Posts Tagged ‘washington capitals’

Capital Sinking



That’s as good a word as any for Capital fans today, after last night’s loss to the Flyers. They now trail the surging Philly team 3-1 in the series.

By far, it was Washington’s best game of this year’s playoffs. But it fell short by a Mike Knuble goal in the second overtime.

I really thought the Caps would take this one away from Philly last night; I watched in awe as Ovechkin delivered a thunderous hit on Knuble in the early stages of the first period and saw that fire in him that reminded me of the last two weeks of the Cap’s regular season. The team was tight, calm, and focused.

It just wasn’t enough.

A less-than-stellar first period start didn’t derail the team, unlike the last two games, with the Caps shutting down the Flyer’s power play after practically giving them three penalties in a row early on. The lead changed hands all night, with Eminger netting his first playoff goal and giving the Caps the lead briefly in the third.

The Caps played hard – they led the game in hits, 38-29 – but the Flyers were ready for them. The lackluster showing last Sunday here in Game Two has really come back to haunt them. Ovechkin and the Caps now face elimination on Saturday, and the stats are not favorable. Philly is 15-2 all-time when leading a best-of-seven series 3-1. It’s rare for a team to roar back from being two games back and unless the Caps can dig deep and find the energy they had in the race to the playoffs, I don’t think they’re much longer for Round One. Winning three games in a row against a physical team that is peaking at the right time is a daunting challenge indeed.

Still, it’s a possibility, and I won’t count the Caps out yet. It’s not over until the final horn sounds.

8 ball, courtesy of jiariles

Unleash the Beast?

Photo courtesy of island_explorer

So the Capitals are sliding behind the playoff 8-ball. Hammered last night in Philly by a final score of 6-3, where Brière has lit a fire somewhere and Biron’s thrown up a Berlin-esque wall, the hometown hockey heroes has looked more like the ice-capades on a road trip.


Where’s the fire that exploded from this team in the third period of Game One? Watching Sunday’s game was like watching the Caps back in October, when the team was terrible and looking to beat Columbus down the standings.

Last night was marginally better, but only just.

The Caps got behind early on Sunday and never recovered; Ovechkin was double-teamed and his support cast was nowhere to be found. That’s not how you win playoff hockey – it’s how you give the opposing goalie a shutout. Guess what happened?

I’ll give Washington credit, they did try to stage another late rally, closing the gap to 4-3 on Laich’s goal at 4:34 remaining. But Philly rallied quick, with Mike Richards zinging Huet on a penalty shot less than two minutes later. Nail? Meet hammer.

Biron could’ve taken naps in his goal – the Caps had a total of 16 shots on the evening. Compare that to the final games of the regular season, when Caps opponents were seeing flurries of 30 and 40 shots.

Where have the Caps disappeared to?

Now, not all is lost. The series is only 2-1 in the Flyers’ favor. But they face another rough game ahead in Philadelphia before coming back to the Verizon Center. Which could be the Caps’ swan song…or not. Honestly, it’s really up to the rest of the team.

You can’t hang all the pressure on Ovechkin – though ineffective since his game-winning goal in Game One, he’s hardly at fault. The Flyers defense has been tightly focused on shutting him down (even after losing Timonen), and they’ve done so with frightening ease. In times like this, it’s dependant upon the superstar’s supporting cast to step up and make a difference. We know they can – we saw ample evidence of it in the last month of the regular season. Semin, Kozlov, Federov, Backstrom – pretty much non-existent forces on the ice right now. I’ll give a pass to Mike Green – his sniper shots are still scary as heck, as we saw last night.

So don’t despair quite yet, Caps fans. If the Flyers dominate to another win on Thursday, however…

Maybe the Pope could swing by the Verizon Center on his out-and-about birthday tour and toss out a few blessings…

IMG_5190 copy, courtesy of island_explorer

So It Begins…

ovechkinOne down, three more wins to go.

In case you missed it, your Washington Capitals came from behind and stole Game 1 from the Philadelphia Flyers. They stole it like Ovechkin stole the puck in the waning minutes for his first playoff goal. Seriously – it’s a gorgeous move and great goal. You’ve got to see it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

It’s not going to be a cakewalk, though. The Flyers came out gunning, hopping up to a 4-2 lead before the Caps finally got their jitters behind them and surged to a tie. Mike Green netted two, and Ovie had 43 hits – 43! – on the night. Think he’s a tad excited?

Now that they’ve got the return-to-playoff jitters behind them, they’d better settle into a groove on Sunday for the rematch and not fall behind often. It’s not a good pattern to get into.

So hit the Verizon Center on Sunday and wear your red. I won’t be there, though – my preferred team has some more Senator-smacking to do, so I’ll be watching that demolition from the comfort of my living room.

Go Caps! (because I hate the Flyers!)

Forget Spring, There’s Still Ice!

Photo courtesy of YoLoPey

I love playoff hockey.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s not quite yet time for the Cup race to begin – but this last week of the regular season might as well be the start of the playoffs.

It’s been a while since the NHL’s had such a tight race down to the wire, and the local boys have just as much at stake right now as any of the other five teams also fighting for their playoff lives – and the extra money those games bring into team coffers.

Carolina, Ottawa, New York (Rangers), Boston and Philadelphia can all see their playoff races end in success or failure alongside the Washington Capitals in these final days. And it may well come down to the final minutes of the final games this weekend before the playoff picture is settled once and for all.

The Capitals have been spectacular of late. Arguably, since the trade deadline. Since George McPhee pulled some magic out of the hat and snagged Huet, Federov, and Cooke for a fantastic end-season run, including a brilliant 5-1 series of games away from the Verizon Center, the Caps have looked 180 degrees different than the start of the season.

Scoreboard watching is about as interesting at Caps games as it is watching Huet stone opponents with spectacular saves.

I’ve got to hand it to Ovechkin – not only has the “Big O” pretty much nabbed the goal scoring and points titles, he’s led a remarkably mediocore team from the start of the year to a surging and dynamic playoff hopeful.

Now it is true I’m not a huge Caps fan, simply because of my (still strong) allegiance to the team of my youth. But I love great hockey above all else, and with a smorgasboard of games this week – many with playoff hopes on the line – I will be watching with interest the Caps final run of the season. Yes, they have to win all three home games against Carolina, Tampa and Florida PLUS see one of the five still in contention somehow implode in order to make it to Lord Stanley’s dance…. But I have to say, I’m fairly optimistic the Caps will see a return to the playoffs this year.

I’ll be attending Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay and looking forward to the thrill of playoff hockey. Even if just a taste of it.

It’s been too long, Washington. Let’s hope this year is the one that welcomes you back into the frozen elite.

OS Test 23, courtesy of YoLoPey

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