Sports Fix, The Features

We are louder: Caps usher Rangers out of the playoffs in Game 5

Photo courtesy of
‘Washington Capitals home opener 2009 – 8’
courtesy of ‘Garyisajoke’

Karl Alzner got a tweet this morning from a Rangers fan forecasting a repeat of history and certain Caps demise.

So, Josh Bennett (@JoshBenn80), how are you feeling right about now?

For the first time in the Bruce Boudreau era, the Caps have close out a playoff series in less than seven games. Did anyone think that was possible?

It happened

Washington took care of business against the Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs quarterfinals 3-1 to take the series four games to one. The Caps now await the winners of the Buffalo/Philadelphia, Boston/Montreal series’ or the Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh series to see who they play next.

If Buffalo (the No. 7 seed) upsets the Flyers, then the Caps get the Sabres in the semifinals. If Philly comes back and wins, the Caps could play any team from the No. 6 Canadiens (currently tied at two games apiece heading into Game 5 in Boston Saturday night), No.5 Lightning or No. 4 Pittsburgh. Really, whatever is the lowest seed heading into the next round and the Sabres, with a three games to two advantage, look like they could be it.

“There is going to be a little bit of relief. I mean, we are completely different team this year and the whole circumstance is different,” Alzner said. “It is nice to get a round out of the way because I got a tweet, I think this morning, saying something about ‘are you guys ready to choke again and lose.’ I was like, ‘hopefully we will show you’ and now that that is done I am pretty happy about that.”

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capitals hockey, Sports Fix

Caps Top Rangers in Game 2

Photo courtesy of
Marcus Johannson digs in for a faceoff against Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers.
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Is playoff hockey awesome, or what?

The Capitals went toe-to-toe with the New York Rangers in an intense physical game, scored two quick goals in the second period, then locked down the defense to hang on for the 2-0 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series. Michal Neuvirth made 22 saves to earn his first NHL post-season shutout in front of a lively and appreciative crowd last night at the Verizon Center.

The Rangers showed more fire and hustle in the first period, outshooting the Caps 13-7, outhitting by a margin of 18-11, and generally dominating puck possession. The bodies were flying, and more then one player took the short trip down the corridor to the locker room for repair, only to be back on the bench for the next shift. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Features

Good Sasha: Caps prove they can take the Rangers in Game 1

Photo courtesy of
‘Alex and Alex’
courtesy of ‘jakarachuonyo’

Quit holding your breath.

That is what playoff hockey does to NHL fans. Without realizing it, they are sitting on the edge of their seats, swearing at the refs, yelling at the ice, screaming at their TVs.

Then, overtime comes and it is so intense that it seems like they have completely lost their senses.

The Caps did not lose their senses on Wednesday night, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Rangers. They could have, it would have been very easy to say ‘Henrik Lundqvist is a freaking monster, we are completely snake bitten, it is all happening over again.’

Washington held strong and were rewarded, taking the game 2-1 for a one game to none series lead as Alexander Semin scored for the first time in 15 playoff contests, racing a rocket from the slot to the back of the net in overtime.

“I think we were a little flappable,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We weren’t getting anywhere and it wasn’t until that last 10 minutes where we said on the bench ‘OK, let’s start sending the defensemen, taking more chances and going after it.’”

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Sports Fix, The Features

Caps vs. Rangers: What will it take to escape the first round?

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

If there are two days during the regular season when Caps were at their lowest, they were probably December 12th and February 25th. Those two days the Capitals, having dealt with recent struggles, were not just shut out by the New York Rangers …

They were buried.

New York beat Washington 7-0 in December and 6-0 in February while taking the season series from the Caps 3-1-0 (or 1-2-1 from the Washington perspective). The Rangers outscored Washington 17-6 and basically pestered the eventual top team in the Eastern Conference through four games.

Perhaps this is not the playoff matchup the Caps were hoping for. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Rangers demoralize the Caps … again

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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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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Fall to Rangers in Shootout

Photo courtesy of
‘Matt Hendricks’
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’
A late fluky goal led to a shootout loss for the Caps, marring an otherwise strong defensive performance and a stellar evening for Matt Hendricks last night at Verizon Center. The Caps took a precarious one-goal lead into the third period against the New York Rangers only to let victory slip away. The Rangers managed to tie the game late in the period, then outlasted the Caps in a high-scoring shootout to win 2-1.

The last time these two teams faced off in Madison Square Garden on December 12, the Rangers handed the Caps the worst pounding of painful 8-game losing streak. This time, the Caps showed up ready to play … except they forgot to shoot the puck. The registered only one shot on goal in the first 12 minutes of play, and only 11 shots through the first two periods. “We’ve been passing up shots to create plays,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “You score your goals by shooting the puck and going to the net.” Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Rangers Pummel Caps 7-0

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘a digital cure’

There’s an old saying that goes “it’s darkest before the dawn” or somesuch. Maybe the Caps need to engrave that mantra in the locker room, because this last stretch of games sure look as bleak as the Washington skies this morning; if the team lives up to its preseason hype in April, then this could be where things seemed bleakest. Continue reading

Entertainment, Sports Fix, The Features

Eastern Quarterfinals: Caps vs Rangers

Photo courtesy of
‘Ovechkin Waits For Puck’ courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

After one of their most successful regular seasons ever, the Washington Capitals are now ready to begin what many call the “real” hockey season: the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tonight kicks off Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, with the second seed Caps holding home ice advantage in facing the seventh seed New York Rangers. So how does it all break down, and what do we think will happen?

The Rangers are coming in with a simplified game plan: attack, attack, attack – and hope that goalie Henrik Lundqvist can stop all the pucks flung his way. It’s not the most sure-fire strategy, but it’s kept the Rangers hanging on the last half of the season and slipping them into the playoffs with a decent 11-6-1 record after March 4. Continue reading