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Category: Washington-Capitals

Sidney Crosby Participated In Practice And Alex Ovechkin Moved To The Third Line

Sidney Crosby participated in practice today.

 

 

And Alex Ovechkin has been moved to the third line...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

Marc-Andre Fleury Has Been The Difference Maker

from Bill West of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Marc-Andre Fleury savored the sweat that ran down his face after Wednesday night's 3-2 win over Washington in Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

This time a season ago, his brow remained pretty dry as he watched Matt Murray propel the Penguins' Stanley Cup run. He became available in Game 3 of 2016's second-round series against the Capitals only to watch Murray put together a 47-save effort. Hopes of reclaiming the starting job looked pretty bleak after that.

At no point in this series or the previous one did Fleury present these playoffs as a redemption tour. His performance refuses to go by any other name, though. He finished with 36 saves in Game 4. He matched or exceeded 30 saves for the eighth time since the start of the playoffs.

Murray needed to stop 30-plus pucks just six times all of last postseason. But that was when the Penguins dictated terms with possession. Fleury has shined for a very different version of the team, one that arguably is far more reliant on the performance of its goaltender.

And that's still just fine by Fleury.

“I don't mind it,” he said. “I just go out and try to stop the next one. Sometimes I like to see more shots than others. I like the action. I like to contribute.

“I thought our guys did a good job of blocking them and letting me see the puck.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc-andre+fleury

Top Players Don’t Come Through For The Washington Capitals

from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,

On the one side, you have the Washington Capitals, who have three games (if they can make them necessary) to prove that their long-running act shouldn’t be blown up.

On the other, you have the Pittsburgh Penguins, seemingly a lock to win the Stanley Cup if they can just manage to lose one or two more first-line players in the coming days.

These were only a couple of things that you were left to conclude after Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, a couple of nights after Penguins’ captain and Hart Trophy finalist Sidney Crosby was helped off the ice feeling the effects of a concussion. The defending Stanley Cup winners seized a commanding 3-1 lead with the series moving on to Washington for Game 4 Saturday night.

Washington wasn’t outplayed. They managed to get 38 pucks on Marc-Andre Fleury and had another 24 shots blocked by Pittsburgh skaters. On the flipside, Braden Holtby made only 15 saves and another 11 hit Capitals defenders.

Washington was outcompeted.

"Our top guys didn’t step up," Washington coach Barry Trotz said.

continued

Game highlights are below which includes the questionable penalty call against T.J. Oshie late in the game with Washington down by a goal.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Trying To Make A Point Or Just Antagonizing?

The Characters:

Rob Rossi- I'm a flea-bit peanut monkey. All my friends are junkies. That's not really true...

Sports editor. Skeptic. Russian-leaning hockey fan. Radio hostTalking headRecovering newspaper addictAuthor(coming soon).

Barry Trotz- Head Coach of the Washington Capitals

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

“Barry, is the play by Alex that led to Sid sort of staggering into Niskanen — where he appeared to get the stick up toward the face — is that a hockey play?” Rossi asked.

“Was there a penalty?” Trotz asked. “I don’t understand . …

“Does there have to be a penalty to [not] be a hockey play?” Rossi countered. “I’m just asking. Is it a hockey play also?”

“I’m not going to defend anything,” Trotz said. “You want me to defend Alex? Then is [Chris] Kunitz’s predatory hit on [T.J.] Oshie okay? Or the one on [Nicklas] Backstrom, is that okay? I’m not gonna debate about all that stuff. So that’s a terrible question.”

“I was just asking about the stick,” Rossi said. “So, no? So, no, Barry?”

“Next,” Trotz said. “You got your answer.”

more

Rossi wasn't done, let's go to the video...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: barry+trotz, rob+rossi

Video- Sidney Crosby Takes A Cross-Check To The Head

Matt Niskanen gets a major and a game, Crosby goes to the room.

 

 

 

added 8:32pm, GIF below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+niskanen

Be Who You Are Washington

from Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post,

You would have to live somewhere between optimism and insanity to predict the Caps will win this series. NHL teams that drop the first two games of a seven-game set at home go on to lose about 80 percent of the time. The Caps have lost six straight games in Pittsburgh. They have lost eight of nine playoff series against the Penguins. We might as well rename the Potomac the Monongahela, put french fries inside our empanadas and be done with it.

Still, Washington’s only chance, it seems to me, is to ease back into the team it’s been for the past two years. Don’t try to reinvent yourself in May. Don’t worry about flipping your lines. Don’t bother scratching 15-goal scorer Brett Connolly in favor of Paul Carey, who recorded zero NHL points this season. And there is really no need to bench a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, who boasts some of the best postseason goaltending statistics in the history of the league, even if you’re not thrilled with his play.

I argued this point with dozens of Caps fans online Sunday morning, and they mostly disagreed with me, applauding Trotz for yanking Holtby in the middle of his second straight disappointing outing. It’s a standard NHL move, one that wasn’t particularly surprising — or effective.

I would just counter that these Capitals have a tortured, agonizing, abusive playoff history. The organization is shrouded by a nasty mist that shimmers with impending doom. This team needs calm faith right now, not a leadership ready to fling its controller into the wall and rage-quit the game.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Washington Capitals Are In A Deep Hole

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

So here we are again, in late April, absolutely panicking. The Washington Capitals, for enormous stretches of two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, have orchestrated essentially the best hockey they can play. They have, by a wide margin, more shots. They have held the puck more. And they have led for exactly zero minutes.

The result: They have lost twice, and they’re flailing. Their goalie — supposed to be a backbone — has instead broken down, and he was yanked before the start of the third period Saturday night. Their arch-nemesis, Sidney Crosby, has all but toyed with them, putting the puck between his legs like a Globetrotter on ice, scoring goals and assisting on others. And Verizon Center grows quieter still.

So the questions have now shifted from, “Can the Caps finally vanquish the Penguins?” to “Will the District host another hockey game again this spring?”

Put aside whatever the Caps said after this one, a 6-2 loss in Game 2 of their second-round series. After all these playoff series over all these springs, words are empty. We have heard about playing “desperate hockey.” We have heard about the “resolve in the room.” We have heard about how “this team is different.”

There is, at the moment, no evidence of any of that.

continued

Below, watch the game highlights...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Slow Start Cost The Washington Capitals Last Night

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

It doesn’t take long at all to lose a playoff hockey game, which is obvious and perplexing at the same time. It takes 60 minutes to win one — at least — and we can all agree on that. But somehow, they can be lost in a single shift or a matter of seconds, in the amount of time it takes to read this paragraph.

The Washington Capitals will wake up Friday morning and rue the third-period goal from Nick Bonino, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ third-line center who was last seen finishing the Capitals off in overtime of Game 6 last May, beginning summer in Washington a month early. On Thursday, in the opener of their second-round series at Verizon Center, it was somehow Bonino on the breakaway, Bonino outracing Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik to free himself for the shot, Bonino beating Braden Holtby to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 victory.

That’s the game-winner for Pittsburgh, and it can’t be disputed. But was it the game-loser for the Caps?

Washington trails in the nascent stages of this series not solely because of that goal. It trails because when it returned to the ice after the first intermission of a scoreless, feel-each-other-out game, it did so without its full faculties. It took just 12 seconds for one Pittsburgh goal, another 52 seconds for the next, and — boom! — previously pulsing Verizon Center was quiet, and the Penguins had a 2-0 lead.

continued

Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Without Kris Letang, The Pittsburgh Penguins Are In Trouble Against The Washington Capitals

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

On March 12, I wrote on these pages the Penguins can’t win the Stanley Cup without Kris Letang. Not much room for misinterpretation there. Well, I’d like to amend that declaration just a bit this morning. Only a fool would write off a team coached by Mike Sullivan and led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, a team with the collective heart of a champion. Of course, the Penguins can win if puck-luck is on their side and everything goes their way.

But I still don’t see it happening.

I don’t see a second consecutive Cup.

I don’t see the Penguins beating the Washington Capitals.

That’s no disrespect toward the Penguins or their group of defensemen. That’s tremendous respect for Letang, a one-of-a-kind player on his team.

I know the Capitals’ history works against them. The Penguins have won eight of nine playoff series against them, including last spring when they took the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals out in six incredible games. I also know the pressure on Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington team. Crosby’s teams have won everything, including multiple Cups and multiple Olympic gold medals. Ovechkin’s teams have won nothing. The Capitals haven’t even made it past the second round of the playoffs in the Ovechkin era.

But it’s awfully difficult for a team to win the Cup without a star defenseman.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Close But No Cigar For The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

It was more of a beginning than an ending for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Oh, Air Canada Centre hushed when Marcus Johansson scored 6:31 into overtime Sunday, giving the Washington Capitals a 2-1 win and eliminating the Maple Leafs in six games in the Eastern Conference First Round.

But as the Maple Leafs consoled goaltender Frederik Andersen, the fans applauded. As the players looked up at the scoreboard screen for a replay of the winning goal, the fans chanted, "Go Leafs Go!"

"It gives you goose bumps, even after it ended right there, just how loud the building got for us," Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk said. "They know how far we've come and the effort we've put forth. We're proud to play for this city and for those fans. I think there's a bright future for us."

A year ago, the Maple Leafs missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons. They finished 30th in the NHL standings, dead last.

And here they were as the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, facing a team that had won the Presidents' Trophy as the League's top regular-season team for the second straight season, a popular pick to win it all.

It was a matchup that would have been No. 8 vs. No. 1 in the old seeding system, a mismatch on paper and in pixels, and it wasn't a mismatch at all.

It was a classic.

The Maple Leafs and Capitals played six one-goal games. Five went to overtime, tying the NHL record for a playoff series. The Capitals scored 18 goals, the Maple Leafs 16. The Maple Leafs took 213 shots, the Capitals 211.

continued

Game 6 highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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