Category Archives: Blogs

Washington Capitals post-game stories and blogs

The Suns Win A Close Affair; Share First Place

Jacksonville back on track with a 4-3 victory at Hank Aaron Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

A day after the Suns had their five-game winning streak come to an end, a fast start on Sunday afternoon propelled Jacksonville to a 4-3 win in Mobile.  The Suns and BayBears are once again tied for first place in the South Division of the Southern League with identical 10-8 records.
Paul Gran tripled off of starting pitcher Derek Eitel to start the game.   It was the second triple of the season for the Suns.  After Ryan Patterson walked, Curt Smith drove in the first run of the game when BayBears third baseman Matt Davidson committed an error allowing Gran to score for a 1-0 Suns lead, with Patterson advancing to third on the miscue.  Kyle Jensen followed with a sacrifice fly to right for his eighth RBI of the season, and Jacksonville led 2-0.  Mobile has been outscored in the first inning this season 14-3. 
The BayBears have committed five errors in the series and 23 total in the season’s first 18 games.  During the 2012 season, Mobile had the fewest errors in the league with only 98.
Mobile cut the lead in half in the second inning against Suns starter Zach Neal when they loaded the bases with no outs.  BayBears catcher Rossmel Perez grounded into a double play with Brent Clevlen scoring from third to make it 2-1.  It could have been worse, but Neal was able to limit the damage and avoid the big inning. 
Jacksonville scored in the third inning, when Curt Smith made it to first safely to avoid hitting into a double play.  Jensen then drove in his second run of the game with a double to left field to increase the Suns lead to 3-1.
Mobile cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Marc Krauss walked to start the inning, and scored when Archie Gilbert doubled into left-center to drive in his first run of the season.  Krauss reached base in all four of his trips to the plate during the afternoon, finishing with a single and three walks.
The Suns scored the eventual game-winning run in the sixth when Jake Jefferies and Chris Gutierrez singled, and Donnie Webb reached base on an error.  With the bases loaded and no outs, pitcher Zach Neal grounded into a double play, with Jefferies scoring to make the score 4-2 Jacksonville.
Reliever Josh Schmidt took over for Neal and pitched the seventh.  The BayBears scored their final run of the game in the inning when Gilbert singled, and then stole both second and third.  He now has six stolen bases this season after swiping 26 last year.  Gilbert scored from third on a ground out by Raoul Torrez and Mobile trailed 4-3, but that’s as close as they would get. 
Evan Reed pitched the last two innings to earn his fifth save of the season.  He allowed one hit and struck out two.  Mobile did get the tying run aboard in the bottom of the ninth, when Archie Gilbert singled for his third hit of the game.  Knowing that Gilbert already had two stolen bases and that he wanted to get in scoring position, Reed tossed numerous times over to first in an attempt to keep the speedster close.  Reed finally caught Gilbert leaning the wrong way, and picked him off to end the game and give the Suns the 4-3 win.  It was the third base runner that Suns hurlers have picked off on the road trip.  Omar Poveda and Wade Korpi each had a pick off against Pensacola, with Korpi’s coming in the bottom of the twelfth in a game the Suns won in the very next inning.
Zach Neal improved his record to 2-1, pitching six innings and allowing six hits and two runs.  He’s allowed only three runs in his first three starts of the season.  Schmidt pitched the seventh, allowing a hit and a run.  Since letting a ninth inning lead slip away in a loss to Huntsville, Reed has now converted his last four save opportunities.
Paul Gran finished 1-for-3, scored a run, and stole a base.  Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.  Curt Smith drove in his sixth run of the season.  The Suns are now 8-1 when they score the first run of the game, the BayBears are 0-5 when they give up the game’s first run.
The Suns have won six of the first eight games on the season’s first road trip, and five of those wins have been by a single run.  Game four of the series in Mobile is Monday night at 7:05PM with Graham Taylor scheduled to make his fourth start of the season.  The BayBears counter with Chase Anderson, who will be making just his second start at the double-A level.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs, Southern League News

BayBears Stop Suns 8-1

BayBears ace Trevor Bauer improved his record to 4-0 with 8-1 win over the Suns on Saturday night. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night with an 8-1 loss to Mobile at Hank Aaron Stadium.  The BayBears became the first team in the South Division to reach 10 wins this season, and once again are alone in first place with a record of 10-7.  

BayBears starter Trevor Bauer entered the game with a league-best 3-0 record and a 0.57 earned run average.  Suns starter Bryan Evans came into the game looking for his first win of the year.  Bauer, the third overall draft pick in 2011, was sharp throughout the game.  And with his fastball reaching 97 miles per hour, he allowed only four hits in his seven innings of work.  Evans matched Bauer pitch-for-pitch throughout the night, including getting the BayBears to hit into three double plays.  Evans held Mobile  hitless through the first five innings. 

In was in the sixth inning that the BayBears finally broke though against Evans.  Leadoff hitter Trevor Bauer drew a walk on four pitches.  It was the fourth time in the game that Evans walked the leadoff batter in an inning, and this time he couldn’t pitch his way out.  After Bauer advanced to second on a wild pitch, he then scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Wladimir Sutil to make it 1-0.  Mobile scored four runs in the inning, with the big hit coming of the bat of the Southern League’s top hitter Matt Davidson, who blasted a two-run homer to left-center field.  By the end of the inning Mobile had collected four hits and scored four runs. 

Suns reliever Chris Squires took over for Evans in the sixth, and in his one-and-a-third innings of work allowed two runs on four hits.  The BayBears tacked on two more runs in the seventh, when the first four batters in the inning reached base. Catcher Rossmel Perez led off the inning with his second double of the season.  Pinch hitter Kyle Greene walked, and Raoul Torrez singled to load the bases.  Wladimir Sutil then drove in his second run in as many innings to increase the lead to 5-0.  Brent Clevlen added a run by lifting a sacrifice fly to center, and the Suns trailed 6-0. 

It was more of the same in the home half of the eighth for Mobile hitters, when Alfredo Marte singled off of Suns lefty Wade Korpi to lead off the inning.  That brought Marc Krauss to the plate, and after hitting a long foul ball to right he straightened a pitch out and hit a two-run home run over the right field fence for an 8-0 BayBears lead.  The runs were the first that Korpi has allowed in his last three appearances. 

Trevor Bauer improved to 4-0 with the win.  He pitched seven innings and scattered four hits while striking out eight and walking only two.  The only Suns batter to reach second base was Ryan Patterson, who doubled in the seventh.  In the game, Jacksonville had just four runners in scoring position.  Bryan Evans pitched five-and-a-third innings and lost his first game of the season (0-1).  The BayBears nine hits and their eight runs all came from the sixth inning on.  The Suns were limited to just four hits in the game, and scored their only run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Patterson.  It was the first run that Jacksonville has scored in the ninth inning this season. 

Game three of the series is 2:05PM on Sunday afternoon with Zach Neal scheduled to make the start for the Suns.  He’s 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in his two starts this season.  Neal has allowed only one run in his 13 innings pitched.  Charles Brewer takes the hill for the BayBears looking for his first win of the year.  Brewer has already allowed two home runs in his first three starts this year, after giving up just two home runs all of last season.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs, Southern League News

Brooks Laich Lifts Caps Past Bruins In OT

Nicklas Backstrom scored at 7:36 of the first period to put the Capitals up 1-0. His shot found a way through Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and barely made it over the goal line before Dennis Wideman brushed the puck back out. After a nearly six minute video review the goal was allowed to stand. It was Backstrom’s 31st goal of the season, with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble picking up the assists. The Capitals have scored first in seven of the last 10 games.

With time winding down in the opening period, the Capitals lost a face off in their own zone and Boston scored the equalizer when Wideman’s shot from the blue line eluded Jose Theodore with just two seconds remaining.

Boston took a 2-1 lead at 7:55 of the second period when Patrice Bergeron slipped past the Capitals defense and faked down Theodore before scoring his 19th goal of the season.

In the second period, it was the Capitals finding the back of the net with just :29 seconds left. Alex Ovechkin’s pass toward the crease was tipped by Mike Knuble with Zdeno Chara draped all over him. Knuble’s 27th goal of the season evened the score at 2-2.

After a scoreless third period the Capitals headed into overtime for the 10th time in the last 19 games.

Just :24 seconds into extra time Tomas Fleischmann drew a high sticking call against Dennis Wideman and the Capitals were in business, and needed just :20 seconds to score on the power play. Brooks Laich scored from the top of the crease to give the Capitals a hard earned 3-2 win against a Bruins squad trying to hang onto a playoff spot.

Mike Knuble is the seventh Capitals player to reach 50 points this season. Alex Ovechkin had a pair of assists and now has 104 points, just two behind Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin for the league lead in scoring. Ovechkin has 46 goals, trailing Sidney Crosby by one heading into their head-to-head matchup on Tuesday at the Igloo.

Nicklas Backstrom dished out a pair of helpers to increase his point total to 95 for the season. With three games left, Backstrom has a chance to join Ovechkin with 100 points this year. The Capitals have never had two players record 100 points in the same season.

With his second overtime winner this year, Brooks Laich is the eighth Caps player to record four or more game-winners this season. Ovechkin leads the team with six, Alexander Semin and Knulble each have five, Backstrom Fleischmann, Matt Bradley and Mike Green each had four.

The Capitals have scored three or more goals in 34 of their last 38 games. The Bruins are the lowest scoring team in the league and have scored just seven goals in their last five games.

Each team had 30 shots on goal. Jose Theodore stopped 28 shots to improve to 29-7-7 this season. He improved to 19-0-3 in his last 22 decisions and hasn’t lost in regulation since Jan. 12. Tuukka Rask also made 28 saves in his first career game against the Capitals.

The Capitals finished the game 1-for-2 on the power play, and with three games remaining in the regular season can finish first in the NHL on the power play for the first time in frachise history. The Bruins were 0-for-3 with the extra man.

The Capitals travel to Pittsburgh for one last regular season game at Mellon Arena on Tuesday. Washington has won all three games against the Penguins this season.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Capitals Complete Comeback In Windy City Matchup

Nicklas Backstrom’s scored his 28th goal of the season with 1:50 remaining in overtime to lead the Capitals to a 4-3 overtime win in Chicago. 

The Capitals high-scoring offense lost Alex Ovechkin in the first period when he was given a game misconduct for knocking Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards.  It’s the third game misconduct given to Ovechkin this season.  Campbell didn’t return.

Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the first period and John Madden found the net early in the second period to give the Blackhawks a commanding 3-0 lead.

It was all Washington after that.  In the third the Capitals scored three times in a 2:16 span early in the period.  On the power play, Brooks Laich scored his 22nd goal of the season to start the comeback.  Nicklas Backstrom scored his 27th goal of the year and Eric Fehr beat Antti Niemi with a slap shot for his 18th lamp-lighter of the season to tie to the game.  Washington outshot Chicago 11-1 in the third period.

With his 55th assist of the season, Nicklas Backstrom put himself into elite company becoming one of just three players all-time with at least 55 helpers in each of their first three seasons in the NHL. He joins Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny. 

The Capitals pass 100 standings points in just 69 games, the earliest that Washington has reached the century mark. The previous fastest was 100 points in 74 games, set in 1985-’86. It’s the sixth time in team history that the Caps have had at least 100 points in a season.

Chicago entered the game with a home record of 26-7-2, tied with the Capitals for the most home-ice wins in the league. The win was the Capitals 20th on the road this season, one fewer than San Jose and Los Angeles.

The Capitals handed the Blackhawks their first overtime loss of the season. The Caps have won five times this season in overtime and have gotten game-winners from five different players. 

Washington is now 9-4-3 against the Western Conference with four of those wins coming against the Central division. Among teams from the East, only the Buffalo Sabres have more wins against the West than the Caps.

The Capitals beat the Blackhawks for the second straight season, having won 4-2 on opening night at Verizon Center to begin the 2008-’09 campaign. The Capitals last trip to United Center ended with a 5-0 loss.

Only Sidney Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier have served as captain at a younger age than Toews, who was given the “C” in Chicago at just 19.

The Capitals finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play, including a full two minutes with a two-man advantage in the third period. Laich’s power play tally was his ninth of the season with the extra man. THe Blackhawks went 1-for-3 with the advantage with all three of their chances coming in the first 20 minutes.

Jose Theodore stopped 20 shots to improved his record to 24-7-6. Theodore surrendered two goals on Chicago’s first 10 shots on Sunday, but stopped the last 13 he saw. He’s 14-0-2 in his last 16 decisions, and hasn’t lost in regulation in over two months(Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay, and in that game he replaced Michal Neuvirth). Theodore is 13-5-3 on the road this season, and unbeaten in regulation in his last nine games away from Verizon Center.

Antti Niemi made 26 saves and was tagged with just his seventh loss of the season. He stopped the first 18 shots he saw before getting rattled in the third period when the Capitals scored three times in a span of six shots.

It’s a flight to the Sunshine State for the Capitals, where they wrap up the season series against the Panthers on Tuesday night. The Capitals have won all five meetings with the Cats, outscoring Florida 26-12.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Jose Theodore Shines In Buffalo

The Capitals snapped a three game losing streak with a 3-1 win in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

Ryan Miller and Jose Theodore were the story in the first period with both goalies keeping the nets empty. Each team had 11 shots on goal in the opening period.

The Capitals jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 15:23 of the second period when Jason Chimera deflected a shot past Miller for his 13th goal of the season. The Caps scored the first goal for the first time in their last eight games. The lead lasted for just a minute before Jochen Hecht tied the game with his 14th goal of the season. The Caps outshot the Sabres 16-4 in the second period.

Mike Green scored the eventual game-winner midway through the third, beating Miller with a one-timer from between the circles to give Washington a 2-1 lead. Green leads all NHL defensemen with 15 goals and 61 points. Boyd Gordon added an empty net goal with under a minute to play to take away any chance of a Buffalo comeback. He scored the goal from behind his own net, bouncing it off the side boards and all the way down into the Sabres net.

The Capitals outshot the Sabres 40-24 for the night. Every Capitals skater had at least one shot on goal except David Steckel and Jeff Schultz.

Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Schultz each picked up two assists.

Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots. Jose Theodore turded away 23 of 24 for his 21st win of the season.

Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period and didn’t have another chance with the extra man the rest of the night.

The Capitals open up a five-game home stand Thursday night against Tampa Bay.  This season the Caps have gone 13-2 against division opponents.

Originally posted on


Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Lucky 13; The Capitals Extend Winning Streak

WIth a 5-2 win over Atlanta on Friday, the Capitals pushed their franchise record winning streak to 13 games.

For the third straight game the Capitals allowed the first goal of the night. Tobias Enstrom put the Thrashers in front 1-0 by knocking in a rebound 2:46 into the game. It was his fifth goal of the season and just his second since November. A night after reaching 500 points, Alex Ovechkin tied the score 1-1 with his 39th goal of the season. With the Capitals on the power play, Ovechkin had just broken his stick, went to the bench for another, rejoined the play and blasted a slap shot past Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Ovechkin has scored the most goals of any player against the Thrashers, 26 goals in 34 career games.

The Caps out shot the Thrashers 11-8 in the first period even though they were shorthanded four times.

In the second period, the Thrashers turned up the heat on Caps starting goalie Michal Neuvirth. He faced 22 shots in the period and stopped them all. Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal of the period as the Capitals top line continued to stay on track. Backstrom’s goal gives him 25 for the season. He has 10 goals and 15 assists in his last 16 games.

The Capitals continued to dominate in the third period. Alexander Semin scored his 26th of season to extend the lead to 3-2. Semin finished with a goal and an assist one night after have his 10-game point streak snapped. Jason Chimera made it 4-1 with his 12th goal of the year just over a minutes later. It was Chimera’s first goal at Verizon Center as a Cap.

Rich Peverley scored shorthanded for Atlanta when Semin slid into Neuvirth and knocked the puck into the net. Peverley’s goal gave the Thrashers a glimmer of hope with under seven minutes to play.

Atlanta pulled the goalie in favor of the extra attacker, but lost a faceoff inside the Capitals zone, and Mike Green shot the puck from near his own goal line and into the net. The Capitals have outscored opponents 28-4 in the final frame over the 13 game streak.

During the 13-game winning streak the Capitals have outscored their opponents 62-29. The longest winning streak in NHL history is 17 games by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93. The Caps are one of just six teams ever to have a winning streak of 13 games or more.

The Capitals improved their home record to 22-3-3. With 10 straight wins at Verizon, the Caps have tied the franchise record for most consecutive home wins.

The Capitals are 26-0-2 when leading after two periods this season. Washington is 14-6-2 when allowing the first goal of the game.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 43 of 45 shots to improve to 9-4 this season. He has beaten the Thrashers twice this year, stopping 82 of the 85 shots he has faced. Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves on the night.

Washington finished 1-for-5 on the power play. During the streak, the Caps have scored 16 times with the exta man. Less than 24 hours after allowing four power play goals, the Caps killed off all three Thrashers chances.

The Capitals are scheduled to play the Penguins on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center. Jose Theodore needs one win to tie the Capitals record for most consecutive wins by a goalie. Pat Riggin won 10 straight in 1983-’84.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Capitals Win 12th Straight

It wasn’t easy, but the Capitals winning streak is now 12 games, after a 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

The Rangers scored the first goal 8:58 into the first period, when Ryan Callahan deflected a shot past Jose Theodore on the power play. It would be the first of four power play goals for New York on the night. Callahan’s goal was his forth in the last 10 games and 14th this season.

The line combination of Boyd Gordon, Daved Steckel, and Matt Bradley had a strong first period and kept the Rangers trapped in their own zone a number of times. And Gordon would score his third goal of the year to tie the game 1-1, with his linemates getting the assists.

The game was tied for only :10 seconds. On the very first rush after the faceoff at center, Vinny Prospal scored his first of two goals in the game to put New York ahead 2-1. The Rangers out shot the Caps 18-6 in the first 20 minutes.

The two teams combined for six goals in the second period. The Capitals scored twice in the first 7:16 on the second to take a 3-2 lead. Mike Knuble scored his 20th of the season, and Alex Ovechkin his 37th of the year. Knulbe is the fourth Caps player to reach the 20-goal mark joining Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom. No other team has more than three 20-goal scorers.

New York then took advantage on the power play again, scoring all three of their goals in the period with the extra man. Olli Jokinen’s first goal in his new uniform tied the score 3-3 at 12:19. Forty seconds later, the Blueshirts were in front when Prospal found the back of the net. The Rangers built a two-goal lead when Brandon Dubinsky scored to make it 5-3. Prospal has scored 10 of his 11 goals at home, Dubinsky has netted eight of his 12 goals this season at Madison Square.

With the second period winding down, The Great Eight sparked the Caps. Working one-on-one toward the Ranger net, he was able to put the puck over the left shoulder of Lundqvist for his second of the game and 37 of the season. With three points in the game Ovechkin reached the 500 point milestone. He become the faster player to 500 points since Eric Lindros.

With the momenton gained from the goal by Ovechkin with just nine seconds left in the second period, Washington appeared to carry that spark into the final frame. Before many at the Garden were back in their seats, Tom Poti’s blast from the blueline on the power play had tied the game 5-5. Poti has three goals and nine points in his last 14 games.

At 5:34 of the third period, Backstrom beat Ovechkin the a loose puck and fired it past Henrik Lundqvist. It was Backstrom’s 11th power play goal of the season and the game-winner. He has 23 points in his last 15 games. The Rangers were whistled for five minors in the third period and never were able to get anything going on offense. They had just six shots in the third. New York pulled Lundqvist in favor of the extra attacker, and were able to get a chance in the final seconds, but Theodore’s save with 11 secords remaining preserved the win.

The Capitals have saved some of their best hockey for the last period during the streak, outscoring opponents 25-5 in the final frame over the last 12 games. On the trip they scored five times combined against Boston and New York and didn’t surrender a single goal in the third period.

Washington improved to 18-9-3 away from home. Only the Los Angeles Kings have more road victories than the Caps.

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin each had five shots on goal. Olli Jokinen led New york with seven.

Mike Knuble had one goal and one assist. He’s scored 13 goals in his last 15 games. Tomas Fleischmann finished with two assists.

Jose Theodore increased his career high to nine straight wins. He stopped 33 of 38 allowing only one goal at even strength. Over the nine games Theodore has allowed only nine goals at even strength. Theodore improved to 19-7-4 this season and 11-5-1 on the road. His nine straight wins are tied for the second longest winning streak by a goalie in franchise history(Cristobal Huet won nine in a row at the end of the 2007-’08 season). Pat Riggin holds the franchise mark with 10 straight wins in 1983-’84.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed six goals on 32 shots. He won 24 games at Madison Square Garden last season, but this year has just 11 wins in the Big Apple. THe Capitals have won seven of their last nine regular season games in New York.

The Capitals finished 3-for-9 on the power play. New York entered the game with the forth-best penalty killing unit in the league. During the 12-game winning streak the Caps have scored 15 goals with the extra man. The Rangers had scored just three power play goals in their last 14 games. On Thursday they finished 4-for-6 on the power play.

Vinny Prospal was the game’s third star with two goals and an assist. Nicklas Backstrom had five points in the game(one goal and four assists)and was named the second star. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added a helper. With his 500th career point, he was the first star of the night.

The Capitals play their last two home games before the Olympic break over the weekend. One day after dealing Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils, the Thrashers are in town Friday. The Penguins invade Verizon Center Sunday at noon. The Capitals have won nine straight in the District, the second longest home winning streak in team history.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Lightning Down The Capitals To End 12-Game Losing Streak

The Lightning ended a 12 game losing streak against the Capitals with a 7-4 win on Tuesday. The victory was Tampa Bay’s first over the Capitals since 2007.

In the first period the Capitals had trouble clearing their own zone, and a give and go between Alex Tanguay and Vinny Lecavalier put the Lightning on the board first. Lecavalier’s goal was his 11th of the season. Tampa Bay increased the lead to 2-0 on a power play goal by Steven Stamkos, a backhander past Michal Neuvirth high to the short side. The Capitals cut the lead in half when Alexander Semin scored his 19th goal of the season under two minutes later. But for the Caps that would be the only bright spot if the opening period. The Lightning tacked on two more. Stamkos again with the extra man for his 25th of the season, and Stephane Veilleux made it 4-1 with his second of the year. After stopping 38 of 39 in he win at Atlanta, Neuvirth gave up four goals on 15 shots in the first to the Lightning. The Capitals were held to only 7 shots on goal in the first.

Jose Theodore took over in net to start the second period, and the Capitals started on the comeback trail with and early power play goal by Mike Green at 1:34. With the score 4-2 Tampa, Eric Fehr brought the Caps to within one with his 11th goal of the season at 7:44. Green, the league’s highest scoring defenseman, was able to tie the score with his second of the period, and 12th of the season. The game was tied 4-4 with the momentum shifting to the Capitals. The score stayed even for just over five minutes before Martin St. Louis took a slap shot that beat Theodore to the stick side to put the Bolts back in front 5-4. That goal was the 250th of St. Louis career, and would be the game winner. The Capitals outshot the Lightning

16-5 in the second period.

Tampa Bay scored the only two goals of the third period. Kurtis Foster at even strength and Jeff Halpern on the power play. The game also turned a bit ugly in the final period. Tampa’s Steve Downie and the Capitals Alex Ovechkin were both sent off for roughing at 11:51 after an Ovechkin check on the Lightning forward. When they came out of the penalty box, the came together again and both players dropped the gloves and took off their helmets. But before any punches were thrown, Matt Bradley skated in and took on Downie. That was the first of two fights in the third, the second involving David Steckel and the league’s penalty minute leader Zenon Konopka. For the game the two teams totaled 72 penalty minutes, with 60 of those coming in the final frame.

The Capitals surrendered four power play goals in a game for the first time this season. The Lightning finished 4-7 with the extra man. Washington was 2-4 on the power play with both goals scored by Green.

Both teams finished the night with 36 shots on goal. Jose Theodore stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced after taking over at the start of the second period. Antero Niittymaki turned away 22 of 24 for the win in relief of Mike Smith, who left the game early in the second period.

The road trip comes to a close Wednesday against the Panthers in Sunrise. The Caps are 3-0 against Florida this season.

The Capitals will play seven of their next nine games at home after this trip.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

The Kings Star On Home Ice Against The Capitals

In the shadow of the bright lights of Hollywood, the Capitals dropped their third straight game, falling 2-1 to the Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.

Los Angeles appears to a team on the rise from last seaso,n when they finished with the forth fewest wins in the league. In the first period the Capitals were whislted for three penalties, but the game was scoreless until the final minute. On their third chance with the extra man the Kings grabbed a 1-0 lead. Ryan Smyth put home a rebound for his 11th goal of the season with John Erskine in the box for interference. The Caps have been outscored 6-0 in the first 20 minutes of play in the last three games and haven’t been able to get things going early. Against the Kings, the Caps chances were few and far between in the first, testing goalie Jonathan Quick with just four shots while Los Angeles managed 11 against Michal Neuvirth. In the last three games the Caps have only managed 11 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes.

Trailing 1-0 early in the second, Washington evened the score at 1-1 when Mike Green blasted home his 10th of the year. He’s now tied for the league lead in goals by defenseman. The lone assist went to Tom Poti at 2:13 of the period. Green logged 30:33 on the day, the other five Capitals defensemen each had less than 18 minutes of ice time. The Caps picked up the pace in the middle period outshooting the Kings 13-3. Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the second period with migraines and didn’t return.

Special teams play was the story of the day from Staples Center. With the Capitals working with the extra man early in the third period it would be the Kings that found the back of the net. Three Caps were caught behind their own goal, and Michal Handzus faked down Michal Neuvirth to score shorthanded. The goal by Handzus was his ninth of the season, and the fifth shorthanded goal the Capitals have given up this year. The Caps have manged to win three of the five games in which they’ve given up a shortie.

For the second straight game the Caps came up empty on a two-man advantage. In San Jose they failed to score on a :50 second 5-on-3 against the Sharks, and they had another chance with the two man adavantage Saturday afternoon with the same result. Jack Johhson went off for a hook and Sean O’Donnell sent the puck over the glass for delay of game to give the Caps second ranked power play :53 seconds to work with. But the chance would pass by, and the Kings would hold on for the 2-1 victory. The Caps are now 5-4-1 against the West, but will travel out of the Eastern time zone just two more times between now and the end of the regular season.

The Capitals have lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season. It’s their longest winless streak since an

0-1-2 stretch October 30th to November 4th. The Capitals had a lead at some point in 37 of their first 38 games of the season, with the lone exception a 3-0 loss at Buffalo. Washington has not had the lead in any of the three games in the past week.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 17 shots but lost for the second time on the trip. He’s 1-3 on the road. Jonathan Quick turned away 26 of 27 Capitals chances, his best coming when he stacked up the pads to stop Alexander Semin. Quick will be the third goalie for the U.S. at the Olympics behind Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas. His 22 wins this season are one more than he had last season.

Both teams went 1 for 5 on the power play, but that shorthanded goal was the difference maker. The Caps entered the game second in the NHL on the power play behind Montreal.

The combination of Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin totaled nearly half of the Caps shots. Ovechkin had seven, Semin finished with six. The Kings have won seven of the last 11 meetings between the two teams.

The Caps begin a two game homestand on Tuesday night against a Montreal team that won six of seven games on their latest road trip. Ottawa’s in town on Thursday. The Senators have won three of their last four games.

Originally posted on

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs

Hurricanes Blow Past Caps

The Capitals wrappped up their three-game homestand on the wrong side of a 6-3 score against Carolina on Monday, a loss that snapped their three-game winning streak. The defeat also ended Washington’s stretch of five straight home wins where they had nearly tripled their opponents in goals 21-8.

The Hurricanes entered the game as the NHL’s worst team with only nine wins and 25 points, but would get off to a good start in the first period when the Capitals got into penalty trouble. Carolina’s Jussi Jokinen was able to draw two penalties. On the first, Nicklas Baskstrom was called for a double minor for high sticking, then Mike Green was wistled for hooking at the 5:48 mark. Tuomo Ruutu made the two-man advantage count, scoring his 11th goal of the season and giving the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. Carolina made it 2-0 at 10:14 of the first when Eric Staal found the net for his seventh goal of the year. Staal, a 40 goal scorer last season is having his struggles this year, but would finish the game with two goals and three assists. The Canes built the lead to 3-0 just over four minutes later, when Jokinen connected for his 11th of the year. The Caps gave up three goals in the first period for just the second time this season.

Mike Green put the Capitals on the scoreboard with an early power play goal 1:14 into the second period. For Green the goal was his ninth of the season, with the assists going to Tomas Fleischmann and Alex Ovechkin. Green has scored in three straight games, and has six goals in his last 11 games. But the momentum was short-lived. Brandon Sutter gave the Hurricanes a three-goal lead again at 3:32 of the second period with his 10th goal of the season.

Eric Fehr cut into the Hurricanes 4-1 advantage, taking a shot from the right wing boards that was blocked by Hurricanes defenseman Andrew Alberts, who then tried to swat the puck away only to have it go into his own net. For Fehr his ninth goal of the season made it a two-goal game entering the third period.

Alex Ovechkin’s 26th goal of the season early in the third on the power play would bring the Capitals within one, but they would get no closer on this night. Ovechkin’s goal tied him with Marian Gaborik for the league lead, he also had an assist to raise his point total to 49. Ovechkin has scored in four straight games. Last season Ovechkin led the league with 24 goals in the final frame, he now has four goals in the third in his last four games.

Jose Theodore suffered just his second regulation loss on home ice, allowing 5 goals on 25 shots. Staal also scored an empty net goal at 18:28 of the third. Theodore is 3-2-3 at Verizon this season. It’s the third time this season the Capitals have given up six goals in a game, and the first time at home. Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made 28 saves to win for the first time on the road this season. It’s his 13th career victory against Washington.

Carolina won for just the second time on the road this season. They handed Pittsburgh a 3-2 loss on December 7, a win that snapped a 13-game road winless streak. The loss is also the Capitals first against the Southeast division.

The Capitals finished the night two for five on the power play. The Hurricanes went one for four.

Earlier in the day the Capitals made a deal with the Blue Jackets, trading Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina to Columbus in exchange for Jason Chimera.

It’s back to the west coast for a pair of games in the Golden State. The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are up next for the Capitals, who will be ringing in the New Year away from home for the first time in recent memory. The Caps have played well against the Western Conference all season with a 5-2-1 record. One of those wins came against the Sharks 4-1 back in October at Verizon Center.

Originally posted on


Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs