Archive for the 'NHL' Category

Caps End Power Outage; Defeat Ducks 7-6

(Washington Post) ANAHEIM, Calif. – For a night, the Washington Capitals didn’t want for goals. Facing an Anaheim Ducks squad that had scored at least three goals in each of its past four contests, the Capitals quickly accepted their roles as Western gunslingers in an old-fashioned, high-scoring shootout where defense was optional and it was an unwelcome night to be a goaltender.

All told, 11 players scored goals and 20 recorded points Wednesday night at Honda Center. But Alexander Semin’s tally with 1 minute 47 seconds to go proved decisive in a 7-6 Capitals victory that snapped a three game losing streak. The goal was Semin’s third of the night, marking his fourth hat trick of the season and a resounding return for the winger, who entered the game on a 17-game goal-scoring drought that stretched back to Nov. 28.

The contest marked the first time Washington posted seven goals since an Oct. 30 win in Calgary, the most combined goals scored in a Capitals’ game this season and only the fourth time they tallied five or more goals over the last 35 games. The up-and-down pace came at the expense of the team defense that had been the Capitals’ recent hallmark, as they allowed six goals for the first time since a 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 12.

Last night the Caps finally played some decent and exciting hockey. They came into last night’s contest having lost six of eight and in those losses they scored a total of six goals including two shutouts. The offense had clearly been in a funk since the new year began and the numbers back it up. In January, Washington ranked second to last in goals per game at 1.92. Even if you include last night’s seven goal outburst, they still rank 23rd out of 30 teams in goals per game for the month of February.

It will be interesting to see if they can kick it into gear with just under two months to play in the regular season. If the playoffs started today, they would be the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference. At four points behind Tampa Bay, a fourth consecutive division title is still very much in reach. However no one else in the East is close to scoring the way conference leader Philadelphia is this year. And at 11 points back, it looks as if the boys from D.C. won’t be entering the Stanley Cup playoffs as the top seed like they did a year ago.

Next up for the Caps is San Jose tonight at 10:30 followed by a nationally televised game against Buffalo this Sunday at 12:30.


NBA/Stanley Cup Playoffs = AWESOME

Anyone I run into lately has had to put up with my constant endorsing of the Stanley Cup (NHL) Playoffs and the NBA Playoffs.

I cannot get enough of it! There are exciting games being played literally every night, which is the best part. God bless the NFL, it is by far my favorite sport, but the waiting each week for the games drives me crazy. There is nothing like this time of year when there is action on every evening.

Now I will admit, part of my interest in these games is because I usually have a dog in the fight because I bet on the games using Cent Sports (which is a very cool site and is deserving of it’s on blog post on here some other day). But even if I wasn’t pulling for this team or that to cover by x number of points…you can’t ignore the intensity of these games in both sports.

Take last night for example. First up was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi’s between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a tight game throughout and the B’s Milan Lucic scored the go ahead goal with just over four minutes to play. Boston’s TD Garden was going NUTS! On each power play and penalty kill you could feel the tension of the crowd on the edge of their seats. Great stuff.

At the same time the Celtics-Cavaliers game was being played in Cleveland. This was more of a blowout and consequently my attention was on the hockey game instead. But still there were some amazing plays including Rajon Rondo’s must see fakeout. The Cav’s Lebron James is an amazing show every night he plays, however he is dealing with a right elbow injury so he isn’t at his best.

The late basketball game was the Spurs at the Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi’s. And this was a fantastic western shootout.

A little background: The teams hate each other, and the fans hate each other. This is mostly due to this being the sixth time the teams have faced each other in the post season in the past decade. U.S. Airways Arena was rocking from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

The NBA is always fun for me to watch because of the superstars. Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash were a joy to watch in this one. They played with so much energy and effort. Nash scored 17 points in the first quarter and was feeding off of the crowd’s emotion. On the other end, the Spurs looked out of the game and ready to throw in the towel several times in the game. And each time, when they were down by about 14 or 15, they would make a thunderous run and get right back in it. Tony Parker made some amazing drives to the hoop and Tim Duncan, although beginning to show signs of aging, is still a master at hitting that midrange bank shot.

This was all on one evening. And there is still more than a month of this craziness to go. Can’t wait to see what unfolds the rest of the way

Caps Oust Habs, Take 2-1 Series Lead

Washington's Alex Ovechkin celebrates with teammate Mike Knuble after scoring the fourth goal against the Montreal during the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals

MONTREAL (AP) – Alexander Ovechkin scored the fourth goal of Washington’s second-period outburst, leading the Capitals to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night and a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

Semyon Varlamov, who got the nod over Jose Theodore, made 26 saves in his first start of the series for Washington, which has won two in a row after losing the opener 3-2 in overtime.

Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr each scored within a span of 7:27 as the Capitals chased Jaroslav Halak 8:33 into the second.

Ovechkin dropped to his knees at 13:50 to put a one-timer past Carey Price, who relieved Halak after Washington took a 3-0 lead.

Tomas Plekanec spoiled Varlamov’s shutout bid with a power-play goal 2:25 into the third.

Matt Bradley scored the Capitals’ final goal with 44.1 seconds left in the third.

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Montreal.

Varlamov got his second straight win since relieving Theodore early in Game 2.

Theodore, the 2002 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP with the Canadiens, was pulled after allowing goals on Montreal’s first two shots Saturday. Varlamov stopped 19 shots the rest of the way for the win in Washington’s dramatic 6-5 comeback victory in overtime.

Two nights later, Halak was yanked after he was beaten on three of six shots in the second. The Slovakian goalie stopped 10 shots overall. Price made 22 saves.

Washington’s special teams play opened the scoring early in the second as Gordon scored a short-handed goal to put the Canadiens up 1-0.

The Capitals, who boast the NHL’s top-ranked power play, have not scored a goal with the man advantage in five straight games, including the last two of the regular season.

Gordon, who did not dress for Game 2, backhanded his own rebound past Halak for his first goal 1:06 into the second. Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek slid backwards into Halak, pushing the Canadiens goalie into his own net and clearing the way for Gordon’s shot.

Laich added his first goal at 4:42 to make it 2-0 before Fehr scored his second goal in two games, ending Halak’s outing with Montreal in a 3-0 hole before the midway through the second.

What a statement game for the Caps. After the initial twenty minutes, this one looked as if it would be another close contest just like games one and two were in D.C.

Washington wasn’t going to have any of that though as they silenced the Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 with four unanswered goals in the second period, three of which came within the first nine minutes.

By the way I have to mention the Habs fans. They were amazing in the first period, much louder and into the game then Verizon Center was in the first two games. They booed Ovechkin everytime he touched the puck and you could feel their energy. Obviously four straight goals will smother that energy, but I still applaud the effort of the Canadiens’ fans.

What a swing of momentum when you step back and think about where Washington was at one point in the second period of Game 2. They were trailing 4-1 in the game and 0-1 in the series. Things were looking bleak. But since that point, they have outscored Montreal 10-2 !

Pardon the basketball analogy but the ball is certainly in the Caps court right now and they can take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a victory on Wednesday night before heading back to D.C. for Game 5.

Caps – Canadiens Headed to OT

After 60 minutes of intense playoff hockey from Verizon Center, Washington and Montreal are all tied up at at two apiece.

In the first period, with 7:24 to play, Mike Cammalleri put the Canadiens on the board first with a power play goal. But three minutes later the Caps answered with a Joe Corvo score to make the score 1-1.

Two two teams went the rest of the first and all of the second periods without a goal.

However center Nicklas Backstrom wasted no time in the third, scoring a mere 47 seconds into the the period to give the Caps the lead for the first time. Montreal’s Scott Gomez answered with a goal of his own make things even once again with 12:26 to play.

Alex Ovechkin has been a non-factor, not even getting one shot on goal.

That’s where we stand as overtime begins…

UPDATE: A little over 13 minutes into overtime, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec rifled the puck past Jose Theodore and to send 18,377 fans home in silence and give the Habs a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is scheduled for Satuday night in D.C.

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