Archive for Washington Capitals

Why the Caps won’t win a Cup

Posted in Around the NHL with tags , , , on December 1, 2010 by matthewfobrien

I know it’s still a little early in the year to be talking about this but the Washington Capitals have become the new San Jose Sharks in the sense that they dominate the regular season but fail to make any noise come playoff time. I will give you five reasons why I think Lord Stanley’s Cup won’t be residing in Washington D.C. any time in the near future. Continue reading

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Game of the Night (11/11)

Posted in Around the NHL with tags , , , , on November 11, 2010 by thomaskrulikowski

The Game of the Night tonight will feature the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time this year. With the start to the season they have had, it should have come sooner.

Tampa Bay will hit the ice in Washington for the first of six meetings between the Southeast division rivals. Only 4 points separate the two for the division crown at this point, and a win for Tampa would give themselves the two points, and steal two from the Caps.

Tampa has had average goal tending from their tandem of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis. They each have four wins, but not so stellar numbers. Smith has a 3.43 goals against average. What has been Tampa’s calling card this season is their offense. Steven Stamkos has 13 goals, good enough to lead the league. St. Louis has also been impressive with 15 points.

Steven Stamkos looks to continue his path to the Rocket Richard Trophy

Washington likes to play offensive loaded hockey as well. Ovechkin is, well, Ovechkin. One small mistake at any given point and he could bury one. Tampa’s D needs to be all over him, and Alex Semin, if they want to keep this one close. Washington’s Mike Green has 11 points from the back end, or well the front end. What position does Mike Green actually play? It’s hard to tell sometimes.

For both teams, the power play is vital. Each team is operating at 20% or better (Washington- 20.3%, Tampa Bay-23.7%). This game may come down to whose power play can light the lamp the most.

Who starts in net for both teams is still up in the air. Washington’s Michal Neuvirth has been fantastic this season, but so has Braden Holtby who played beyond his years in his first two NHL starts.  I could see either playing in this game, but I would put in Neuvirth. Having two hot goalies makes it a hard task.Michal Neuvirth has been a pleasant surprise for the Washington Capitals

For Tampa, the decision will be more about who is the least cold, not so much who is the most hot. I would give Ellis the nod on this one but this is just a gut feeling. I think he is due for a great showing.

Like I said earlier, this game could be decided on the power play and I think it will. That is why I am making it the key to tonight’s match-up. With that being said, I think Tampa Bay will fare better on the power play, with Stamkos getting two extra man points, for a 5-3 Lightning win.

The leading goal scorer for the league has my odds as being star of the game, showing Ovechkin that he is just as elite as the Russian.

Game of the Night 11/7

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2010 by matthewfobrien

The game of the night again features two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals will be squaring off in the first of four meetings this season today at the Verizon Center at 5:00 PM. Hopefully both teams come ready to play for this early start on a day where the clocks have been rolled back.

Will Ovechkin score against Sergei Bobrovsky and the Flyers tonight?

Washington (9-4-0)  is currently riding a three game winning streak into this game including one against the Boston Bruins on Friday. They are first in the Southeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the entire league. They are led by who else but Alexander Ovechkin who has 17 pts (8 g 9 a) in the teams first thirteen games. Alex Semin, Nick Backstrom, Brooks Laich, and Mike Green round out the top 5 in scoring for the Caps. The Caps offense is average 3.31 G/G and 2.46 GA/G. Tonight would have been the first matchup between 22-year old rivals Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov, who have battled against each other growing up as top goalie in Russia, but an injury to the groin of Varlamov will keep him out of the lineup again tonight. That means Michael Neuvrith should see his twelfth start of the season. Neuvirth has been good for the Caps this season posting an 8-3 record, a .914 and a 2.41.

Philadelphia (9-4-1) is riding a six game winning streak, despite not having Danny Briere for the last three. He served his last game of his suspension last night and will be back in the lineup tonight. That means head coach Peter Laviolette has some tough decisions to make prior to the start of this one. Eric Wellwood has played very well in his first few games in a Flyers uniform, assisting on fellow rookie Andres Nodl’s game winner last night. Wellwood also played an integral part in Mike Richards first period goal. James Van Riemsdyk was a healthy scratch last night as both Wellwood and Nodl played alongside captain Mike Richards on the first line. Perhaps the easiest decision that Laviolette has is who will start in goal. I would expect no one other than rookie sensation Sergei Bobrovsky who has backstopped the Flyers in every game on the current win streak and has the opportunity to tie Pelle Lindbergh for most consecutive wins by a Flyers rookie. If you don’t know, Lindberg was perhaps the last great goalie the Flyers had before being tragically killed in a drunk driving accident. The Flyers offense has been firing 0n all cylinders lately, scoring 3.07 goals/game while allowing just 2.21 against/game.

Special teams could be the key tonight, but both teams have similar numbers. The Flyers powerplay is clicking at 18.5% over the season but has been connecting for about 30% during their winning streak. The Flyers penalty kill is always among the tops in the league and it is no different this year as they have killed off 87.3% of opponents opportunities. The

Mike Richards has his Flyers 1st in the East, can they keep it up?

Caps powerplay is 18.4% and their penalty kill is at 86.2%. I would hope the refs let them play this game though and let the teams decide who is better. It should be a good back and forth game, like it usually is between these teams. The Caps went 3-0-1 last season against the Flyers. I would say that in a close, well-fought game, the Flyers barely eke out a 3-1 victory, with the defense being the deciding factor for Philadelphia and Sergei Bobrovsky being the first star of the game as he shuts down Ovechkin and the high powered Washington offense.

Game of the Night Recap 11/5

Posted in Around the NHL with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by matthewfobrien

The Capitals seemed to have done their homework a little better than the Bruins last night. After dropping the first two games of the season series to the Bruins, the Caps took the third game, the second at the Verizon Center, 5-3. The Capitals stifled the Bruins high scoring offense for the most part, allowing all three goals in the third period. The Bruins had only 9 shots through 2 periods and allowed 25 to get through to Tim Thomas, who let 3 past him all in the second.

Alex Semin had a shorthanded goal to help lift the Caps over the Bruins

Tyler Sloan got the scoring going just 59 seconds into the second after Tomas Fleischmann won a face off back to the point. Sloan let a one timer go that found it’s way through traffic and by Thomas. Mike Green scored his third of the season after he danced around sliding Gregory Campbell and let a wrist shot go that beat Thomas’s glove to give the Caps a 2-0 lead 7:35 into the second. Alexander Semin got the third goal for the Caps on a shorthanded 3-on-1. Semin dropped the puck back to Green who faked a pass to his right and slid it to Semin on his left whose shot beat Thomas to the post and gave the Caps what seemed to be an insurmountable lead with 2:10 left in the second. The Caps had dominated the game to this point and Tim Thomas was replaced by Tuukka Rask for the third period.

Rask looked good in the early goings of the third period, stopping the Caps efforts until Michael Ryder finally put a rebound past rookie phenom Michael Neuvirth with 16:53 remaining in the third. Shortly after, at the 4:02 mark, Nathan Horton ripped a slapshot past Neuvirth to cut the lead to one. Both of the Bruins first two goals were on the powerplay. Shawn Thornton tied the game up at the 9:51 mark when he took a feed from Brad Marchand and broke in 2-on-1 and beat Neuvirth with a backhander over the pads. Neuvirth was taken out of the game at this point in favor of another rookie, Braden Holtby. I’m not sure why Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau made this move, maybe to spark his team, maybe to even out the game as the Bruins had replaced their starting goalie as well. Whatever the case, the Caps responded about 4 minutes later when John Carlson ripped a slapshot past Rask on a questionable face-off drop by the linesman. The Bruins center was kicked out of the face-off (a rule I hate) and before he could set up on the wing, and really before the new Bruins center could set up for the face-off, the linesman dropped the puck, allowing Nicklas Backstrom to cleanly win it back. Carlson made no mistake in firing the puck to give the Caps the eventual game winner. Alex Ovechkin added an empty net in the last minute to seal the 5-3 victory. Holtby stopped all the shots he faced in the third.

Overall it was a great hockey game with the Washington Capitals prevailing, moving them into first place in the Eastern Conference heading into today’s action. The Bruins are right back at it again tonight as the St. Louis Blues are in town, another tough test for the Bruins. The Caps are back at it again on Sunday when they face off against the Flyers, another top team in the Eastern Conference. Remember to check back later when we highlight the game of the night from the 12 games that are being played tonight.

Game of the Night 11/5

Posted in Around the NHL with tags , , , on November 5, 2010 by matthewfobrien

The game of the night tonight will again feature two of the best teams in the league in the early goings. The Boston Bruins (7-2-0) led by Tim Thomas in net will take on Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals (8-4-0 ) for the third time this season.

The Bruins are 2-0 against the Caps so far, beating them in Washington once and Boston the other time. Tonight’s game will be played at the Verizon Center in the nation’s capital. Up front, the Bruins are led by Nathan Horton (5-5-10 ), Milan Lucic (5-4-9 ) and David Krejci (2-8-10 ). They are still without star centerman Marc Savard who is recovering from post concussion syndrome. Rookie Tyler Seguin has played well in his absence compiling 3 g-2 a-5 pts in his first campaign. Defensively, Zdeno Chara is showing that he is worth his contract extension, being everything the Bruins hoped he would.

The Capitals are led by who else but Alexander Ovechkin who has 7 g -8 a – 15 pts so far this season, continuing his dominance of this league since he entered it in 2005.  Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are off to good starts as well, with 7 g – 6 – a – 13 pts and 4 g – 6 a – 10 pts respectively. Goaltender, and rookie of the month for October, Michael Neuvirth should be between the pipes for the Capitals. Neuvirth has edged out fellow 22 year old Semyon Varlamov for the starting job this season posting a .920 sv% and a 2.31 GAA en route to a 8-3 record.

If this game is anything like the other two, look for a very fast paced, highly offensive game with both teams getting a lot of opportunities at the net. Ultimately it will come down to goaltending and who can capitalize on their offensive opportunities. Although the Capitals have one of the most dangerous offences in the league, the Bruins have already shown they can stop it, allowing just 2 goals in 2 games against the Caps this season. Special teams should be the key, the Caps powerplay is 10th, penalty kill is 5th. Boston’s powerplay is 11th and their penalty kill is 1st, killing off 91.4% of opponents powerplay. If Tim Thomas can continue his incredible season I would look for the Bruins to win this game 3-1 in a very close affair, with Thomas as the shining star yet again. The game will be aired on NHLN-US (HD) and NESN (HD), it starts at 7:00 PM.

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