Welcome to the Capitals Weekly as we look back at the past week for the Washington Capitals as they took on the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks. Plus we take a look at news and storylines that took place during the week of March 6th though 12th.
- Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. Calgary Flames
- Out in Western Canada to begin their three game road trip the Capitals would take on the Calgary Flames, and in the first period the Caps would go shorthanded quickly as Nick Jenson would go to the box for holding 32 seconds into the game. the Caps would be up to the task as they would kill off the penalty. It would look like the Flames would get the lead a little after the powerplay ended but the play would be deemed offsides on a coach’s challenge nullifying the goal. Then the Caps would get a powerplay opportunity themselves as Rasmus Andersson would go to the box for hooking, and while the Caps would get some looks, they would not capitalize on their first powerplay opportunity of the game. However, 11 seconds after the powerplay would end it would be a bad pinch by Justin Schultz that would lead to a three on one for the Flames and Elias Lindholm would net his 28th of the season to give the Flames the 1-0 lead. The Caps would get some chances after going down by one, but it would either be a bad bounce or the post coming to the rescue for the Flames as they take the one goal lead into the first intermission.
- In the second period Noah Hanafin would go to the box to give the Caps their second powerplay, but once again the Caps would go shot-less on the extra man advantage. A couple minutes after killing the penalty Adam Ruzicka would strike to grow the Flames lead to two after another bad breakdown by the Caps defensively. However, less than two minutes later the Caps would start to swing the momentum in their favor as Conor Sheary would take advantage of a Milan Lucic turnover to get the Caps on the board. then Alex Ovechkin would lead the charge as he would throw a good clean hit to cause the turnover that would lead to his 35th of the season and one goal behind Jaromir Jagr for third all time in goal scoring to tie the game at two for the Caps. In the second period the Flames would outshoot the Caps 15 to 7.
- In the opening minutes of the third period Oliver Kylington would blast a shot past a heavily screened Vitek Vanecek to give the Flames the 3-2 lead. The Flames would keep up the pressure in the Caps zone, but Anthony Mantha would strike to tie the game back up at three for the Caps. Moments later Ruzicka would go to the box to put the Caps on the powerplay for the third time this game. The Caps would have great zone time on this powerplay, but the Flames penalty killers would be up to task and make some amazing shot blocks on Ovechkin to kill the penalty, but moments after the powerplay expired Nic Dowd would strike to give the Caps the 4-3 lead. Then with the goalie pulled Ovechkin would hit the empty netter to record his second goal of the game to tie Jagr with 766 career NHL goals for third all time, and to give the Capitals the 5-3 lead. However, before the game could end Elias Lindholm would net his second of the game to cut the Flames deficit to one, but the Capitals would hold on to defeat the Flames 5-4.
- Wednesday, March 9th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. Edmonton Oilers
- The Capitals would continue their Western Canada road trip with their second straight night of action as they head to Edmonton to take on the Edmonton Oilers. In the first period the Caps would have a strong start, but then Dmitry Orlov would go to the box for roughing to give the Oilers the first powerplay of the game. The Oilers would get six shots on goal but Ilya Samsonov would fight them all off to keep the game scoreless. Then later in the period Martin Fehervary would go off on a questionable interference call to put the Oilers back on the powerplay, but once again they would not be able to capitalize on the man advantage. The Oilers would outshoot the Caps 20 to 9 in the scoreless period.
- In the second period Nicklas Backstrom would be given a gift as he would find the loose puck in the slot area and backhand it five hole through Mikko Koskinen to give the Caps the early 1-0 lead. Shortly after taking the lead the Caps would get a pair of powerplay opportunities of their own as Zach Hyman would go off for holding and Evander Kane for tripping, but despite getting some really good looks on the powerplays, the Caps would not be able to convert to grow their lead. However, the Caps would get called for too many players to put the Oilers back on the powerplay, and this time the Oilers would convert as Kailer Yamamoto would redirect the puck with a tip in the crease to tie the game at one. Moments later Warren Foegele would go to the box for holding, but the Caps would not convert on the opportunity, especially after having a powerplay goal overturned due to a coach’s challenge for offsides, and instead the Oilers would strike as Cody Ceci would bat in the rebound past Samsonov to give the Oilers the 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
- Then in the third period Evgeny Kuznetsov would go to the box for hooking, but on the final powerplay of the game for the Oilers, they would not be able to score to grow their lead. Then William Lagesson would go to the box for tripping, and this time the Caps would get their powerplay goal as TJ Oshie would score a beauty to tie the game at two. Plus with the assist on Oshie’s powerplay tally Backstrom recorded his 1000th career NHL point. A little over four minutes later Brad Malone would strike for his first of the season to give the Oilers the lead back, but with two seconds left in regulation Oshie would net his second of the game with a bomb from the blue line to tie the game at three and send the game to overtime.
- In the extra frame both teams would generate quality scoring chances, but in the end it would be the odd man rush with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that would see McDavid net the winner to give the Oilers the 4-3 victory over the Capitals.
- Couple notes on this one. Unlike with the Flames game the night before, this game I do have some thoughts to bring up. The first one being Ilya Samsonov. After three straight starts from Vitek Vanecek, and three wins to boot, Samsonov was given the start on the second night of the Caps back to back. Samsonov looked like he was fighting the puck all night long, and his rebound control was all over the place once again. However, this game he did not look lackluster or listless so that was a plus. He did make a lot of really important saves on a lot of shots he needed to stop. Overall, his rebound control, and about two goals that he should have had were his undoing and ending the Caps three game winning streak.
- The other note I have is Ovechkin. On the cusp of passing Jaromir Jagr it was evident Ovi was motivated to score, but unfortunately it would not go his way as Mikko Koskinen would make some grand saves, and the Oilers defense were ready and willing to block his shots. Also the lack of a little puck luck was also evident. Ovi would end the game with 8 shots on goal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still gets 767 on this trip.
- Friday, March 11th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. Vancouver Canucks
- In Vancouver the Capitals would conclude their Western Canada road trip with a battle against the Canucks. In the first period Evgeny Kuznetsov would open the scoring for the Caps after Vitek Vanecek would make a huge save at the other end of the ice, and man was this an awkward goal for Kuzy as it would be a weird bounce off the boards that he would redirect past an unsuspecting Thatcher Demko to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. seconds later Nils Hoglander would go to the box for holding, and on the powerplay Alex Ovechkin would unleash a bomb and while it was trickling on the goal line behind Demko Kuznetsov would bury it home to grow the Caps lead to two with his second goal in 43 seconds. Later in the period the Canucks would get a solid opportunity, but luck would be on the Caps side still with the bounces, but Nic Dowd would go to the box for cross checking to put the Canucks on the powerplay. The Canucks would not convert on that powerplay, and then Oliver Ekman-Larsson would get called for hooking to put the Caps back on the powerplay, however, the Caps would not be able to generate anything on this powerplay, but the Caps would take the 2-0 lead to the first intermission.
- The second period would be a rather quiet period. No penalties, and no goals. Some nice opportunities for both teams, but overall a very quiet period.
- Then in the third period Quinn Hughes would unleash a bullet from the point and through traffic to beat Vanecek to get the Canucks on the board 57 seconds into the period. Moments later Lars Eller would go to the box for tripping, and on the powerplay Bo Horvat would strike from the slot and top shelf to tie the game at two. However, Horvat would not be done there as the Caps defenders would not clean up the garbage in front of the net as Horvat would get the rebound to give the Canucks the 3-2 lead. Later in the period Tyler Myers would go to the box for an illegal check to the head, and on the powerplay Kuznetsov would strike for the third time to complete the hat trick and to force overtime. In the extra frame the Caps would only need 42 seconds as John Carlson would set Eller loose and he would shoot the puck five hole on Demko to give the Capitals the 4-3 victory over the Canucks.
News and Notes
- Ovi Ties Jagr
- In Calgary the Capitals captain would net a pair of goals to tie former Capital Jaromir Jagr for third all time with 766 goals. Alex Ovechkin almost surpassed Jagr with a second empty netter to complete a hat trick, but the Flames defender would not let that happen. Against both Edmonton and Vancouver Ovi would try his best and would have a lot of great scoring chances, but would not be able to get goal number 767.
- Ovi and Backy Reach 1000 Games Together
- Also in Calgary Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom would play in their 1000th NHL game together becoming the ninth duo to do so.
- Backy Records 1000 Points
- The next night in Edmonton Backstrom would record a goal and an assist to reach the 1000 point plateau. Backy would become the first player from the 2006 Draft class to reach the plateau, and 93rd player in NHL history to hit 1000 points.
- Powerplay Continuing to Improve.
- In a week over shadowed by the milestones of Ovechkin and Backstrom, the Caps powerplay’s resurgence since January 28th has been a positive story for the team. As shown in the tweet below from Japers’ Rink, the Caps have the third most efficient powerplay since that date, and have been contributing at higher levels than in the earlier half of the season. The continued health of the team and return of key cogs like Anthony Mantha have greatly improved the teams special teams unit.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 – v. New York Islanders – 7p ET
TV: NBCSWA,SNE, SNO, SNP, MSG+
Thursday, March 17th, 2022 – @ Columbus Blue Jackets – 7p ET
TV: BSOH, NBCSWA
Friday, March 18th, 2022 – @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7p ET
TV: NBCSWA+, BSSO
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