Quick Links

Brouwer on Ovechkin: 'He's gotta learn'


Brouwer on Ovechkin: 'He's gotta learn'

NEW YORK -- On Sunday, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin implored his linemates to get him the puck with speed so that he could create more scoring chances against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

If I want to have scoring opportunities they have to give me the puck at full speed in the neutral zone, Ovechkin said, because in the offensive zone its harder because they have Dan Girardi and another guy Ryan McDonagh on me.

On Monday Ovechkins two linemates implored Ovechkin to generate his own speed and exercise more patience.

Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich will team up with Ovechkin on the Capitals top line tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the Capitals are hoping to even their best-of-seven series after falling 3-1 in Game 1. Both said theyd like to see Ovechkin tweak his game.

Hes got to come back to the defensive zone to get more speed, Brouwer said. He cant be so impatient to get into the offensive zone. Hes got to make room for himself out there. We can only do so much. He cant bottle himself up and wait for that long stretch pass with no speed. Hes got to come back and come with us as a unit.

Brouwer said Ovechkins bulrushes down the left wing have become too predictable and too easy to defend. In Game 1, Ovechkin had four of his five attempts either blocked or go wide of the net. Brouwer said its because defensemen stand him up at the blue line and force him to shoot from bad angles.

Hes gotta learn, Brouwer said. You see all the time he comes down the left side and those D-men are standing right up on him and he doesnt have much of a play. Hes got to learn hes got to come back and give himself a little more space, a little more speed and hell have more scoring opportunities.

Laich said creating speed through the neutral zone is all well and good, but Ovechkin also needs to be patient enough to play a dump-and-chase game that allows the line to generate a cycle and wear down the Rangers defensemen.

Ideally, you want to get flying through the neutral zone, but it doesnt always happen like that, Laich said. Especially now when its pretty tight. Sometimes you have to stay patient and go up the wall with the puck and chip it in and forecheck and create your opportunities. Its not going to be all night where were flying through the neutral zone.

Ovechkin took several line rushes from the right side on Monday but Brouwer said hed be surprised if Ovechkin didnt wind up back on the left side tonight.

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.