GAME 16 RECAP: Caps Win Sixth Straight; Semin Hat Trick

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Friday, November 12, 2010 | , , , | 0 comments »

“It wasn’t anything special. I was just going out there and playing like I do every other game. [The] Most important thing is for the team to win and that’s what happened tonight.” -- Alexander Semin (translated by Dmitry Chesnokov)

THE RESULT:  The Washington Capitals extended win streak to six games in front of the 69th consecutive sellout crowd at Verizon Center on Thursday night with a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tom Poti returned to the ice after missing eight games and scored the Capitals first goal of the night.  “He’s a good player and a veteran in this league that’s been successful. It’s nice to have him back because we’re young back there {on defense}” said Coach Bruce Boudreau.

There is no question whether the Ovechkin/Backstrom/Semin line is working.  Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about Alex Semin to the media after the game, "I think he likes playing with Alex {Alex Ovechkin} and Nicky {Backstrom}. I think they can play. They’re interchangeable.”

Alexander Semin continues to be red hot. Semin got this second hat trick in just nine games and leads the Caps with twelve goals for the reason.

Tampa Bay Lightning Captain Vincent Lecavalier missed a shift in the first period and the Comcast camera caught his fingers taped together on his right hand, however, remained in the game.  Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher explained, "Vinny was playing so good the last four games. He was playing great. He got two posts in the first period. That’s the story of his four games. He could’ve had three points every game. Just real bad luck for him. I feel for him. He’s worked so hard – taken care of so many small details. He’s been a real leader on our team. He’s grinding it out. He’s been outstanding for us.”

Goalie Michal Neuvirth struggled in the first period and had several rebounds and a couple of lucky breaks when the puck hit the post, however, he settled down and made key saves when it mattered. He stopped 38 out of the 41 shots made by the Bolts. "He's been really good for us," Backstrom said. "We needed it. Hopefully he can continue playing the way he does and we can keep scoring too."

Nicklas Backstrom continued to discuss the play of the Caps. “The first period wasn’t so good. We didn’t work hard enough, but we worked ourselves back into the game and we finished it [the game] off strong. We have to find a way to start games better. Hopefully it will be the next game.”

Boyd Gordon only played 1:42 after suffering a lower-body injury early in the first period. Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't sure when the injury occurred but that it could have been when Gordon collided with Matt Smaby on an icing call. "He said he's had this before, the same type of injury and it's usually a week," Boudreau told media after the game. "I don't know when it happened but I think that might be it."

Check out the Movember progress here.


• Nicklas Backstrom recorded his 200th career NHL assist on Tom Poti’s goal in the second period. He also added four assists and now has 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) in the last six games.
• Tonight’s game featured two of the top three scorers in the NHL in Steven Stamkos (26 points) and Alex Ovechkin (23). Ovechkin registered a goal and two assists while Stamkos scored his league leading 14th goal of the season and added an assist. Ovechkin has points in eight straight games (5 goals, 10 assists) and has at least a point in 11 of the Capitals’ 12 victories this season.
• With Semin (12 goals) and Ovechkin (9), the Capitals are the only team in the NHL with two nine-goals scorers. The duo has combined for eight goals and 20 points in the past five games.
• Poti, who missed eight games with an injury, scored for the first time since Mar. 8, 2010 (19 games).
• Mike Knuble, who snapped a 13-game goal-less drought on Tuesday against the New York Rangers, scored his third goal of the season at 7:51 of the second period.
• The Capitals have won six straight games overall and five in a row at Verizon Center. It’s the fourth straight season that the Capitals have had a winning streak of at least five games after going five seasons with one. Bruce Boudreau has 10 five-game winning streaks in his NHL head coaching tenure.
• After scoring two goals in the second period, the Capitals have now outscored their opponents 25-10 in the middle stanza this season. During the Caps six-game winning streak, Washington has outscored their opponents 31-17 with 17 of the 31 goals coming in the second period.
• Brooks Laich, who recorded an assist on Knuble’s goal in the second period and leads the NHL with a plus-13 rating, has collected seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in the last six games.
• Washington leads the league with nine wins (9-3-0) when allowing the first goal of the game (.750).
• The Capitals are 8-0-0 when Semin scores a goal and 7-0-0 when the team records a power play goal.
• The Caps have won for the first time on a Thursday night (1-2-0) and now have registered wins during every day of the week.
• Capitals radio play-by-play voice Steve Kolbe called his 1,000th career NHL game tonight.

GAME 14 RECAP: Caps Win in OT and End Flyers Win Streak

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Sunday, November 07, 2010 | , , , , , | 0 comments »

“We wanted to score on the power play, more for me on the confidence of the power play and it won us the game so it worked out. I thought we were pretty patient and showed a lot of good restraint today. We didn’t retaliate and that was good.” -- Coach Bruce Boudreau

THE RESULT:  The Washington Capitals ended the Philadelphia Flyers sixth game winning streak in front of the 68th consecutive sellout crowd at Verizon Center on Sunday night.  The game went to overtime and Mike Green scored the winning power play goal to give the Caps their tenth win of the season with the 3-2 victory over the Flyers.

A couple of changes in the standings. The Washington Capitals are now on top in the Eastern Conference for the first time this season and Alex Semin is now the team leader in goals with nine.

Braden Holtby got the nod tonight for his first NHL start.  Getting a start is big, however, starting against a rival on a hot streak is even bigger.  Holtby seemed to handle the pressure well. “It’s definitely huge, but on a team like this, if a goalie just kind of gives the team a chance to win, they usually are going to pull through some goals. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence coming in.”

Holtby gave up his first NHL goal to Nikolay Zherdev in the first period. “I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, that they were going to score on me. I came into the game hoping for a victory and I knew I wasn’t going to get a shutout in my first game. [I] Came in and just tried to get the victory and work my way up.”

Coming into this game, the Flyers and Caps had basically the same record at 9-4-1 and 9-4-0 respectively.  The Caps may have had a small advantage in that they were off on Saturday night while the Flyers played and the fatigue showed on the ice. Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said, “Not our best hockey, but there was a lot of stuff we did well and a lot of stuff we can work on. To get three points out of four is pretty good.”

Eric Fehr scored his third goal of the season and the first of the night for the Caps that went to the upper right-hand corner of the net. John Erskine and Tyler Sloan were credited as the helpers. "We expect that third line to be able to chip in" said Coach Boudreau. "When Eric is shooting and scoring, it certainly makes a big difference."

The Flyers had three times as many penalty minutes than the Caps, however, it wasn't until the middle of the third period that the Caps took advantage of the power play.  Nicklas Backstrom picked up an Alex Ovechkin rebound and passed to Alex Semin who easily got the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky. The goal was Semin's ninth of the season and the fourth game in a row in which he scored.

Neither team scored in the third period.  The Flyers O'Donnell took a boarding penalty at the end of the third while tied up at two so it was 5-on-3 for 18.1 of third period since Pronger was still serving his time for double-minor high sticking penalty.  This meant more power play time in overtime for the Capitals.

It only took twenty-nine seconds for Mike Green to score the winning power play goal assisted by Backstrom and Mike Knuble. "Everything felt stable out there," Green said. "It felt composed and there was no panic. In the past we've got into situations where we panicked and there was confusion and I think tonight we were pretty stable."

The Capitals have four games in the next week. Neuvrith and Holtby may each get a few starts with the grueling schedule ahead, especially now that Boudreau is comfortable with Holtby in front of the net. “In the first two periods I thought he looked a little nervous, but once they started getting some shots in the third period I thought he made a great game-saving save there in that flurry, moving from side to side. So, I think he handled himself overall really well for his first complete game.”

“We’re in the mix. Not saying we’re better or worse, but we’re in the mix that we can compete against the better teams" said Boudreau. "Next week is no different… this whole league is good.”

We saved the bad news for last (well, hopefully it is not serious).  Coach Bruce Boudreau announced in post-game presser that Brooks Laich is out with "upper body injury." Brooks wanted to play, but doctors kept him out as a precaution.


• The Capitals won their fourth straight game and improved to 5-0 in overtime games this season. The win lifts Washington into a tie with Philadelphia atop the Eastern Conference and snapped the Flyers’ six-game winning streak.
• Mike Green, tonight’s first star, scored his fourth goal of the season 29 seconds into the overtime session and is currently riding a four-game goal scoring streak and a five-game point streak (four goals, four assists). The Capitals are 4-0-0 when Green registers a goal.
• The overtime goal was the fifth of Green’s career, tied for second in Capitals history with Peter Bondra and Kelly Miller. Only Alex Ovechkin (8) has more career overtime goals for the Capitals.
• Braden Holtby, in his first NHL start, became the third straight Caps’ goaltender to start his career 2-0-0. He turned away 25 shots, including all eight he faced in the third.
• Tonight's goaltenders are the two youngest to start games in the NHL this season (Holtby, 21, and Sergei Bobrovsky, 22).
• Eric Fehr opened the scoring for the Caps and recorded his third goal of the season with 2:31 left in the first period. Fehr has scored all of his six points (three goals, three assists) this season at Verizon Center. The Capitals improved to 3-0-0 when Fehr scores a goal and 5-0-0 when he registers a point.
• Alexander Semin scored his team-high ninth goal of the year – a power-play goal - at 8:54 into the second period. Semin extended his goal and point streak to four games (four goals, three assists), his best since notching his career-best six-game goal streak from Feb. 26 to Mar. 8, 2009. The Capitals are 7-0-0 when Semin scores a goal and 6-0-0 when the team records a power play goal.
• Alex Ovechkin extended his point streak to six games (four goals, six assists) when he assisted on Semin’s tally in the second period. Ovechkin has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) through 14 games to lead the team and is now tied for sixth in Caps history with 547 career points in 410 GP (matching Mike Ridley).
• With Semin’s nine goals and Ovechkin’s eight, the Capitals are the only team in the league with two eight-plus goal scorers. The duo has combined for eight goals and 16 points in the past four games.
• David Steckel was 80% at the faceoff dot tonight, winning eight of the 10 faceoffs he took.
• Semin recorded a game-high seven shots on goal tonight.
• Green skated a game-high 30:26 in ice time tonight, the fourth time this year he has surpassed 30 minutes of ice time.
• Washington posted a 3-0-0 record during this homestand, and is now 7-1-0 at Verizon Center – the best home record in the NHL (through the end of tonight’s game).
• The Capitals have won five straight overtime games for the second time under head coach Bruce Boudreau (also won six in a row from Jan. 5 to Feb. 10, 2008).

NEXT GAME: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at NY Rangers


Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Sunday, November 07, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

Philadelphia Flyers (9-4-1-14, 1st AE) v.
Washington Capitals (9-4-0-14, 1st SE)
5:00 pm  Verizon Center, Washington DC

The Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals are evenly matched on paper and add in the long-time rivarly, Sunday early evening should prove to be a great game in America's Hockey Capital.

After Saturday morning practice, Eric Fehr said, "It's one of our biggest rivalries for sure and both teams are pretty hot right now so its looking like its going to be an intense game."

Flyers center Danny Briere is eligible to be back on the ice on Sunday after serving a three game suspension by the NHL for a hit he made on the Islanders' Frans Nielsen last Saturday's game.

"It's tough to match their physical play so we have to do what we do best, that's all," stated Coach Bruce Boudreau.

Washington's defense was strong on Friday and will need to repeat that performance, however, extend to a full sixty minutes.  Tyler Sloan added, "Having Mike in the lineup obviously exudes confidence in all of us."

It is expected that Michal Neuvirth will be in the net for the Caps. 

Tonight's matchup, the first of four with the Flyers, should be an exciting. 

Center Marcus Johansson was assigned to Hershey and will playing in Charlotte on Sunday.



PHI:  RW Claude Giroux (7-7-14, +2), LW Ville Leino (2-9-11, +5), G Sergi Bobrovsky (7-2-0, 2.23, 234, .921)
WAS:   LW Alex Ovechkin (8-9-17, +2), Alexander Semin (6-5-11, +5), G Michal Neuvirth (8-3-3, 2.41, 287, .914)


PHI:  D Matt Walker (Hip), RW Ian Laperrier (Concussion), C Michael Leighton (Lower back strain)
WAS:  D Tom Poti (LBI-OUT), C Marcus Johansson (hip-QUE), G Semyon Varlamov (groin-QUE)


PHI: GF/G: 3.07 (3rd); GA/G: 2.21 (23rd); PP: 18.5% (11th); PK: 87.3% (7th)
WAS:  GF/G: 3.31 (4th); GA/G: 2.46 (19th); PP: 18.4% (12th); PK: 86.2% (10th)

**Quotes in this story were pulled from various sources, including and AP

Johansson Assigned to Hershey

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Sunday, November 07, 2010 | , , , , | 0 comments »

From Caps Press Release:

The Washington Capitals have assigned center Marcus Johansson to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Johansson (YO-hahn-son), 20, has a goal in six games for the Capitals this season. He missed the last six games due to injury but took warm-ups with the team last night and has been cleared for game action. He will join Hershey in Charlotte for the Bears’ game there on Sunday.

The 6’0”, 197-pound center was Washington’s first selection, 24th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

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