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The Washington Capitals (1974-), Eastern Conference, Metropolitan Division - Moved from Capital Centre in Landover to Capitol One Arena in Chinatown, 1997 - STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS 2017-2018

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Good game, not a great game last night.  Scary at the end of the game when we were up 3-2, Oshie got a penalty and the Canes pulled their goalie with about 3 minutes to play, for 6 on 4 action.  We managed to kill the penalty and then Eller got an empty net goal with about 12 seconds left to close it out.  

Overall, Caps did not have enough shots on goal, and they dialed down the hits after the first period, so they can play a better game than the one last night, but still a good game overall.

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Awful game last night by the Caps.  5-0 and they set (bad) records for lowest shots on goal in playoff games, etc.  They were out-everything'd by the Hurricanes.  The only Caps' achievement of note was Ovechkin KO'd a 'Canes young forward with 3 punches.  Hope the kid is okay, but he was dazed and confused and helped off the ice and apparently taken straight to the ER.  A fair fight, by hockey standards -- the kid called Ovi out, both dropped gloves and no sucker punches.  But just because Ovi isn't known as a fighter doesn't mean he can't fight.   

 

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On Thursdays I work late at the bar school handling a once a week service we provide to grads.  About 7:45 I stepped outside and heard this huge singular cheer.   We are next door to the Arlington Roof Top Bar.

Immediately went to my cell and checked the scores.   Bingo....Ovi had scored and the Caps had tied the game 1-1. 

Not exactly sure what all that means....but it was nice to know Ovi tied up the game. 

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Very tough loss, I was hoping the CAPS would take one on the road as a good confidence builder coming back to CapOne Center for game 5.

Oshie being cross-checked and potentially hurt can do a number on the team.  He is a leader and really does a lot to help bridge the gap on this team.  I really hope he is OK.

Update: Capitals T.J. Oshie 'won't be playing any time soon' after being hurt in Game 4 loss by Mark Brehm USA Today

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The hit on Oshie was dirty (late, off the puck, cross-checked in the back in the numbers into the boards, should have been a 5-minute major.  Hope that Dept. of Player Safety reviews and gives Fogele a game suspension.  I know playoff hockey they don't call so many penalties, but the refs are letting this series get out of control.  It could be a turning point for the Caps in terms of determination.  Remember when Backstrom had his finger broken in the Cup run last year and was out several games, or when Kuzy had his shoulder separated, or when Wilson got the multi-game suspension, the guys rallied and brought the series back.   As far as lines go, Hagelin's style is probably the closest match to Oshie's, but he doesn't have that same hand-eye coordination that Osh uses in front of the net to deflect shots in.  However, no one was establishing a net front presence last night, so that becomes a moot point.

Kuzy really needs to show up in this series though.  He was looking better last night, but it's not enough yet.  Calling up Siegenthaler is helping the D, he was steady and smart.  And I know that Reirden doesn't seem to have chemistry with DSP but maybe it's time to call him back from Hershey for a 4th line grinder that comes up big in clutch situations.

ETA:  Devante Smith-Pelly has been called up from Hershey

 

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14 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Very tough loss, I was hoping the CAPS would take one on the road as a good confidence builder coming back to CapOne Center for game 5.

Oshie being cross-checked and potentially hurt can do a number on the team.  He is a leader and really does a lot to help bridge the gap on this team.  I really hope he is OK.

Update: Capitals T.J. Oshie 'won't be playing any time soon' after being hurt in Game 4 loss by Mark Brehm USA Today

The second he got up from that hit I said "Dislocated shoulder", then the way he was hunched over supporting his arm on the way off the ice.  If he "merely" separated it and they popped it back in there is a chance we see him again during a deep run, but probably no chance the rest of this series.  If there was ligament damage he's done for the remainder.  Someone else said he thought maybe a broken forearm, but I've seen my share of shoulder dislocations during play and that was my hunch based on the impact and how he reacted after.

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We went to the CAPS practice today, and it was pretty busy.  The DSP jerseys were on sale again, which was interesting to see.  Hopefully they can get back in the groove at home and end this in 6 games.

They were working Holtby really hard.  Nic Dowd kindly stayed after practice and signed every, single person's stuff, and posed for numerous pictures; VERY cool of him as he was there for probably 30 minutes after practice ended.  

 

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A gorgeous game by the Caps last night in a pounding, all-in, 200-foot effort all game long for a 6-0 shutout.  The goal above shows just how in much pain the 'Canes are in at this point, with Dougie Hamilton makes the decision to not touch the puck as he sees Ovechkin coming up behind him.  As Laughlin said after the game "it was a business decision" to leave the puck.  Fabulous penalty killing, and it looks like rookie Jonas Siegenthaler is a wonderful fit beside John Carlson, settling the D pairings into 3 solid L-R pairs.  Scoring last night was Backstrom, Backstrom, Connolly, Wilson, Dowd and Ovechkin.  Ovi's goal was on the power play, and was in the back of the net 1 second after an offensive zone puck drop on the far side of the ice from his office.  

A lot of stats in this game, but star among them, Braden Holtby becomes the top playoff shutout goalie for the Caps, with 7 in his career, besting Olie Kolzig.  Nic Dowd scores the first ever playoff penalty goal by the Caps.  

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On a side note I was interacting with a grad of the bartending school who bartends at Cap One Center for Caps and Wizards games.   During the playoffs this year she has been earning roughly twice what she makes at any regular game.  Actually great money for an event that isn't that long.  

I think the employees at Aramark at the Cap Center are rooting as hard as anyone for the Caps to win tonight.

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Obviously would love to see them play a solid game tonight and put this away to take on the Islanders.  They got outplayed on Monday and if they play any sort of game like that it is lights out.  The Carolina team is fast and seems driven to make a run to round 2.  

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A sad day for Caps fans.  Tough loss last night in a double OT in a game that saw the Caps start strong and slowly lose their mojo.  From my POV, the loss is almost equally spread between coaching errors (esp. power play), injuries, player errors, bad officiating and bad puck luck.   One or two can be overcome if the other components are solid, but not when they all are present.   Hats off to Ovechkin, he played lights-out hockey all series long. 

curious to see what the off season will bring.

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1 hour ago, weezy said:

A sad day for Caps fans.  Tough loss last night in a double OT in a game that saw the Caps start strong and slowly lose their mojo.  From my POV, the loss is almost equally spread between coaching errors (esp. power play), injuries, player errors, bad officiating and bad puck luck.   One or two can be overcome if the other components are solid, but not when they all are present.   Hats off to Ovechkin, he played lights-out hockey all series long. 

curious to see what the off season will bring.

Louise, 

I watched that game, mostly on silent TV, from the end of the 2nd period onward. Knowing nothing about hockey, but a great deal about sports and games in general - I know that, almost without exception, controlling the center of the playing field gives one opponent a better chance to win over the other - what I saw was Carolina tending to control the center of the rink, and more often than not, push the puck down towards the Caps goal. What I also saw were two teams that were completely gassed - after the Canes' brief celebratory scrum, the teams' handshake line showed two exhausted foes, both in complete respect of the other. Did this series not boil down to a Rocky vs. Apollo-level brawl, where the team that could dig deep for that one last oomph of energy was in slightly better position to produce a final punch?

(I don't know when the second round starts, but often after a series such as this, the winning team won't have the stamina to survive the next round - I know that's small consolation and cold comfort. There's losing big and there's losing honorably, and in my eyes, the Caps lost honorably to a fantastic team.)

Towards the very end of the 3rd, when the puck was buried against the boards for seemingly forever, and then it popped out to Ovechkin, you could almost feel how badly he wanted a second chance at his shot that bounced off the goalie.

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Definitely that was part of the coaching errors combined with player errors -- both in trying to move the puck up the boards, getting pinched down and then turned over.  Yes, both teams were gassed, but the Canes team overall is one of the youngest in the league and the Caps are middle-aged, and young legs are young legs. 

A weird little factor that helped the Canes last night was the ice got worse as the game went on.  The 'Canes arena has really lousy ice and has had it most of the season, so their players are very accustomed to playing on it.  It's part of the reason we did so badly in PNC Arena, since the Caps are known for play making through passing and puck handling (as opposed to shoot it at the net with a scrum there and jam it in).  The Ovi to Wilson goal illustrates that style beautifully.  If we can't pass well, that pretty much negates Backstrom and Kuznetnov.  That's just part of the puck luck.

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First preseason game of the new season tonight.  Puck drop at 7.   Tom Wilson is the only top line player on the ice tonight.  Lots of the lower line players who are fighting for a regular spot in the lineup (Stephenson and Boyd, notably), and a bunch of the guys who rotate in from Hershey in the AHL who are also in the fight for a berth, plus a few of the young prospects who are working their way up for a shot at making the NHL in the next year or two, or if they show really well in preseason, may be able to make the team (Gersich).  Also getting a look at the hoped-for goalie of the future, Ilya Samsonov.

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