Capitals Weekly – Rough Start, Better Finish

Welcome to the Capitals Weekly as we look back at the past week for the Washington Capitals as they took on the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, and New Jersey Devils. Plus we take a look at news and storylines that took place during the week of March 20th though 26th.

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  • Sunday, March 20th, 2022 – Dallas Stars v. Washington Capitals
    • Back home the Washington Capitals would welcome back Braden Holtby as they hosted the Dallas Stars for some Sunday evening action. In the first period Alexander Radulov would strike early for the Stars to take the 1-0 lead, but then this game would get chippy as Jani Hakanpaa and Jason Robertson would go to the box to give the Caps the first two powerplays of the game. However, the Caps would not capitalize on either of them and then Martin Fehervary would go to the box for tripping and that would lead to Roope Hintz striking on the powerplay to give the Stars the 2-0 lead. Late in the first Radulov would go to the box for holding, but the Caps would let that powerplay slip away from them too.
    • In the second period Jamie Benn would go to the box for tripping and 23 seconds into the powerplay Alex Ovechkin would net his 40th of the season to get the Caps on the board and cut their deficit to two. However, Nick Jensen would go off for tripping and Hintz would net his second powerplay goal of the game to retake the two goal lead for the Stars. *Editor’s Note* I didn’t see the first two periods due to traveling home from Philadelphia, but I did get to see the third period which I will now talk about.
    • Then in the third period Dmitry Orlov would unleash a wrister for his tenth of the season and to get the Caps back within one. However, the rest of the game things would get feisty between the two teams as both teams would trade powerplays once again, and then late in the period Jamie Benn would cross check John Carlson who would fall hard into the boards which would create a massive scrum behind the Caps net. The play by Benn was very dangerous and the fact that him and Tom Wilson only got matching minors for roughing is bad. Benn should be suspended for the cross check as that is something that Carlson was lucky he didn’t get seriously injured on and that the League is trying to get out of the game. At the end the Stars would hold on for the 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
  • Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 – St. Louis Blues v. Washington Capitals
    • On Tuesday night the Capitals would host the St. Louis Blues, and in the first period the Caps would start strong and as a result would get the first powerplay of the game which would see Evgeny Kuznetsov strike 12 seconds into the powerplay to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. However, moments later Brandon Saad would get around Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson for a clear track on Vitek Vanecek to tie the game at one. A little over a minute later the big rigs would get the Caps back in the lead as Anthony Mantha would feed Tom Wilson beautifully while on a two on one as Wilson would wrist it past Ville Husso to give the Caps the 2-1 lead. But late in the period Michal Kempny would get called for interference and Ryan O’Reilly would strike on the powerplay as he would be left alone on the doorstep to slam it home to tie the game back up at two.
    • In the second period things would start to get chippy as 65 seconds into the period Alexei Toropchenko would go off for tripping, but Bortuzzo and Garnet Hathaway would also get minors for cross checking and roughing respectively. The Caps would go on the powerplay, but this time they would get some looks but they weren’t quality as the Blues would kill it off. Kempny would go back to the box for the Blues to go on their second powerplay of the game, but the Caps would be up to the task and kill it off, but once again the Caps would defensively fail as former Cap Nathan Walker would be left alone on the doorstep and would knock home the puck to give the Blues the 3-2 lead. The Blues would go back on the powerplay as Mantha would go to the box for holding, and for the second penalty kill in a row the Caps would hold the Blues off the board. However, late in the period Brayden Schenn would charge the net and inadvertently knock Conor Sheary into Vanecek to get the puck into the net and grow the Blues lead to two. Shortly after Mantha and Justin Faulk would both get minors for roughing.
    • Then in the third period the Blues would just shut things down and make it impossible for the Caps to get into the offensive zone. Tom Wilson would go to the box for cross checking, but the Caps would kill off their third consecutive penalty kill in the game. Then with 29 seconds left in the game David Perron would get the empty netter to give the Blues the 5-2 victory over the Capitals.

  • Being at the game I can tell you it is very hard to put the blame on Vitek Vanecek. He played his best, but for the most part he was left out to dry by the team in front of him as there were too many defensive let downs in front of him. Vanecek also faced an unfair amount of odd man rushes too. The Caps having only 8 shots in the last 40 minutes of action was also really bad, but it showed the Blues playing precise and solid shutdown hockey. There were also a lot of instances the Caps had a good chances to score but they would pass them away. Gotta shoot on those opportunities and be a little selfish from time to time to try to get your team on the board.
  • Friday, March 25th, 2022 – Washington Capitals v. Buffalo Sabres
    • In Buffalo the Washington Capitals would look to get back in the win column as they take on the Sabres, and in the first period we wouldn’t see things open up until about the midway point of the period as Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, and Anthony Mantha would connect for some fancy passing that would lead to Mantha undressing Dustin Tokarski to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. After the goal the Caps would surge in the Sabres zone, but would be unable to score to grow their lead, and instead Jeff Skinner would get a backhander past Ilya Samsonov to tie the game at one for the Sabres. Michal Kempny would go to the box late for slashing to give the Sabres the first powerplay of the game.
    • In the second period the Sabres would have 16 seconds left in their powerplay, but the Caps would shut the Sabres powerplay down. Then as the period would become four minutes old Nick Jensen would unleash a blast from the top of the faceoff circles to give the Caps the lead back. However, Skinner would net his second of the game to tie the game again for the Sabres, and about two and a half minutes later Victor Olofsson would strike to give the Sabres the 3-2 lead. But the Caps would not lay down to the Sabres as they would call a timeout to get themselves back on track and Alex Ovechkin would unleash a bomb off of an Evgeny Kuznetsov faceoff win to tie the game at three for the Caps. Garnet Hathaway and Skinner would get minors for roughing and holding respectively for some four on four action.
    • In the third period there were some moments you’d think the Sabres would score but somehow through all of the chaos in Samsonov’s crease the puck would not get put into the net as the game would stay tied at three. Then Mark Pysyk would go to the box for interference, but the Caps would not do much with their first powerplay opportunity of the game. The third period would be scoreless for both teams, thus overtime would be needed. The Caps would get a golden opportunity in the final seconds to win it, but Tokarski would stonewall them to force the shootout which would see Ovechkin net the game winner in the shootout to give the Capitals the 4-3 victory over the Sabres.
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  • Saturday, March 26th, 2022 – New Jersey Devils v. Washington Capitals
    • To close out the week the Capitals would host the New Jersey Devils, and in the first period we would just see a pair of penalties as Alex Ovechkin would go to the box early and then Ryan Graves would take a tripping call later in the period, but on both powerplay opportunities neither team would be able to take advantage thus leaving the first period scoreless.
    • In the second period we would see some fireworks as 55 seconds into the period Jack Hughes would just snipe one past Vitek Vanecek to give the Devils the 1-0 lead, but about two minutes later Tom Wilson would jam it home to tie the game at one for the Caps. After trading goals both teams would start trading punches as Michael McLeod and Nick Jensen would get called for roughing and elbowing minors respectively but they would also both get five minute majors for fighting. After the fireworks Damon Severson would blast a bomb from the point past a screened Vanecek for the Devils to retake the one goal lead. John Carlson would take a late penalty for slashing that would carry over into the third period.
    • After the penalty kill it would some spectacular passing in the Devils zone as Connor McMichael would strike to tie the game at two. Then about four minutes later Anthony Mantha would do a chip pass to Nicklas Backstrom who would snipe it past Nico Dawes to give the Caps the 3-2 lead. Then at the midway point of the third Ty Smith would go to the box for hooking and this time the Caps would strike as Alex Ovechkin would net his 42nd of the season to give the Caps the 4-2 lead. With 32 seconds left in the game Jesper Bratt would score for the Devils, but they would not be able to claw their way back as the Capitals would hold on to defeat the Devils 4-3.
  • Scott’s TXHT Recap – Devils Fall Short in D.C.
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News and Notes

  • MoJo’s Back!
    • The Capitals traded Daniel Sprong and a pair of mid to late round picks to the Seattle Kraken for Marcus Johansson.
    • The Kraken retained 50% of Johansson’s salary
    • Johansson returns for his second stint with the Caps as he was previously with the team from 2010 through 2017 for seven seasons.
    • Johansson will be an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of this season.
  • Caps Add Offensive Depth
    • The Caps would also acquire forward Johan Larsson from Arizona for a 2023 3rd Round Pick.
    • Larsson regularly plays center, but has been out due to sports hernia surgery and has missed the Coyotes last 19 games as a result.
    • Arizona will retain 50% of Larsson’s salary, and he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Storylines

  • No major storylines this past week.

Upcoming Schedule

03-28-22 CAR v. WAS

Monday, March 28th, 2022 – v. Carolina Hurricanes – 7p ET

TV: TVAS, NBCSWA, BSS0

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