Welcome to the Capitals Weekly as we look back at the past week for the Washington Capitals as they took on the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Plus we take a look at news and storylines that took place during the week of February 20th though 26th.
- Thursday, February 24th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. New York Rangers
- After a full week off the Capitals return to action as the head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers. In the Big Apple the Caps would not come out strong against the Rangers. Around the 13 minute mark Mika Zibanejad would strike to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead. At the end of the period Ryan Strome would get called for Tripping to give the Caps the powerplay to start the second period. The Caps would out shoot the Rangers 11 to 7 in the first period, but most of the Caps shots were not high quality ones.
- Going into the second period with a full two minute powerplay, the Caps would squander it as Alex Ovechkin would go to the box midway through it for hooking. The Caps would get another chance much later in the period as Chris Kreider would go to the box for high sticking, but once again the Caps would fumble it as they wouldn’t be able to convert on the powerplay opportunity. In the final minutes of the period Alexis Lafreniere would deflect a Ryan Lindgren shot to grow the Rangers lead to two. However, Ryan Strome would the second period the same way he ended the first as he would take another tripping penalty to give the Caps the powerplay to start the third period.
- In the third period the Capitals would squander yet another powerplay opportunity, and then go shorthanded themselves as Martin Fehervary would head to the box for holding as the Rangers would get their first full powerplay opportunity. While the Caps would shut down the Rangers powerplay moments later Chris Kreider would score on a listless Ilya Samsonov to grow the Rangers lead to three. Minutes later Barclay Goodrow would score five hole on Samsonov to give the Rangers the commanding four goal lead. After that goal Julien Gauthier would go to the box for holding, but let’s be serious, the Caps did nothing again. Both Ryan Lindgren and Conor Sheary would get minors for roughing and slashing to end their nights, and with 62 seconds left in the game Alex Ovechkin would net his 32nd of the season, and four behind Jaromir Jagr for third all time, to get the Caps on the board, but ultimately the Rangers would take this game 4-1 over the Capitals.
- Some thoughts on this one. Outside of the abysmal powerplay, and some listless goaltending from Ilya Samsonov (he should of had the last two Ranger goals), the Caps looked lackluster throughout the game. Sure they outshoot the Rangers 37 to 21, but how many of those shots were really high quality shots? Also, when the Caps had opportunities to have high quality scoring chances they miffed on them or made bad passes.
- Also we need to talk about the narrative. This was the Caps first game on ESPN. Like on actual television ESPN, and not ESPN+ online, and the narrative was right off the bat demonizing Tom Wilson and glorifying Ryan Reaves. Reaves is a career fourth liner who is more of a liability to his team then anything else. Especially come the playoffs. The narrative by ESPN was really bad. Especially since the entire Capitals team looked off. So targeting Wilson and making it as if Reaves was the biggest reason the game went the way it did was completely unnecessary and mostly false too. If anything Reaves’ biggest contribution was on the Goodrow goal because credit is due when credit is earned. Reaves forced Ovechkin to lose the puck twice and set the play for the Goodrow goal. He deserves that credit, but not for how the entire game went. The Caps were lackluster from start to finish so that’s not on Reaves, that’s on the Caps not coming into New York with their A game.
- Side note, when not pushing the narrative I will give the announcers credit as they called the game really well and didn’t do a lot of that nonsense garbage banter that we get on the local and TNT broadcasts. They called the game and I loved it.
- Saturday, February 26th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. Philadelphia Flyers
- In Philadelphia the Washington Capitals would come to town to face the Flyers, and 11 seconds into the game Claude Giroux would strike to give the Flyers the fast 1-0 lead. Seconds later Isaac Ratcliffe would get called for tripping, but the Caps would fail to capitalize on the powerplay opportunity. Then later in the period Tom Wilson and Zack MacEwen would drop the gloves, but MacEwen would get an additional minor for roughing to put the Caps on the powerplay again. However, the Caps would fail with the opportunity, and once the powerplay had ended Cam Atkinson would strike to give the Flyers the 2-0 lead.
- In the second period Isaac Ratcliffe would go back to the box, but this time for interference, and the third time would be the charm as TJ Oshie would strike for his sixth of the season to get the Caps on the board and cut the Flyers lead to one. Later in the period Nic Dowd would go to the box for roughing and then Martin Fehervary would get called for interference to give the Flyers and abbreviated two man advantage, but the Caps would be up to the task to stay down by only one.
- In the third period nothing of note happened as the Flyers would hold on to defeat the Capitals 2-1.
News and Notes
- The Caps Tuning out Peter Laviolette?
- I know I’ve put a lot of emphasis on Blaine Forsythe and the struggling powerplay, but this week looked a lot worse. The Caps looked lackluster against the Rangers, who they needed to beat, and then they looked listless against the Flyers, who they should have beat due to how poor they have been playing this season. Could there be a bigger issue, and is it that the players are tuning out Laviolette thus creating these lackluster and listless showings?
Monday, February 24th, 2022 – v. Toronto Maple Leafs – 730p ET
TV: SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW, TVAS, NBCSWA
Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 – v. Carolina Hurricanes – 7p ET
TV: ESPN+, Hulu
Saturday, March 5th, 2022 – v. Seattle Kraken – 7p ET
TV: NBCSWA, ROOT-NW