in the corner in the third period. Samsonov threw his hands in the air as if he was expecting the call. But no hand went up. Ovechkin was tripped up right in front of the referee, and he nearly put his arm in the air but decided not to. It lead to some frustrated Capitals through out the third period who felt they deserved better from the officiating.

In the end there was only one penalty against the 'Canes, and three calls against the Caps. At the end of the game, it wasn't the deciding factor. Thankfully.

Shooting Star

Ovi's new approach to the shoot out, swinging out wide left and cutting to the net has opened options for the dynamic left and/or right winger. Tonight was no exception as once again he started his run by swinging out wide left and waited out 'Canes goaltender Cam Ward and roofing it up over his glove side. Ovechkin would score the only shoot out goal.

Gnarly Varly

Semyon Varlamov is making the choice of going back to Michal Neuvirth a tough one. He was spectacular tonight stopping some great shots by the 'Canes in overtime. He would stop 26 shots and all three shoot out shots by the 'Canes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Buzz

HBO's The Buzz takes a look at the new series of 27/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic:

Also ask a question and get it answered by a Cap or Pen.

Gobble, Gobble

It's the holiday season and with a new one here, it gonna be harder to do recaps and updates.

The Capitals played a pretty good game last night. Of course it wouldn't be complete with out a little drama toward the end. But the important thing is the Caps big guns had a confidence booster of a night and the if they can figure out secondary scoring and get the all-stars going, this team could be unstoppable.

Having Semyon Varlamov in net was strangely like Linus' security blanket against the 'Canes. Very worthy of the game's second star of the night as he made the saves that counted.

Bottom line, it was a fantastic win to start the Thanksgiving weekend off right. It keeps the Caps tied with the Flyers for best in the Eastern Conference and in the league, and it stops a three game skid.

From my family to yours, I do wish you a very, very happy Thanksgiving. And we will see you when the Bolts come to the phone booth on Friday!

If you really wanted a recap of the game, here are some really good ones (ones I love to read the morning after):
Happy Turkey Day!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caps Drop Third Straight

Capitals 0, Devils 5
Game Summary

The Capitals had a bad first period. It didn't improve after that as they fall with out a goal against the New Jersey Devils 5-0.

Bad turnovers, poor coverage, shaky goaltending. Take your pick, it all lead to the Caps demise. The Devils took the early 3-0 lead and added a pair in the second. The Capitals had no answer for Johan Hedberg who would only face 4 shots in the first period.

Cold Holtby

It wasn't all his fault, but Braden Holtby struggled tonight in more ways than one. He lost rebounds and had a hard time picking up where the puck went after the first save. He didn't get much help from his defensemen who failed to cover Devils in front of the net. At times the Caps' defense looked a bit like Keystone Cops in their own zone and the Devils just took advantage.

Hometown Kid

John Carlson was one bright spot for the Caps playing in front of family and friends. Too bad his team posted a stinker. Carlson played an aggressive game hoping to score one at home. It lead to some great chances, but the Caps' rookie couldn't finish through the Devils' stifling defense. It would have been nice for the kid to score one.

Big Guys Continue Struggle

Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom continue their little slide over the last three games. The trio have only a goal and an assist in the last three and neither was from the Capitals captain. Their line started the game, but lines were shuffled through out the game. Nothing seemed to help the Caps.

Blowout Lessons

I have said it many times on this blog. Blowouts happen in hockey all the time. It is what you learn from them and what you carry over to the next game that is important. For the Caps, it seems there were no lessons learned from a 5-0 beating in Atlanta. They didn't come out with any energy or urgency to get into the game early. Instead the Caps continue to allow the first goal and find themselves behind the 8-ball game after game. If this team wants to achieve something bigger, they must learn that lesson.

Caps Notes:
  • Semyon Varlamov was called in to back up Braden Holtby after Michal Neuvirth tweaked something in the morning skate. Varly's skates however did not arrive on time, leading to Neuvirth to sit on the bench in the first. The Caps' coaching staff had to get permission for Neuvirth to stay from the officials as they waited for Varly's skates.
  • Both defensemen Mike Green and Tyler Sloan were hurt during the game. They status will be assessed in the morning. Both left the game and did not return.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wild Ending

Capitals 4, Flyers 5 OT/SO (0-1)
Game Summary

Playing like the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers did not disappoint. After it looked like the Flyers were going to sail to an easy win, bad discipline by the visiting team gave the Caps the opening they needed to tie up the game and sends it to overtime and eventually into the shoot out. But the Flyers' skill guy Daniel Briere scores the only shoot out goal and the Flyers put this one in the win column 5-4.

Rookie Marcus Johansson started the scoring off for the Caps as he cleaned up a broken play in front of the net. The Flyers would respond on their power play then scored a pair of even strength goals to take the lead with 10:20 left in the third period 3-1. A couple of ill-advised penalties by the Flyers created the Caps' comeback. They scored a pair of power play goals (both garbage) to pull the game even. Nick Backstrom and Jason Chimera were the goal scorers. Flyers would come back with a slick goal of their own but again take a bad penalty late in the game. Eric Fehr scored the game tying goal with a rocket of a shot from the right face off dot to force overtime.

Wild End

When the Flyers took the lead in the third and the Caps' Alex Semin was nicked with a tripping call. It seemed the game was at hand for the visiting team, but Kimo Timonen took a holding call to negate the Semin call. The Caps would score on the shortened power play chance. Mike Richards would take a penalty after slashing a Caps player after the goal was scored and it offered the Caps yet another chance with the extra man. It wouldn't take long for the Caps to tie up the game.

After that, it seemed chance after chance for both teams presented itself. The Flyers would regain the lead after Andreas Nodl scored by spinning around the Caps' defender and backhanded the puck through Michal Neuvirth's five hole. But the Caps would answer after the Flyers were yet again called for a penalty and with six skaters on the ice Fehr buried a shot to tie up the game.

Three goals were scored in the first two periods, but the scoring exploded in the third with 5 goals scored by either team. 4 of those were in the last nine minutes of play.

Super Kid

It was a great game for Marcus Johansson. The Caps' rookie would score his second goal of the season when he cleaned up a bouncing puck in front of the net and beat Flyer Brian Boucher glove side. Using his speed, Johansson created a slew of chances especially five on five. He was clearly the best Capital on the ice through most of the game. He will be even more exciting to watch when he figures out that wrister of his and starts beating goaltenders.

Invisible Ovi

Alex Ovechkin may have an assist in this game, his scoring has seemed to hit a wall. He has only scored 2 goals in the last eight games. He had a few golden opportunities to score early after line mate Alex Semin fed him a couple of pretty feeds to cut him loose. But he rang it off the post on one shot, missed the net on another. In all, Ovi could only muster 3 shots on net. The rest? Five shots were blocked and 6 of them sailed wide of the net. The Caps' winger showed his frustrations at times often looking to the rafters after shots or shaking his head as he returned to the bench after a tough shift.

Great Goaltending Thwarted

Neuvirth kept his team in it for a majority of the game. He stopped 31 shots including some humdingers on the Caps penalty kill. The Flyers tried his glove side, to little avail through the first two periods. Only when they held on to the shot, delaying to make the young goaltender to bite early, did they find the back of the net.

That Seems Fehr

The line combo of Tomas Fleischmann, Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr created some havoc for the Flyers. They had a slew of even strength chances. Fehr himself had a heck of game as he lead the Caps in shots with six and scored the power play, game tying goal. He even had a jump in overtime and nearly scored in the extra frame.

A Much Better Effort

After the humbling loss to Southeast Division rivals Atlanta Thrashers the night before, the Caps came to play against their Conference rivals the Flyers. The Caps were getting early chances to score and seemed to be moving their feet better, keeping the visiting Flyers on their heels. Besides a couple of defensive breakdowns and poor discipline, the Caps did play a much better game than they did the night before.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Caps Hold On

Capitals 4, Sabres 2
Game Summary

The Capitals had no problem building up a lead against the Buffalo Sabres. Up 3-0, the Caps looked as if they were going to skate away to an easy victory. The Sabres, however, have a way of getting back into the game against the Caps and it would take a spectacular effort by rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth to preserve the Caps' one goal lead as they down the Sabres and avenge their earlier loss by a score of 4-2.

Alex Semin continues his hot streak starting with a helper on the game's first goal. He drew the penalty to give the Caps a 5 on 3 then found Nick Backstrom on the far post and slipped him a pass to get the Caps off to a good start. Semin would also add a empty netter to seal the victory. David Steckel and Matt Bradley also scored for the Caps.

Good For The Grinders

The Capitals fourth line is not assembled for scoring prowess. But lately the line of Jason Chimera, Steckel and Bradley have been getting chances and adding the all important secondary scoring the Caps desperately need.

Chimera, although taking a third period penalty that nearly cost his team, played his best game as a Capital even though he didn't score. Using his superb speed, Chimera was able to pounce on loose pucks and found teammates Bradley and Steckel in front of the net. The Grinders combined for 5 points out of the Caps total of ten on the night. Chimera's efforts earned him the game's number one star.

Bending But Not Breaking

It got hairy towards the end of the game when Chimera took a hooking call halfway through the third period. But the Caps defense kept the Sabres from getting the game tying goal. With the help of Neuvirth who stopped 31 shots and had a .939 average against the Sabres.

Special Teams

The Caps special teams again came to the rescue. While they did allow a power play goal in the second period that pulled the Buffs to within one goal, they were pretty good the rest of the night. The new aggressive style of penalty killing has benefited the Caps in such a manner that they are starting to get scoring chances in the other direction. They were able to register two shots on net short handed.

Bringing Body

Again the Caps went after the Sabres physically. They outhit the Buffs 23 to 11. Alex Ovechkin led the Caps with 4 hits of his own, while Mike Green and Steckel had three hits of their own. A stat they could have lived with out though would be turnovers. The Caps coughed up the puck ten times compared to their opponents who only had one giveaway.

Caps Notes
  • Tomas Fleischmann, Tom Poti and DJ King were the Caps' scratches. Flash was sitting only because coach Bruce Boudreau said it was his turn to sit. 
  • Marcus Johansson is starting to get a handle on his face-offs. He won 10 of fifteen draws (67%). While he was not on the ice for any goals, he was not on for any goals against either. 
  • Alex Semin is riding a nine game point streak with his goal and assist tonight. The Caps have won eight of their last nine games, the only loss came at the hands of the very same Sabres a few nights ago in overtime. Alex Ovechkin was left off the score sheet for a second time in three games. The other game was against Buffalo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are You Excited Yet?

HBO's 24/7 Winter Classic Promo:

Sorry for the poor audio. Sneak peak will premiere on Saturday following boxing on HBO.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vanek Vex Caps In OT

Capitals 2, Sabres 3 OT
Game Summary

Coming into tonight's game, the Buffalo Sabres were struggling to score goals and struggling to win games. The Capitals were riding a six game winning streak and looking pretty unstoppable. On the shaky ice at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, the Sabres were able to down the Capitals in overtime as Thomas Vanek took it upon himself to make some great moves to the net and score with just a minute remaining in the overtime period beating the Capitals 3-2.

Things got off to a pretty good start for the Caps for a change. They were able to benefit from a Tyler Myers turnover inside the Sabres' zone. Alex Semin snatched up the wobbly dump off the boards and found Karl Alzner entering the zone late. Alzner had the time to wind up and shoot, which he did and beat Ryan Miller on the short side.

After much success in the second period this year for the Caps, their luck seem to run out as they allowed two goals and only could muster up 4 shots on the Buffalo goal keeper. In the third period Nick Backstrom was able to tie it when Jason Chimera found him open in the slot. Backstrom took his time, avoiding a sliding block from the Sabre defender, and buried it top left corner over Miller's shoulder.

Vanek would finish it all off in OT as he was originally forced out of the zone by Marcus Johansson, but turned up ice with some speed, eluded two Caps' defenders and stick handled around Braden Holtby's stick check to score easily. He handed the Caps their first overtime loss of the season.

A Point

The Capitals do escape out of Buffalo with at least a point, keeping them atop the league with 25 points (12-4-1). While they have been good with a lead, it has been rare that they score first. In fact out of 17 games played this season, they have only scored first in 5 games. Of that they have won 3 games, lost one and the over time loss tonight. They have opened a 7 point lead in the Southeast Division over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Semin Streak Soldiers On

While not able to score a goal tonight, Alex Semin did keep his point streak alive to seven games now. This after a spectacular game against the Lightning where he had 5 points which included a hattrick. It was also the first point Semin has scored at HSBC arena in his career.

Bad Timing

The Capitals were called for 3 double minors in the game. Two of them high sticking double minors after the offenders drew blood. The other was a cross check call against Chimera and another two were added for unsportsmanlike for being a bit gabby about the call afterward. The long penalty kills hampered the Caps offensive flow, they were only able to achieve 4 shots in the middle frame. The Sabres were able to score on the Tomas Fleischmann double minor to take the lead in the second period.

Minor Ovi

Alex Ovechkin had a glorious opportunity when Nick Backstrom sprung him free on a break away on Buffalo's goaltender Miller. But Ovi didn't score as Miller stopped him with the leg pad after the deke. A goal would have put the Caps up 2-1 in the first period. Beyond that, Ovechkin seemed to struggle against the Sabre's double and triple teaming. He would become a non-factor in this game with no points, a minus one with only a single shot on net. Ovi did throw his body around, matching team mate Matt Hendricks for most hits by a Caps' player tonight (5).

MJ Back

Marcus Johansson made his return to the line up in ten games. He was a bit sluggish at times in the opening two frames, but his speed came back in the third period. MJ90 saw some time with the top line, centering Ovechkin and Mike Knuble. He would finish a minus one, with three shots on net and struggled on the face off dot (3-6, 33%).

Back to Back Woes

Again the Capitals have had a hard time in games they play two nights in a row. Last time the Caps had two games in two nights, they lost the first game and exploded in the second game against the Calgary Flames. They will face of against the Atlanta Thrashers back at the phone boot at 5 pm Sunday evening.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Capitals 6, Lightning 3
Game Summary

The Capitals are having a hard time finding their game in the first period this year. They would once again fall to an early opponent goal by the Tampa Bay Lightning. But a superb second and third periods and a hattrick for Alex Semin helped the Caps down their Southeast Division rivals 6-3.

Alex Semin would net the game winner after scoring a pair of goals in the first half of the third period. One on the power play, the other even strength. It would cap a 5 point (3 goals, 2 assists) night for the Caps dynamic winger as he also got the empty netter at the end of the game to give him the hattrick.

In his first game back, Tom Poti would make an early impact in the second period by roofing a back hand rebound shot to give the Caps their first goal. Mike Knuble would bury a broken play in front of the net with himself below the goal line. But his reach back and chip it would beat a defenders attempt to clear and rang off the far post and in.

Alex Ovechkin is back in the goal column as he sprang Semin lose for a break away then followed up the play. When Semin was hooked he circled and found his fellow countryman in the slot and Ovi didn't miss shooting it seven hole on Bolts' goaltender Dan Ellis.

Back in the Swing of Things.

Nick Backstrom finished the night with a whopping four assists on the evening. His assist on Semin's power play tally was another amazing feed from the corner as the Bolts were quick to cover the pass to Mike Green on the point leaving Semin open in the slot. He would finish with a +3 on the night.

Contract Year Heroics

Alex Semin just hasn't been impressing with his laserbeam shots or his golden hands. The Capitals winger has been solid on both ends of the ice. In this game he was the lead back checker and thwarted the Lightning on more than one occasion. It was his second hatty of the season, sixth of his career.

Gr8 Eight

Ovechkin is sporting a eight game point streak and he can add a goal and 3 assists tonight. He has goal 9 and assists 13 and 14 giving him 23 points on the season so far.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wild, Wild Night

Capitals 5, Rangers 3
Game Summary

It was not pretty, but it was a hard fought, good two points for the Capitals. The New York Rangers came out to play a rough, physical game to knock the Caps off their skill game. While the top line was held in check, the Caps' grinders came through for them as they down the Rangers 5-3.

The Caps would, once again, have to come from behind to win the game. After letting the first goal in by Ranger Brian Boyle, Brooks Laich would answer for the Capitals on the power play. He tipped in a Semin shot-pass and it beat Ranger's goaltender Henrick Lundqvist five-hole. Laich would add a empty netter to seal the deal.

After that, the Caps' grinders and tough guys had their night. John Erskine scored a wicked shot high stick side on Lunqvist. Mike Knuble finally gets on the board for the season, burying a pass from an Alex Ovechkin. Matt Hendricks scored the game winner after some hard work by the grinding line keeping the puck deep. Matt Bradley found Hendricks in front and the Caps would go on to win.

A Chippy Affair.

Every crash at the net, every tussle along the boards led to a scrum as both teams got a little chippy with one another. While a fight was due to break out, it was a bit of a shock to see Mike Green take on Brandon Dubinsky in a dust up. The scrums would become less and less prevalent as the game wore on, but there were plenty of sore feelings between the two.

Goons On Ice.

John Erskine is not really known for his sniper abilities, but he scored on a blast of a shot from the point that beat Lundqvist high stick side. It would snap a 31 game goal-less streak for Erksine but the Rangers topped that just :41 seconds later when Ranger goon Derek Boogaard scored his first since his rookie season. Boograad shot it in the exact same spot where Erskine scored. It would snap a 234 game stretch where he did not score a goal.

I Laich It.

Brooks Laich may have been left off the three stars of the game list, but he had himself a pretty good game. He scored a pair of goals, was a +3 with three points. He drew a boarding call after hustling, negating a Ranger power play. Laich also was perfect on the face off dot (100%), but only took one draw. At the time this post was written, Laich now leads the league in =/- with a +13.


Alex Semin snapped a 4 game goal streak, but keeps his point streak alive. It now stretches to 5 games. Ovechkin stretches his point streak to seven games and his assist streak to 5 games. The Capitals stretch their winning streak to 5 games. Neuvirth now leads the league with wins (9) and has won 3 of his last 4 starts in net.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Holtby, Green Power Caps Past Flyers

Capitals 3, Flyers 2 OT
Game Summary

It would take overtime for the top two teams in the Eastern Conference decide a winner. When the dust settled Mike Green scored the game winner just :29 seconds into the extra frame and both the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will end up tied for the top spot in the standings. Caps come away with the two points with the overtime win 3-2.

The Caps would have to, yet again, come from behind to get the eventual winner in over time. Eric Fehr would score to tie the game at one apiece on a snapper shot from the left wing boards beating the Flyers rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The Flyers would again take the lead, but the Caps answered when Alex Semin buried a great feed from Nick Backstrom on the power play. Mike Green would put the cherry on the top of a physical, hard grinding game with the overtime, power play goal.

Holtby's first.. again.

Braden Holtby would make his first NHL start after getting his first NHL win against Boston in the last game. He would turn away 23 shots to get his second win. He had a few big saves including three straight stops moving from left to right and all three Flyers' forwards registered a shot. Hotby's saves seemed to spur his team to play better defense in front of him. Besides a couple of breakdowns, the Caps' defense kept the Flyers' scorers in check. Holtby would earn the game's second star. He is the youngest NHL goaltender to start a game this year (21 years, 52 days).

Taking advantage.

The power play again bailed out the Caps offense. Chris Pronger took a late penalty with 3:55 left in the game. Unfortunately, it was a double minor for high sticking David Steckel and drawing blood. The Caps' power play drew yet another penalty to extend the extra man advantage and allow Green's game winning goal.

The Caps now have seven power play goals in their last 4 games. This after the power play struggled at the beginning of the season. The Caps' penalty kill also factored in this game as they were able to kill off the only two penalties they took against a very physical team in the Flyers.

I got your Backstrom.

It is the second straight game Nick Backstrom has registered two assists. Three of the last four have been the primary assists. He has ten points in the last six games (3g, 7a) and his point production has been a bright spot for a struggling Caps power play.


Caps finish their home stretch of three games with 6 points. They have now won four straight games. Alex Ovechkin continues his point streak now to six games with ten points during that stretch (4g, 6a). Alex Semin stretches his goal streak to four games.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Classic Cardiac Caps

Capitals 5, Bruins 3
Game Summary

It was the best first two periods by the Washington Capitals, followed by a Boston Bruin rally in the third. What looked to be a walk away domination, the Caps took a couple of bad penalties early in the third period and it spurred a Bruin offensive outburst. It was stemmed when John Carlson put a slapper past the Bruin goaltender with over six minutes remaining to get the game winner.

While no goals were scored in the first period, the Caps played their best first period of the season. They held the Bruins to only 3 shots in the first while peppering Tim Thomas with eight shots of their own. In the second the dam broke for the Bruins when Tomas Fleischmann wins the face off and shovels it back to Tyler Sloan who cranks it past Thomas for his first of the season.

The Caps' defense wasn't done there as the Bruins defenders broke down in the zone and Alex Ovechkin found Mike Green open cross ice. Green waited out Gregory Campbell going down for the block and beat Tim Thomas high glove side. It would extend the Caps lead to 2-0. Green would figure in on the third goal when Alex Semin makes an aggressive move on the penalty kill. It would lead to a two on one with Brooks Laich and Green the trailer. Semin passed it back to the Caps defender who gave it right back. Semin's shot slipped under Thomas and the Caps would take a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

The first half of the third it was a different story. Jason Chimera took a hooking call off the face off and while he sat for two, the Bruins' power play took advantage as Micheal Ryder scored. Then John Erskine was called for interference and the Bruins rallied to cut the lead to one goal with another power play goal by Nathan Horton. Then a bad turnover by the Capitals lead to a Shawn Thornton goal off an odd man rush.

Bruce Boudreau would pull Michal Neuvirth after the third goal and replace him with Braden Holtby. It would be Holtby's first action in the regular season in the NHL. After the change, the Caps started to clamp down on the sudden hot Bruin offense. Holtby would only face 4 shots, but they were all huge saves. John Carlson would put the cherry on top netting the game winner off another face off win. Add an Alex Ovechkin empty netter and the Caps are close to tying up the season series with the Bruins who already have the 2-1 advantage.

A first for Holtby

Braden Holtby not only got the win, his first NHL win in his first start, but he also donned the hard hat in the locker room following the game. For a rookie who wasn't expected to see much of any ice time while backing up Neuvirth, to be thrown in to a game tied with the tide going against your team is asking a lot of any goaltender, let alone a first timer. Holtby would face 4 shots, repelling them all.

Zero Zdeno

It wasn't a great game for Zdeno Chara. He finished with a -4 and no shots on net. A big part of the Bruins offense, especially on the power play, the fact he had no shots means the Caps did a good job of keeping him from being a factor for the Bruins.

A ten minute brain cramp

The Caps played the perfect first two periods, only to allow a talented Bruin team to roar right back and tie the game up early in the third period. The Bruin rally would be snuffed out when Boudreau would change goaltneders and the Caps' defense suddenly woke up again. In the first 9:51 of the third period, the Bruins would score three goals on five shots.

Shaky Neuvy

While Neuvirth wasn't scored upon until the third period, he had only faced 9 shots through the first two periods. After the power play goal, which had very little to do with the Caps' netminder, he seemed to struggle going down early on Bruin advances. Both the second and third goals could have (and should have) been stopped. Boudreau would pull him after the third goal.

Caps' D helps with Caps' O

Three of the five goals the Capitals scored tonight came off the sticks of the Capitals' defensemen. Sloan, Green and Carlson contributed to the scoring effort tonight. Jeff Schultz was the Caps best in the plus/minus column with a +3 and had an assist.

Fantastic Faceoffs

While the Caps trailed in face off wins (45%) against the Bruins, two big draws led to two big goals. The first was Fleischmann's draw back to Sloan that led to a goal. The second was Boyd Gordon's win the led to Carlson's goal. Both were clean face off wins.


Ovechkin continues his point streak now through 5 games with 8 points during that stretch (3g, 5a). Semin has a three game streak for both goals and points, 6 points (3g, 3a).

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Caps Squeak Out Win At Home

Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 4 OT/SO (2-0)
Game Summary

When the Toronto Maple Leafs score first, they were a perfect 4-0. When the Capitals give up the first goal they have the best record in the league coming back with a 5-3 record. The Leafs would score first in this tilt taking the lead in the first before the Caps would explode to a three goal second period, only to be answered by three goals by the Leafs in the third. It would take overtime and a shootout to decide this wild game. The Caps overpowered the Leafs as Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin both scored to give the home team the win, 5-4 OT/SO.

The Capitals will benefit from a better power play as Mike Green starts the goal spurt in the second period. Jason Chimera his third goal of the campaign after a hustle move by Boyd Gordon digging the puck out of the corner and found a charging Chim in front of the net. Just :53 seconds later, John Carlson would throw a wrister to the net and Tomas Fleischmann would tip it in for fourth goal of the season. It would be Carlson's sixth assist. Semin would score the game tying goal in the third period on the power play.

Putting the power back in power play.

Before the last two games the Capitals could only muster 3 goals in 39 chances. It was struggling to say the least. But in the last two games, the Caps have spurred their offense with power play tallies. Now, they have four power play goals in eight chances.

Having Mike Green on the back end of the power play seems to jolt the sleepy power play up. It is starting to rev up and teams will have to be on their best behavior in front of the Caps if their power play continues like it has in the last two games.

Sloppy breakouts.

The Capitals broke down in the third after being a bit too cavalier with the puck clearing their zone. The passes have to be tape to tape and if the play isn't there, the defenders have to clear the zone. The quick goals by the Leafs was result of failing to clear the puck and breaking it out. It seems the Caps turn the puck over too many times at their own blue line.

Overpowering shoot-out.

Any goaltender in the National Hockey League will tell you that the last three players they would like to face in the shoot-out are probably Nick Backstrom, Ovechkin and Semin. Leafs' goaltender Jonas Gustavsson faced just that only stopping Backstrom (he also shot it wide). Ovechkin moved from left to right opening the Leafs' goaltenders' legs to score five hole. While Semin just wound up and shot a slapper in the slot that beat Gustavsson glove side cleanly. A wicked shot that any goalie in the NHL would cringe to see.

Stay consistent. 

Just about the only consistent thing the Capitals have going for the them is in net. Michal Neuvirth had a pretty good game, although he did let 4 behind him (mostly not his fault). But when the Capitals needed a big save, he was there with the stop. Plus his performance in the shoot out was pretty spectacular too.

Keeping the streaks alive.

Green is back into his old scoring ways. He has 5 points in the last three games (2g, 3a). Ovi is back on a point streak through four games netting two assists tonight. He has seven points in the last four (3g, 4a).

DJ "Not So" King

It was a pretty tough night for the Capitals' tough man. He got into a scrap in the first with Colton Orr. But the fight was to a draw as both players found it hard to land any punches. But it wasn't Kings fisticuffs that have some worried. King turned over the puck at the blue line, then made half attempts to swipe the puck away. It would eventually lead to a goal against. He was a -2 tonight.

Secondary scoring... Finally!

The Caps were concerned the top line would have to do it all. Talk about pressure. But the Caps did get some goals from outside the top line of Ovechkin, But goals by Chimera and Fleischmann relieves some of the strain of the top lines. They needed those goals.