Going into last night’s game in Pittsburgh, the Caps had gone 9-0-1 in the Penguins’ own home, a streak dating back to 2007. So if there was any night the Caps could break out of their dismal start and begin the arduous climb back into the playoff picture, now was the time.
Until the second period, it looked as if the Caps were on the upswing. And then it all fell apart. The Pens scored five goals in the second, including two in the span of eleven seconds, and put the game out of reach. Michal Neuvirth was pulled after Pascal Dupuis put the Penguins up 2-1, but the goalie switch didn’t spark anything. The Penguins lit up Braden Holtby for three more goals. Final result? Penguins 5, Capitals 2. Streak broken.
Alex Ovechkin and Ribeiro got a goal and assist in the loss. Ovechkin continues to do well, struggling only in the points department. He was his usual aggressive self, even as he continues to adjust to his new spot on the right wing. He’s got five points in five games – but it’s just not enough to spark a flagging and apparently mentally drained Caps team.
After the game, Ovie was clearly upset. Reporters asked how angry he was. “Angry enough,” was his simple response.
It’s a sentiment many long-time Caps fans identify with these days.
Next game is tomorrow as the Caps host the equally-struggling Florida Panthers. Puck drops at 7 pm.
For many area hockey fans, the October 13 showdown between the Penguins and Capitals over in Pennsylvania is the start of this season’s perennial rivalry. But this year, it’s something a whole lot more.
Both the Caps and Pens announced a joint effort to raise money for the families of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL team that perished in a plane crash on September 7 in Russia. Caps and Pens players will wear jerseys with the commemorative Lokomotiv patch for the game, then autograph the game-worn and -issued jerseys for auction on nhl.com. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Lokomotiv players’ children and families.
Russian players Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin will participate in a ceremonial face-off before the game. Wives and girlfriends of both teams’ players will also be selling remembrance bracelets at CONSOL Energy that evening.
The Caps topped off their latest 5 game road trip with a hard-fought 1-0 victory in Pittsburgh. The game capped off a wild cross-country journey that saw the Caps bring in 6 points out of a possible 10. And for many, it also brought about a rebirth of sorts of Alex Ovechkin. He got the lone tally with a 45 foot blast during a second period power play that proved to be all the Caps needed to hold off a struggling and injured Penguins team. The goal was Ovechkin’s third in the last four games; he’s got 6 points total over the same stretch, and has 9 goals (17 points) over his last 15. Slump? Over.
“That is what he does, and this is what he wasn’t doing in the first 45-50 games,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “He wasn’t getting his shot off. I didn’t even see it (the goal) in the replay at all. He has been playing like that for the last two weeks and being a real leader.”
The Caps’ win also marked an odd trivia point for the team that won’t likely be repeated by anyone in the NHL any time soon. In the Caps’ last three visits to Pittsburgh, they’ve beat the Pens in three different venues: the Civic (Mellon) Arena with a 6-3 win on April 6; the 3-1 Winter Class victory at Heinz Field on January 1; and last night’s shutout in the new Consol Energy Center. The game was also Michal Neuvirth’s second shutout in 15 days, both against the Penguins. Continue reading →
It wasn’t everything the Caps wanted for Christmas, but it came pretty close.
The Washington Capitals lost in the shootout last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Drama filled? This game had it in spades. You’d think a game like that would be a great centerpiece for a sports reality show or something… Maybe HBO Sports could get on that?
Despite the 3-2 loss, the Caps have a lot to be pleased about. Going into tonight, the Caps were on a two game win streak after a brutal eight game tailspin. The wins came against Ottawa and New Jersey, not exactly tough challenges for the Caps to overcome. Last night’s game against the rival Penguins was a true test of grit, and the Caps passed with flying colors. No fan should be hanging their head this Christmas.
“We’re back. We’re back to the style of hockey we can play,” said defenseman Karl Alzner. “That was one of the questions that [was] going around. Hopefully, we silenced a few of them. We had a low scoring game and we played solid for 60-minutes. It was a grade-A effort from our team. That’s what we like to see.”
While it’s been confirmed since May, the reality of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic finally began to set in today. The league’s press conference today didn’t reveal much information beyond the logos and some remarks by various officials (mostly from Pittsburgh), but it did serve as a nice bit of hockey news in the heated wastland of summer.
The Caps had a few officials in attendance, including Team President Dick Patrick and Caps players Dave Steckel and Mike Knuble. Most of the press questions revolved around the recent history between the Penguins and Capitals and the hyper focus on the Crosby/Ovechkin matchup. “It takes a team effort to win the game,” said Steckel during one brief interview. “There are outstanding performances by them [Crosby and Ovechkin], but ultimately it comes down to all the guys on the team to succeed.” Continue reading →
According to one of my sources, the NHL will be announcing two outdoor games for the 2010-2011 NHL season. And yes, it looks like the Capitals will be part of the festivities. Rumored to be a participant since last summer, the Washington Capitals will be facing the Pittsburgh Penguins this coming New Year’s Day at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. (The other game is an all-Canadian affair between the Canadiens and Flames in Calgary, sometime in February.)
Honey, I know what I want for Christmas this year!
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.
Yesterday’s big game wasn’t played in Miami, aired on CBS, filled with cheesy, stupid commercials. It was right here in DC, in the heart of snowmageddon. It was the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Washington Capitals. And yesterday, that game lived up to every fan’s dream, regardless which side of center ice they were on.
Seriously. Four times a year these two rivals meet – and I wouldn’t be presumptuous at all to claim that both the Pens and the Caps see it as an archrivalry. It’s probably one of the most intense regular-season contest series in all of hockey, and yesterday was no exception. (To drive home the point – I climbed up on my roof to clear it of snow just so my DirecTV dish could receive the game. No AM radio for me!) Continue reading →
Just like every other hockey fan in the area, I’ve been wondering with baited breath whether today’s noontime matchup between the Washington Capitals and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins was actually going to happen.
Now before you get up and rush out the door, some things to consider. First, Metro’s running underground-only, so if you’re beyond the downtown core, you have to drive in because Metrobus is out as well. BUT! Pretty much every city and county official inside and outside the Beltway are begging us to stay home if we can. Crews are working hard to clear streets and trying to restore power to affected areas; you’ll only get in the way (especially if you think you can drive in the snow; chances are, you really, really can’t).
Caps owner Ted Leonsis feels for you – he’s snowed in, too. And, according to his latest blog post, he can’t offer refunds or ticket exchanges for the game today if you can’t make it.
“I have the exact same issues as you do in getting to the game. It is important to realize that weather plays a role in many cities for many games and that as long as the teams, the officials and the building support staffs are in place and the networks can broadcast – it is game on.”
So, do as I am doing today – settle into your living room and watch the game on NBC. Ovechkin and crew may not hear you at the Verizon Center, but they know you’re behind them all the way. Let the epic struggle begin!
Earlier this week we sent good joo-joo-bees to the Caps for their game six match against Pittsburgh, and while I’m not going to take credit for the win, I am going to continue sending DC good karma by offering up some Penguin-relative meal options for tonight’s game.
When the NHL playoffs were finally set, one of the first things many fans here and in Pennsylvania did was figure out when and if the Capitals would actually face the Pittsburgh Penguins during hockey’s “second season.” It was a bit convoluted to work around, since both teams were highly seeded, and it looked – for about a week – that this year wouldn’t see the match-up we all secretly wanted (and dreaded). But then the Caps figured out they were actually in the playoffs and executed a very stressful and tense comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to stuff the Rangers.
And when Carolina shocked New Jersey with two quick goals in the last two minutes of their own Game 7, it was as if the hockey planets aligned. The match-up the NHL slobbered for had arrived.
Okay, in case you’re unaware, there’s a war scheduled for tonight at 7:30 pm. It’s set to rumble off up in Pittsburgh’s venerable Mellon Arena (hereafter called by its proper name, the Igloo) and features an interstate rivalry that dates back to at least the early nineties, depending on who you talk to.
Yes, I’m talking about tonight’s NHL hockey match-up, the Washington Capitals vs the Pittsburgh Penguins.
I bring it up because honestly, it’s a must-watch event in our household. More than American Idol and Top Chef – though the game should be over before Top Chef comes on – and usually warrants the phone being off the hook and ignoring any knocking at the door. (Though I dislike being forced to watch Comcast’s coverage due to Center Ice blackout restrictions – I cannot stand Craig Laughlin’s commentary. At all.) Continue reading →