Quick Links

Williams, Richards react differently to tributes


Williams, Richards react differently to tributes

Justin Williams and Mike Richards began their NHL careers in Philadelphia, won a pair of Stanley Cups together and signed free agent contracts with the Capitals six months apart, but that doesn’t mean they shared the same feelings about their return to Los Angeles  Wednesday night to face the Kings.

Both Capitals were welcomed back to Staples Center with tribute videos, but afterward they had different reactions to those tributes, each of which ended with standing ovations.

“Any time you get a reaction like that you’re going to have some emotions,” said Williams, 34, who spent parts of seven seasons in L.A. and won the Conn Smythe.with the Kings two years ago. ”I’m not a stiff or a robot. It’s obviously nice to see, but after that it was just a standard hockey game that we’re trying to win, and come back to win with the poor start that we had.”

Richards, 31, raised his hand to acknowledge the crowd following his tribute video, then raised his stick in appreciation.

“I wasn’t really emotional,” he said. “It was nice and it was nice to be acknowledged. I enjoyed my time here. I had a lot of success, a lot of great years and a lot of great memories so it was definitely nice.”

Perhaps one reason for the understated reactions from Williams and Richards was the fact the videos came in a first period in qhich the Capitals fell behind 3-0. The Caps havce allowed their opponent to score first 36 times in 67 games. And although they own a record of 20-11-5 in those games, they know it’s a trend that needs addressing.

“Starts have been our Achilles’ heel lately,” said Williams, who picked up an assist on Dmitry Orlov’s game-tying goal in the third period. “It’s obviously something that we need to clean up.”

Richards was asked after the game what he’s learned most about the Capitals in his first 24 games with his third NHL team.

“We’re not great starters,” he said. “I guess we’re good closers, but we have to correct that. It’s not good to play like that. You can see how good we are when we play well, so that’s something that has to be corrected pretty quickly because the season is winding down and then the real hockey starts.” 

MORE: Caps' comeback falls short in L.A.

Quick Links

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

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

Quick Links

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.