capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Caps Top Predators, 4-1

Photo courtesy of bridgetds
Mike Knuble has played 1,000 NHL games.
courtesy of bridgetds

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

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Top Pens 3-2 in OT

Photo courtesy of
‘IMG_7158.jpg’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Whenever the Capitals take on the Penguins, the game is always an intense roller-coaster ride from start to finish. Last night’s contest in Pittsburgh was no different. The Caps squeaked out a 3-2 overtime win despite being dominated much of the game.

The good:

  • Forwards Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Knuble both posted their first goals of the season. Both players seem to come alive whenever this rivalry is in play. It seems this always-intense rivalry finally got Ovechkin’s motor running. The captain had one goal on three shots and collected five hits and a +1 on the evening.
  • Goalie Tomas Vokoun showed a much better side of himself, stopping 39 of 41 shots. He kept the Caps in the game in the first and third periods while the rest of the team lagged.
  • The Caps penalty kill shut down four of five Penguin power plays.
  • The lone power play for the Caps came in overtime. Dennis Wideman cracked in a nice Nicklas Backstrom pass from the slot. The goal is Wideman’s second of the year. Continue reading
The Daily Feed

Caps finish home schedule strong, anticipate playoffs

Photo courtesy of
‘The Gentleman’
courtesy of ‘Brian Isemann’

It is a Wednesday night in April. Washington, D.C. was about 65 degrees in the afternoon with a bit of a chill breeze coming from the water. The townsfolk are buzzing about cherry blossoms and how utterly bad the Nationals are going to be.

For years in D.C., this was not a time to be talking about hockey.

But, there is this red machine is like a fire in the middle of the city. People flock to it for the experience, for the cheers and the hits and the hope to see Alex Ovechkin light a lamp, hear a foghorn sound. For 101 straight regular season games, Verizon Center has been packed to the rafters with manic fans, unleashing fury and clamoring for chicken wings.

It was no different this Wednesday.

And their team didn’t disappoint.

The Caps were sloppy against the Panthers, but they certainly were the better team, claiming a 5-2 victory to finish off their home schedule (25-8-8) of the regular season. Washington is now a win away from claiming its second straight Eastern Conference regular season title and having home ice through a theoretical playoff run.

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capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Ovechkin’s OT winner sends Caps to the top of the East

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‘ovi en fuego…’
courtesy of ‘choofly’

Alexander Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal with 1:41 remaining in overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 5-4 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres in a weird and wild game Saturday night at the Verizon Center. The win moved the Caps to the top of the Eastern Conference by one point over the idle Philadelphia Flyers, though Philadelphia does have a game in hand.

However thrilling the win was to the 18,398 fans who made up the 100th consecutive sellout crowd for a Capitals home game, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was in a less-than-celebratory mood at his postgame press conference.

“I’m concerned with the process of how we played,” Boudreau said, “I thought it was way too close to looking like last year.” Continue reading

capitals hockey

Caps Dump Flyers, Look Ahead to Playoffs as Ovechkin Rests

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Mike Knuble scored his 20th goal of the season against the Flyers.
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Boy it’s fun to win in Philadelphia.

In an entertaining battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers last night to win 5-4 in a shootout in Philadelphia and clinch a spot in the playoffs. In their first game this season without scoring leader Alex Ovechkin, the Caps took advantage of their early chances to jump out to a 3-0 lead after just 22 minutes.

When Philadelphia changed goalies, the momentum swung the other way as the Flyers out-hustled and out-muscled the Caps to score four unanswered goals. “Our biggest problem in the second period was turning the puck over,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “The first period, we didn’t have any turnovers. We got it out, we got it deep. In the second and third period they were putting more pressure on us but we were turning the puck over.”

With five minutes left in the game, the Caps looked thoroughly beaten. But Mike Knuble, who had a dominating night with a goal and two assists, set up Marcus Johansson for a one-timer to force overtime. After a scoreless overtime, Alexander Semin scored the game winner in the shootout to seal the deal. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Capitals look good against Blackhawks, still more work to be done

Photo courtesy of
‘IMG_2530.jpg’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Everybody around the Capitals are starting to get a little bit antsy. Washington is a point back for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, it has won eight straight games and doing so in gritty style. The trade acquisitions are paying off and it does not seem to matter who is in goal, Washington is pulling out victories.

The Caps themselves do not seem to be antsy. If anything, a good adjective to describe them would be focused. Focused describes the surrounding media and fan base also, all looking towards the ice and seeing a team that is playing well and asking ‘what is it going to mean in the playoffs?’

Sunday’s 4-3 overtime matinee win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks was a showcase game. It was the NBC Game Of The Week and had a little bit of a “what-if” surrounding it. What if the Caps had not gotten run by the Canadiens in the first round? What if they were able to grind through and make it through the Eastern Conference to play in the Finals? What if the faced this same Chicago team last June for it all?

One thing is for certain … it would have been fun to watch.

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The Daily Feed

Capitals gone streaking: Seven in a row as Holtby withstands Hurricanes

Photo courtesy of
‘IMG_6630.jpg’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Things are really starting to go the Capitals way.

Seven wins in a row. A fresh young goaltender riding a hot streak. A string of victories in one goal games. And now they have retaken second place in the Eastern Conference within striking distance of the Flyers for the top spot heading into the playoffs.

Where has this team been most of the year?

Washington was good in the fall. They were mediocre in November, January and a good portion of February. They were terrible in December. Yet, with a scrappy, opportunistic 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Friday, Washington controls its destiny in the Southeast Division and is within a game of where everybody thought they would be when the season got rolling in October.

On the top.

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The Daily Feed

Rangers demoralize the Caps … again

Photo courtesy of
‘IMG_2006.jpg’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

It has been a while since the fans at Verizon Center have seen a good show.

Well, that is if you weren’t at Lady Gaga Thursday night.

More specifically, Capitals fans have not seen a good show at Verizon in quite some time. Before the 6-0 shelling at the hands of the Rangers on Friday, the Capitals had lost their previous two home games by a combined score of 6-1 to the Kings and Sharks. The team then went on the road for much of the month of February, cruising the West Coast, New York and Pennsylvania for five games with varying results before returning home to lay an egg against New York.

The last time the red-clad denizens of Verizon Center got to celebrate a win was against rival Pittsburgh Feb. 6. A home win over the Penguins, because they are so hated in D.C., makes everything all right, doesn’t it?

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The Daily Feed

Caps caught napping again in loss to Kings

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‘IMG_7557.jpg’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

The message after the game was loud and clear in the Capitals dressing room on Saturday afternoon.

It is time to wake up.

“It is like we are waiting for something. I don’t know. Waiting for something,” forward Mike Knuble said. “We are entering the toughest part of our season right here and it is going to be a real indicator if we are going to be a serious contender or not, quite honestly.”

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Over Pens in Possible Playoff Preview

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‘DSC_6093′
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’

The Washington Capitals hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and for all the noise, excitement, and skill on display on and off the ice, one would think it was the NHL playoffs already.

The Caps won 4-3 in the shootout on Mike Knuble’s fake-out during sudden death. Knuble was a surprise to see come off the bench, as he’s been 0-4 ever since the shootout started in 2005. “I couldn’t believe Bruce was doing it to me,” Knuble said when asked about Coach Bruce Boudreau’s choice. “I didn’t play in overtime at all, so I thought my night was over. I told him when I got off the ice, ‘I don’t like you when you do that. Don’t do that stuff to me.’”

Knuble had a solid night during regulation, tipping in the first goal of the game at the start of the second period. The Penguins’ Maxime Talbot evened-up a little over a minute later, and the Penguins entered the dreaded third period up 2-1. Before last night, the Caps have outscored the Pens 14-1 in the third over the last two years. Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr continued the Caps’ domination and seemed to have the game well in hand until Jordan Staal flipped in the tying goal at 16:54.

The win has given the Caps 108 points on the season, tying the franchise record they set last year. With nine games to go, it’s a sure thing to see that record fall. Especially when six of the last nine are at home – the Caps own the NHL’s best home record at 27-4-4. Next up is a road game versus division rival Carolina tonight at 7 pm, then back home on Sunday against the struggling Calgary Flames at 3 pm. Both games are carried on the Comcast Sports Network.

(Still riding that hockey high? Relive the excitement from last night’s game through my “photo log” on Flickr.)