Game 5 Review: Caps Fall to Devils in Shootout 4-3

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, October 18, 2008 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Washington -- New Jersey Devils F Zach Parise scored the lone goal in a shootout, and the Washington Capitals fell at home for the first time this season 4-3. Parise had a goal and an assist in regular time, as the Caps played tight and tense most of the evening.

Parise lifted a backhander past G Brent Johnson's glove hand on the first shot of the shootout, and Devils' G Martin Brodeur did the rest. Brodeur blocked Michael Nylander's attempt, stuffed Alexander Semin from short range, and forced Alex Ovechkin to shoot wide on the final attempt, sending the 17,000+ crowd home disappointed in earning only one point.

Alexander Semin tied the game at 14:49 of the third period, on a wrist shot from the point that somehow slipped past Brodeur. Semin simply collected a bouncing puck from John Erskine and flung it toward Brodeur, who had the puck deflected in front of him. Washington then received a power play a minute and a half later, as Bryce Salvadore took a tripping penalty. Despite several excellent chances, the Caps could not find the game-winner before the horn sounded.

Johnson and Brodeur each made several nifty saves in OT, sending the game to the shootout, Washington's first of the campaign.

The Caps were out shot 32-25, and could only muster five shots in the third period. They played much of the night without the urgency displayed in the home win over Vancouver or the third period comeback against Pittsburgh Thursday night.

Semin notched two goals for the Caps -- the first and last of the evening. He opened the scoring at 5:04 with a snap shot, assisted by Sergei Federov and Shaone Morrison. Federov played defense once again for the injured Tom Poti. The Caps other goal came from Mike Green, who buried a shot past Brodeur on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period. Brooks Laich and Ovechkin got the helpers for Green.

Photos (c) Cheryl Nichols 2008.

WAS: Semin (5) from Federov and Morrisonn (1-5:04); Green (4) from Laich and Ovechkin (2-12:18 PP); Semin (6) from Erskine and Schultz (3-14:49)

NJ: Vrana (1) from Elias and Oduya (1-12:48), Parise (3) from Langenbrunner and Elias (3-10:34 PP); Greene (1) from Parise and Langenbrunner (3-11:42)
The Good, Bad & Ugly

GOOD: Alexander Semin. Someone's going to have to knock him out of this spot. Two more goals tonight, and really the only Cap to play with confidence on offense in this one.

BAD: Power Play. 1-for-8, including the gift with 3:32 remaining, just isn't going to cut it. The only PP marker came on the two-man advantage from Green.

UGLY: The team just looked disjointed tonight. New Jersey's trap can do that to anyone, but it seemed more so than that. They were beaten to loose pucks, whiffed on several shots, and even the checking wasn't particularly crisp. Backstrom is looking lost, and Ovechkin hasn't been able to do anything to help him right now.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday, October 21 at Calgary at 9:30 pm EST.

RECORD: 3-1-1. One-game losing streak.

NOTES: Tom Poti, Donald Brashear and Viktor Kozlov all remained out with injury.

LW Chris Bourque, recalled Friday from AHL Hershey, made his debut. He was sent back out to Hershey following the game. His Hall of Fame father, Ray, was in attendance.

Roster Manipulation(s)

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, October 17, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals made a pair of player moves today, one that alters the NHL roster, and one that shakes up the minor leagues a little. First, the major league move:

ARLINGTON, Va– The Washington Capitals have recalled forward Chris Bourque from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Bourque, 22, has played in three games for Hershey this year and has two goals and three assists. Bourque’s five points rank third on the Bears and tied for third in the AHL.

Last season Bourque accumulated 28 goals and 35 assists (63 points) in 73 games with Hershey. He is in his fourth year with Hershey and was a member of the 2005-06 team that won the Calder Cup under current Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau.

The 5’10”, 177-pound Boston, Mass., native, made his NHL debut last year and played in four games with Washington.

With Bourque up, this definitely means Sergei Federov will be skating on the blue line tomorrow against New Jersey. The team hasn't announced any line pairings yet, so we'll just have to see how Coach Bruce Boudreau shuffles his line-ups.

Next, the minor league move. As reported by Capitals Insider, goalie Michael Neuvirth was reassigned from Hershey to South Carolina of the ECHL. Neuvirth had yet to appear for the Bears and there had been some consideration by the team to loan him out to another organization. Simeon Varlamov and Daren Machesney have made the starts so far for the Bears. Each has two wins in Hershey's 4-0 start.

Game 5 Preview: Caps v. New Jersey Devils

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, October 17, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

After their dramatic third period comeback against Pittsburgh Thursday night, the Washington Capitals (3-1-0) return home -- albeit briefly -- for a match-up with Atlantic Division foe New Jersey Devils (3-1-0) at Verizon center at 7:30 pm.

The Caps are riding a three-game win streak after falling on opening night and enter this contest tied for first with the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers for most goals on the young season with 17. Washington has yet to score fewer than four goals in a game, despite last year's Hart Trophy winner, Alex Ovechkin, scoring just twice in four games. In the most recent game against the Penguins, the team got one goal each from Alexander Semin, Michael Nylander, Tomas Fleischmann and Boyd Gordon, who netted the game-winner with less than five minutes to play.

Washington does come into this contest banged up, however. Forward Viktor Kozlov is out with a left leg injury and tough guy Donald Brashear is day-to-day with a hand injury as well. On the blue line, Tom Poti left the Pittsburgh game with a strained groin, and it's unknown at this point how long he may be out. Late Friday, the team recalled F Chris Bourque from AHL Hershey, which indicates that Coach Bruce Boudreau will have Sergei Federov move to defense while Poti is out. Boudreau did not tip his hand as to how he would mix up his forward lines for the game.

New Jersey is led, as always, by G Martin Brodeur. The veteran notched his 97th career shutout Thursday at Atlanta, 1-0, stopping all 25 shots on goal. He'll have to be sharp for the Devils again, as they've managed to score just six times in four games. Zack Parise and Patrik Elias own four of the Devils six goals, and C Brian Rolston (1-1-2, +1), who scored NJ's lone marker Thursday was helped off the ice after going into the boards awkwardly, spraining his ankle, and is questionable for weekend play.

Brent Johnson, who beat Vancouver 5-1 last Monday for his 100th NHL victory, will be between the pipes for the Caps.


CAPS: LW Alexander Semin (4-4-8, +5); C Michael Nylander (2-4-6, +2), D Mike Green (3-2-5, +5)

DEVILS: LW Zack Parise (2-1-3, +1); LW Patrik Elias (2-0-2, +1), D Colin White (0-1-1, +4), G Martin Brodeur (3-1-0, 1.23, .944)


CAPS: LW Alex Ovechkin (2 goals in 20 SOGs in four games), Nicklas Backstrom (0-1-1, +1), Chris Clark (0-1-1, -1)

DEVILS: RW Jamie Langenbrunner (0-0-0, -1); C Bobby Holik (0-0-0, even)


CAPS: LW Viktor Kozlov (knee) out; LW Donald Brashear (hand) day-to-day; D Tom Poti (groin) questionable.

DEVILS: C Brian Rolston (ankle) questionable; RW Barry Tallackson (irregular heartbeat) out.

PITTSBURGH -- Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, Washington scored three times and out shot the host Pittsburgh Penguins 21-6 in the frame as the Capitals stormed back to take a well earned 4-3 come-from-behind road win.

Four different Capitals scored, capped by Boyd Gordon, who at 15:43 in the third collected a loose puck off the left face-off circle, skated in unmolested, and lifted a wrist shot over Marc Andre' Fleury's left shoulder and off the top pipe for the game winning goal. The goal light did not come on, however, and play continued for roughly 1:15 until a held puck allowed a video review. After review, the officials pointed to the center circle, the marker was posted, and the Caps celebrated Gordon's first goal of the season on the players' bench.

Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals and held a 3-0 lead midway through the second. But a nifty backhand from Tomas Fleischmann (goal, assist), started the comeback at 5:45 of the second, and the lead held at 3-1 at the second intermission. But Alexander Semin (goal, assist) beat Fleury at 3:38 with a slap shot and Michael Nylander (goal, assist) finished a perfect tic-tac-toe with Semin and Fleischmann, beating Fleury off his glove hand to knot it up. The odd-man rush was set-up on a turnover by Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who attempted a no-look pass but instead committed the costly error.

Alex Ovechkin did not make the scoresheet, but continued his early-season physical domination, attacking Penguins forward -- and fellow countryman -- Evgeni Malkin, every time both skaters were on the ice. Malkin, in his frustration, buried Semin with a nasty check from behind into the boards, earning him a 2:00 minor when the 5:00 major was warranted.

Jose Theodore saved 23 of the 26 shots he faced to earn the win. The Caps return home Saturday night for a tilt with the New Jersey Devils, 1-0 winners tonight against Atlanta.

Photo by AP.


WAS: Fleischmann (1) from Laich and Fehr (2-5:45); Semin (4) from Nylander (3-3:38); Nylander (2) from Fleischmann and Semin (3-10:00); Gordon (1) from Fehr and Fedorov (3-15:43).

PIT: Goligoski (2) from Malkin and Crosby (1-12:58-PP); Malkin (2) from Crosby and Satan (1-19:17-PP); Satan (2) from Sykora and Malkin (2-1:51-PP)


GOOD: Alexander Semin. He was again the most active and most effective player on the ice for the Caps tonight. Goal, assist, agitator; you name it. Took a really tough hit from Malkin and came right back to score and assist in the third period comeback.

BAD: Penalty Kill. Pens were 3-for-5 on the power play, where they scored all three of their goals, including the 2-man advantage when John Erskine took a delay penalty with Chris Clark already in the box.

UGLY: Matt Bradley's face. Without tough guy Donald Brashear, home nursing an undisclosed injury, Bradley took it upon himself to mix it up with Pens enforcer Paul Bissonette. He took the short end of it, got stitched up, and came back to make several key defensive plays in the third.

NEXT GAME: Saturday night at Verizon Center against the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 pm.

RECORD: 3-1-0. Three-game win streak.

NOTES: The Caps have scored at least four goals in all four games.

D Tom Poti played less than five minutes, leaving the game with a groin pull. It is unknown how much time he may miss at this point.

Theodore has a lifetime 13-4-1-1 record against Pittsburgh.

Washington out shot Pittsburgh for the match 30-26, after collecting only nine shots in the first two periods.

Game 4 Preview: Caps @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, October 16, 2008 | , , | 2 comments »

The Washington Capitals (2-1-0) travel to face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-1) at 7:30 pm at Mellon Arena in the first of four meetings this season.

Bruce Boudreau's squad, winners of two in a row, would like nothing more than to continue the dominant style of play they displayed Monday night when they defeated a previously unbeaten Vancouver team 5-1. Alexander Semin scored twice and Michael Nylander played a terrific game along the boards and scored on a penalty shot in the decisive second period.

With the injury to Viktor Kozlov, Eric Fehr will enter the line-up and play RW on a line with Sergei Fedorov and Tomas Fleischmann. Jose Theodore is expected to start in net.

Pittsburgh split two games with Ottawa in Sweden to start the season, winning 4-3 in overtime and losing 3-1 the next night. The Pens dropped an OT home ice match 2-1 to New Jersey over the weekend, then won for the first time at home in OT against the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night 3-2.

The Pens have only one player, Tyler Kennedy, with more than one goal so far in four games. Sid the Kid is scoreless in 14 shots, registering just two assists, as Coach Michel Therrien is still incorporating several new faces into his line-up.

Here's what some media outlets are saying about tonight's marquee match-up.

CAPS: LW Alexander Semin (3-3-6, +3); D Mike Green (3-2-5, +3); C Michael Nylander (1-3-4, even)

PENS: C Tyler Kennedy (2-1-3, +1); C Evgeni Malkin (1-2-3, +2)

CAPS: RW Tomas Fleischmann (0-1-1, -2); RW Chris Clark (0-1-1, -1); C Nicklas Backstrom (0-1-1, +1, five SOG in three games)

PENS: D Kris Letang (0-2-2, -2); LW Matt Cooke (0-1-1, -2); LW Ruslan Fedotenko (0-0-0, -1); C Maxime Talbot (0-0-0, -5)

CAPS: LW Viktor Kozlov (left knee), out two weeks.

PENS: D Sergei Gonchar (shoulder), IR; D Ryan Whitney (foot), out.

Caps In The Community

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | | 4 comments »

Rock the Red For A Cause

Help Washington Rock the Red at the Capitals Fall Blood Drive, presented by Inova Blood Donor Services. The Inova Blood drive will be held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first 500 participants will each receive two free Caps tickets and a limited edition Caps alternate logo jersey T-shirt!

Call 1-866-BLOODSAVES for more information and to schedule your appointment to donate. Appointments only, no walk-ups.

CAPS ON TAP! 4th Annual DOWNTOWN BAR TOUR, Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Bar Tour: 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm. Register at RFD from 2 pm to 7 pm, 810 7th St NW, right next to Verizon Center

$30 includes Caps ticket vs. New Jersey Devils ($35 face value) plus bar tour wristband. Bar Tour wristband available on-site the day of the game for $5 with a Caps ticket.

For more information, contact Jimm Bonk at: or call 202-266-2340.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, the Washington Capitals will host their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. The Caps will start the evening with a practice jersey silent auction at the Community Relations table located on the main concourse behind section 104.

Click on the link for more information.

Kozlov Out For a "Couple" of Weeks

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | , , | 2 comments »

According to Capitals Insider, Viktor Kozlov could miss a couple of weeks with an undisclosed injury, but it was apparent he was injured when Canucks' D Rob Davison checked him hard along the boards, then taunted him with two separate stick-checks to the chest and Kozlov did not respond. He skated gingerly off the ice and appeared to be favoring his left knee, after reviewing the highlights.

GM George McPhee addressed the media and made a very short statement:

"We suspect it will be a couple of weeks," McPhee said. "But we'll know more in a couple of days."

Capitals Insider has a number of other bits of pertinent info as well.

So what corresponding move will occur? Will Eric Fehr break the line-up with Federov staying on the blue line? He certainly looked comfortable there last night and raised Jurcina's play a notch, the two penalties notwithstanding. Or will we see Erskine back in the line-up and Feds back up front. Justifiably, neither McPhee nor Bruce Boudreau provided any insight at practice today.

Caps Trounce Lifeless Canucks 5-1

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, October 13, 2008 | , , , , | 1 comments »

Washington -- Washington Capitals back-up goalie Brent Johnson notched his 100th career NHL victory, the team set a franchise record for fewest shots on goal allowed at 10, and Alexander Semin scored twice, leading the Washington Capitals to a 5-1 win over Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks before 16,847 at the Verizon Center.

The Caps offense completely dominated a Canuck team that had little spring in their step following their nearly coast-to-coast flight. Luongo didn't look -- or fare -- much better, as he was shaky most of the game and was lifted after two periods. Luongo saved only 20 of the 25 shots he faced, and he must have felt like he saw double the amount. Luongo had a personal 10-game winning streak against the Capitals, but didn't even see the third period of this match.

Washington got two goals from Semin and one each from Mike Green, Milan Jurcina and Michael Nylander, who was awarded a penalty shot and scored on a nifty back-hander after faking Luongo to the ice. Alexander Edler had the lone tally for Vancouver.


WAS: Semin from Nylander and Green (1-2:54); Green from Nylander and Fleischman (1-16:11); Jurcina from Clark and Gordon (2-4:17); Semin from Laich and Fedorov (2-5:23); Nylander penalty shot (2-16:36).

VAN: Edler from Sedin and Salo (1-4:02).

GOOD: The swarming Caps offense was more responsible for the low shot on goal total in the first two periods than anything the defense did. The Caps beat Vancouver to almost every loose puck and really controlled the neutral zone.

BAD: F Viktor Kozlov left the game in the second period after a collision and several extra shots by a Canuck defenseman. The team has not disclosed the nature of the injury.

UGLY: Luongo. Normally one of the leagues strongest backstops, he looked shaky all night until he was lifted. On several saves that he did make, he looked behind him to see if he'd been beaten. Every puck in his direction was an adventure.
NEXT GAME: The Caps play Thursday night at Pittsburgh at 7:30 pm.

RECORD: 2-1-0, 2 game win streak.

NOTES: The game was nationally broadcast on Versus Network.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed Caps season ticket holders before the game and attended the match-up.

Nylander's penalty shot goal was the team's first successful penalty shot since November 2005.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2008.

Game 3 Preview: Caps v. Canucks

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, October 13, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (1-1-0) host the Vancouver Canucks (2-0-0) at 7:00 pm at the Verizon Center in the only meeting between the two teams this season.

The Caps look to follow up their good performance in Saturday night's home opener, when they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2, led by league MVP Alex Ovechkin's first two goals of the season.

Vancouver has won two straight to open the season. They took a home-and-home from Calgary 6-0 last Thursday and 5-4 in OT Saturday night.

Sergei Federov is only one goal behind Alexander Mogilny's NHL record for goals by a Russian-born player of 473. Federov is already the points leader among Russian-born NHL players.

Tonight's game is on National TV on the Versus network. And here is a little taste of Vancouver, provided by's E.J. Hradek.


Caps: LW Alex Ovechkin (2-0-2, +2); LW Alexander Semin (1-3-4, +1); D Mike Green (2-1-3, +2), C Steckel (1-1-2, even)

Canucks: D Mathias Ohlund (1-2-3, +3); LW Alex Burrows (2-1-3, +2); LW Daniel Sedin (2-3-5, +4); C Hanrik Sedin (1-3-4, +4)

Caps: RW Chris Clark (0-0-0, -2); D Milan Jurcina (0-0-0, -3); C Michael Nylander (0-1-1, -2), G Jose Theodore (1-0-0, 4.00, .842)

Canucks: RW Mike Brown (0-0-0, even); LW Mason Raymond (0-0-0, -1); D Shane O'Brien (0-0-0, -1)

Referees for tonights game are Dave Jackson and Wes McCauley.

Welcome to the Blog

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, October 13, 2008 | | 1 comments »

I'm a little late jumping into the game here, but I'll be blogging about the Washington Capitals this season. I'll offer game-by-game recaps, sticking with my "Good, Bad and Ugly" theme I developed this season on my Bottomfeeder Baseball Blog, as well as passing along news and notes about the Caps.

Since I'm a full-season ticket holder, I receive the media notes for every game as well, and will provide insight and previews into each game as well.

As you visit, please feel free to leave a comment. I'm open to receiving constructive criticism as much as I dish it out.

Thanks! Rock the Red!