capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Beat Bruins to Tie Series


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Holtby: Rock
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Rookie goaltender Braden Holtby put on the best show of his short and stellar NHL career as he stopped 44 shots to lead the Caps over the Boston Bruins by a score of 2-1 to even the best of seven series at two games apiece.

The Caps managed to score twice on just 21 shots, but it was enough to make Holtby’s heroics count. Alexander Semin scored the game winning goal on a power play. Continue reading

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Caps Fall to Jets in Shootout, 3-2

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Capital’s coach Dale Hunter
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Like many sports, hockey is a game of momentum and lucky bounces. As Caps’ coach Dale Hunter likes to say, “That’s hockey.” The Winnipeg Jets got a few lucky breaks last night to beat the Caps 3-2 before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center.

Ii was a wild ending. Four power play goals in the span of eight minutes late in the third period left the two teams tied at the end of regulation. After an inconclusive overtime, the Jets won the game in the shootout.

The Caps came out aggressively in the first period, peppering Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec with 12 shots on goal to the Jets 4. The Caps had another 13 shots that either missed the net or were blocked. Even though both teams play a “trap” style of defense, it was wide open hockey with fast rushes in both directions. It seemed like the clock had been turned back to the run-and-gun Caps of the best of the Boudreau years. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to me it was a lovely sight. Continue reading

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Caps Top Predators, 4-1

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Mike Knuble has played 1,000 NHL games.
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The Capitals honored 39-year-old Mike Knuble last night for playing in 1,000 NHL games, then went out and earned a hard fought 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators before a festive crowd at Verizon Center last night. Riding goals from marquee players Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin along with some timely saves by goalie Michal Neuvirth, the Caps played as complete a game as we have seen under new coach Dale Hunter. Continue reading

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Stars Shine, Caps Fall 5-2

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Neuvirth Makes a Save On a Tricky Puck
courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

They typically only face each other once a season, so a match-up between the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals is not one of the marquee rivalries in the NHL. Not like the salad days of the great Redskins and Cowboys teams over in the NFL. But coming into last night’s game, these two teams sported the best records in the league. Unfortunately, what promised to be fireworks turned to fizzle as the the Caps came undone in the third period. The Stars simply out-worked the Caps en route to a 5-2 victory in Washington. Continue reading

Sports Fix

The chain gang: Where did the Caps’ offense go?

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

A year ago, the Capitals were the high-flying, big scoring red machine that cut through the Eastern Conference regular season like scissors making a paper snowflake. They led the league in scoring with 313 goals and were buoyed by the best top line in the game in Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin.

This year has not been so kind.

The difference is striking, on the ice and by the numbers. Washington’s struggles on the ice have been well chronicles and denizens of the Verizon Center hope they have been remedied with the additions of another puck moving defenseman (Dennis Wideman) and a bona fide second line center (Jason Arnott) brought to D.C. at the trade deadline.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Last year the Caps scored 3.82 goals per game, more than half a goal higher than second place Vancouver at 3.27. The top line of Ovie, Backstrom and Semin tallied 3.93 points (goals and assists) per game. The top eight scorers on the team averaged 7.86 points per game. An amazing seven Caps scored more than 50 points with six of them above 20 goals.

Where has the production gone?

And why?
Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Capitals Re-Sign Alex Semin

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

According to a team press release, the Washington Capitals have re-signed mercurial, talented, and currently injured winger Alex Semin to a one year deal valued at $6.7 million dollars. Currently in his sixth year with the Caps and the NHL, Semin is struggling through injuries after coming off his first 40-goal season and career high of 84 points. He has not played in the team’s last nine games.

Semin is tied for the league lead with three hat tricks this year, coming in a 35-day spurt between Oct 23 and Nov 26. For the first two months of this season, he ranked second in goals (18) and fifth in points (30). He already ranks 11th in Caps history in goals (166) and 19th in points (335).

The Russian winger’s new contract extends his time with the Capitals through the 2011-12 season and gives him a raise of $700,000 from his last contract, tying him with Nicklas Backstrom for second highest paid player on the team.  Even with this extension, according to capgeek.com, the Capitals still have over $13 million dollars of cap space left to sign 9 players who will be free agents after this season. This signing, however, may not have been without some drama.  Via Twitter, Washington Post writer Tarik El-Bashir reports that the Capitals offered Semin a multi-year deal, but the winger and his agent declined the offer in favor of the shorter deal they accepted.  The team did not mention if the deal contained a no-trade or no-movement clause. It’s very plausible the multi-year deal was rejected due to the fact that the CBA is slated to be re-addressed and possibly re-structured at the end of the 2011-2012 season.

The Daily Feed

Ovie, Greenie named NHL All-Stars – Semin snubbed?

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

This was predictable.

Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are NHL All-Stars. Should the Capitals have had some more? Well, perhaps there is this one guy . . .

At one point this year it seemed like Alexander Semin was a no-brainer All-Star. Through November he was by far the MVP of the Capitals and it looked like in a contract year he was going to play motivated hockey. He was hitting, he was moving his feet and most importantly, he was lighting the lamp.

But then Bad Sasha showed up.

Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Semin Strikes Again; Caps Zap Lightning, 6-0

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’
Alexander Semin owns the Tampa Bay Lightning. At the Verizon Center last night, Semin scored his second hat trick in as many games against the Lightning this season. It was Semin’s third hat trick of the year, and the Caps went on to crush the Lightning 6-0.

The Capitals’ defensive corps also had an outstanding game, even with Mike Green out of the lineup. Three defensemen – John Carlson, John Erskine and Tom Poti – scored for the Caps. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, the NHL scoring leader, was held off the score sheet for only the fourth time this season. “We pay a little more attention to him,” said Erskine. “Especially on the power play. We try to take him away a little, and it seemed to work tonight.” Tampa Bay mustered only 17 shots in the game.

The Caps got off to a quick start scoring just three minutes into the game. Marcus Johansson won an offensive zone faceoff back to Carlson who one-timed it over the shoulder of Tampa Bay netminder Mike Smith for a 1-0 lead. Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Alexander Semin Bottles Lightning, Caps Win 6-3

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Alexander Semin scored a hat trick and added two assists as the Caps downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 last night at Verizon Center. Semin scored all three of his goals in the third period to break open a close game. It was a battle of high-scoring players as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Semin faced off against the equally potent Tampa Bay trio of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and league scoring leader Steven Stamkos. The super stars shone through as five of the six players tallied two or more points in the game.

Lecavalier opened the game by ringing a shot off the post behind Michal Neuvirth in the first minute of the game to set the tempo. Tampa Bay out shot and out hustled the Caps in the first period, getting many more quality scoring chances. Tampa Bay finally broke through when the fourth line capitalized on an odd-man rush. Teddy Purcell punched in a juicy rebound on a sharp angle shot by Sean Bergenheim. It was the 12th time in 16 games that the Caps have given up the first goal; the Caps have been outscored 17-7 in the first period this season. “The first period wasn’t so good,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We didn’t work hard enough. We have to find a way to start games better.”

On the other hand, the Caps have outscored opponents 17-2 in the second period in the past six games. Two minutes into the middle frame, Tom Poti notched his first goal of the season, picking up a rebound and lifting a backhand shot into an open net to even the score. It was Poti’s first game after missing eight games due to injury. Two minutes later, Mike Knuble put the Caps in front 2-1, reaching back from behind the net to tap in a loose puck on the edge of the crease. Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Trim Leafs in Shootout

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The Caps beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 last night at the Verizon Center in a thriller that saw three lead changes, spectacular goaltending, and a shootout victory for the home team. The teams traded three-goal bursts in the second and third periods as the momentum swung back and forth over 65 minutes. The Caps prevailed in the shootout on goals by Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin and two saves by Michal Neuvirth to earn two points in the standings.

Semin’s full range of talent and fury were on display last night. The speedy winger ended the evening as the first star of the game, but also spent four minutes in the box for needless penalties. He assisted on the Caps’ first goal, scored a power play goal late in regulation to tie the game, then blasted a point blank slapshot shot past Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson in the shootout to seal the win and make up for his two offensive zone penalties. “He was actually sick tonight and we didn’t know if he would be scratched or not until after warm up,” said Boudreau. “But he wanted to play and so he did.”

Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps to Play 9 Home Games in November

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Alexander Semin

courtesy of ‘Jessica Whittle Photography’

The Caps enter the scond month of the season with reason to be optimistic. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned Rookie of the Month honors for leading the Caps to seven victories while posting a 2.15 goals against average in October. The Caps looked like the Caps we know and love Saturday night in Calgary, uncorking three straight power-play goals en route to a 7-2 victory over the Flames. It was the second time this season the Caps had scored seven goals in a game.

If the Caps can shake off some shaggy defense work and find some secondary scoring, we can expect another exciting season atop the standings. Coach Bruce Boudreau is expected to keep Alexander Semin on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom for a few games, so look for the boys in red to keep lighting the red lamp at Verizon Center.

November promises to be jackpot for hockey fans in DC. Starting tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Caps play nine home games at the phone booth this month. Here is the rest of the schedule for November:

Fri Nov 5 – Bruins
Sun Nov 7 – Flyers
Thu Nov 11 – Lightning
Sun Nov 14 – Thrashers
Wed Nov 17 – Sabres
Sat Nov 20 – Flyers
Fri Nov 26 – Lightning
Sun Nov 28 – Hurricanes

So put on your Red and prepare to Rock the Red in the nation’s hockey capital!

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Semin Unhurt in Accident

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courtesy of ‘Jessica Whittle Photography’

Capitals forward Alexander Semin is unhurt after being in a car accident in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. His Mercedes was struck while he was waiting in a “traffic queue.” The driver apparently failed to brake and slammed into the back of Semin’s car. “I didn’t even realize what had happened,” Semin told the Moscow News. “I was just sitting in my car and suddenly – crash!”

No one was injured and neither driver is admitting responsibility. Semin is a frequent visitor to Krasnoyarsk, where he was born, and runs coaching classes for local players in the offseason.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Boston Wins in Shootout, Holds Ovie Pointless

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Yesterday’s showdown between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals was everything NBC hoped it would be as their Game of the Week. There was grit, goals, and grudges – all good ratings boosters – despite the fact that neither team had much to play for. With the Caps ensconced in the number one seed and the Bruins in the sixth slot (after clinching earlier in the weekend), it was less about playoff implications and all about momentum-building and individual milestones. In the end, Boston emerged victorious from the shootout with a final score of 4-3 and a three-game win streak heading into the postseason.

Alexander Semin finally reached the 40 goal plateau with a soft shot under Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas with just over 2 minutes gone in the first. With Semin’s accomplishment – 40 goals, 84 points in a career-high season, it seemed to the sellout crowd that Ovechkin wouldn’t be far behind in ratcheting a few more goals to claim the Maurice Richard Trophy.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Senators Outlast Capitals in Overtime

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The Caps have claimed the top slot in the Eastern Conference and dominated their division. Despite sitting in a relatively safe spot for the playoffs – which begin in a little over two weeks – the Capitals have made a point to tell the fanbase they’re not going to take it easy these last few games.

Saying it is one thing. Proving it is another.

The Ottawa Senators came into Verizon last night riding a four-game win streak; the Caps were sitting with two losses. Ottawa hasn’t clinched a playoff spot just yet, even though they’re a pretty sure bet for fifth seed. But both teams are looking to hold the balance of rest and form during the last few games of the season; go into the playoffs after a stressful stretch run and a team could flame out early from exhaustion. It’s a balancing act that requires teamwork and a delicate coaching touch.

Last night, however, the Caps just couldn’t pull off that balancing act. Senators captain Alexei Kovalev scored on the power play in overtime with just 19 seconds remaining, giving the Caps their third loss in a row and the Senators a much-needed boost to extend their win streak to five. Continue reading