Beninati: All Around Caps Effort

Beninati: All Around Caps Effort

Thursday, January 7, 2010

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-By-Play

When I read the Ottawa newspapers today at least four of their columnists predicted a 5-2 Caps win tonight. Those gentlemen must have had a crystal ball because Washington took control of this hockey game in the third period on the way to that exact scoring margin.From the opening shift of this contest I got the feeling that the Senators were going to be uncomfortable with the tempo set by the Caps. The puck movement was exceptionally quick and all four lines were giving examples of that. David Steckel, Matt Bradley, and Boyd Gordon capped off an outstanding shift filled with hustle when Gordon cashed in on a rebound from Pascal Leclaire. Leclaire was suspect on the goal Mike Knuble scored from a severe angle in the first. The Caps were the dominant first period team we're used to them being, not the relatively quiet one of the past four games. They looked like they were going to run away and hide in the second period. Leclaire was forced to make several outstanding stops in that frame, keeping his team close. When Chris Phillips had one bounce off Mike Green into the net late in the seocnd, this game was too close for comfort.Jose Theodore was very steady throughout the game in goal. He had been working on his rebound control in practice this week and the hard work paid off.

Nick Backstrom hooked up with Alex Ovechkin early in the third period to give his gang some breathing room. That goal will not go on the Leclaire highlight film, but Backstrom's next one definitely belongs on his. The gracefully Swede swooped behind the net while Leclaire was lost at one side of the cage. In the blink of an eye Nicklas tucked the puck into the far corner while the Senators looked on stunned.Alex Ovechkin finished the third period scoring spree with a beautiful backhand off of a semi breakaway. Ovechkin shifted into high gear at the blue line and put his shot violently into the roof of the goal.

This was truly and all around effort. I thought the D was very solid even though they were working against an Ottawa team playing without Jason Spezza andDaniel Alfredsson, and one that lost Milan Michalek in the first period tonight. Regardless of the Senators being undermanned, John Erskine turned in a super effort. Here's hoping that all the Caps duplicate it in Atlanta Saturday.Watch the game highlights

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Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after retaking lead in Metro Division


Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after retaking lead in Metro Division

The Columbus Blue Jackets threw some serious shade at the Caps Tuesday night after their 7-2 blowout loss to the Predators.

The Jackets are now tied for the Metro lead after the Caps lost their third straight game, and they let them have it on Twitter.

That's a bold jab coming from the team that lost to the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs...

The GIF comes from Saturday night's overtime loss to the Jackets where Columbus celebrated Artemi Panarin's game-winner with Evgeny Kuznetsov's signature bird celly.

When asked about the copycat celebration last Saturday, Kuzy said, "That's fine. It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”

The Capitals meet the Blue Jackets again Feb. 12 where the only bird celly should come from Kuzy.



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Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

The final score of a game can often be deceiving, but that was certainly not the case on Tuesday. The Capitals lost 7-2 to the Nashville Predators in a game every bit as one-sided as the score indicates. Viktor Arvidsson scored a hat trick and Nick Bonino added another two goals in a game that was well in hand before the end of the second period.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

Viktor Arvidsson

Arvidsson came into this game with 14 goals this season and 21 points in 23 games. He is one of the best players in the league that no one talks about and that was certainly on display in this game. He wasn’t a one trick pony either. His first goal came on the breakaway, his second was a deflection and his third was a shorthanded breakaway.

Arvidsson’s third goal

As one-sided as the game was, there was a moment in the second period when it looked like Washington was going to claw its way back into it. Down 3-0 in the second period, Nicklas Backstrom scored on the power play to make it 3-1. Less than five minutes later, T.J. Oshie drew a tripping call from Calle Jarnkrok. Suddenly it looked as if the Caps had a chance.

But once again, Washington had no answer for Arvidsson.

Backstrom tried to carry the puck into the offensive zone, but he was met and challenged by Arvidsson. Backstrom lost the puck and Arvidsson took off while Ryan Johansen grabbed the puck in the neutral zone. Johansen fed Arvidsson for the breakaway and he delivered the knockout punch.

Washington was eyeing a 3-2 game, but instead they suddenly found themselves down 4-1 and the rout was on.

Poor decisions

Give all the credit to Nashville for dominating this game, they dominated and deserved to win. Having said that, the Caps were clearly their own worst enemy in Nashville.

Tom Wilson carried the puck into the offensive zone in the first period. With no open passing lane, the only real option he had was to dump and chase or drive himself and pass back to the blue line. Instead, he forced a pass to Ovechkin who had to stop and reach back to grab the puck. He was also being covered by two players so it was no surprise when he turned the puck over. The resulting breakout led to a breakaway and Arvidsson’s first goal.

In the second period, Andre Burakovsky had the puck and looked like he had a lane to shoot or dive to the net. Instead, he pulled up and tried to cross the puck. The pass was easily picked off and Rocco Grimaldi was off in the other direction. He would finish off the play with a highlight-reel spin-o-rama goal, but it all started with a poor decision.

This game was full of those moments. Bad decision by the Caps and the puck was off in the other direction. The uglier the game got, the more Washington’s system and hockey sense went out the window. Two of Nashville’s goals came on the breakaway and one came on a two-on-one. Those type of odd-man breaks happen because of breakdowns.