Quick Links

Capitals amped for 'extra challenge' of preventing Blue Jackets from making history

Capitals amped for 'extra challenge' of preventing Blue Jackets from making history

Although the Capitals were in engaged in a thrilling, back-and-forth battle of their own Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs, many of them had more than a passing interest in a game taking place in Columbus.

Why? Because the Blue Jackets’ 3-1 victory over the Oilers extended their win streak to 16 games—one short of tying the 1992-93 Penguins’ NHL record of 17 consecutive wins.

So when the Caps host the Jackets on Thursday night at Verizon Center, the game will mean much more two Metropolitan Division rivals crossing paths on a weekday night in January.

And Brooks Orpik can’t wait.

“As soon as our game was over last night, guys were checking to see if they won or not,” Orpik said after practice on Wednesday.

“We had it on. If anyone says they weren’t [paying attention] they’re lying because we had it on in the change room.”


“As soon as we asked if they won or not, guys were like, ‘I don’t know, it said 2- 1 on the scoreboard during our game’,” the veteran defenseman continued. “So guys were aware of it. It’s something fun to watch. Everybody was paying attention to [Columbus’] game against Minnesota the other night to see who would win that one. It’s a little extra challenge.”

Indeed, the Blue Jackets present challenges all over the ice. They’re a league best 27-5-4. Their power play is ranked No. 1 at 28.3-percent. They’re allowing fewer goals than anyone else (2.03 per game) and are scoring more goals (3.44 per) than anyone other than Sidney Crosby and the Penguins (3.45).

Coach Barry Trotz said he considers Thursday’s game to be a good measuring stick for his team, especially given the way the last two meetings between the clubs ended.

On Nov. 15 in Columbus, the Jackets rallied for a 2-1 win in overtime. Then, five days later, Nicklas Backstrom was whistled for high sticking Jackets captain Nick Foligno, who threw his head back despite the fact that Backstrom’s stick did not contact his face. Columbus scored on the ensuing power play with 54 seconds remaining to steal two points.  

“I think our guys are up to the challenge,” said Trotz, whose team has won three in a row and is 10-2-3 in their last 15 games. 

“This is a team that’s leading the league. They’re a team that I think both games were very competitive that we played. …I think guys look at it as they like the competition and I think it will be something that good pros look and go, ‘They’re a good team, so are we and let’s see what happens.’”

Said Daniel Winnik: “We lost in OT against them and then the very phantom high stick call that they scored with a minute something left on the power play. It’s going to be a good test for us.”

Lars Eller said the chance to end the streak will add some juice to the game. But the veteran center also feels the November losses should provide the primary motivation.

“I think it should be a good motivational factor for us,” he said. “But even more so, the biggest motivation for us is the last two games. We felt like we let points slip through our hands too easily when we should have closed the game. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

Orpik added: “We had two pretty good games against them earlier in the year that I think we felt like we were in good position to win and we kinda let it slip away against them. So hopefully tomorrow night will be similar to those two. …It’s always a good measuring stick, especially a team that’s going this well right now.”


Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

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