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Capitals Insider: December 19, 2010 - December 25, 2010

John Carlson, Karl Alzner pairing has impressed despite growing pains

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) In the last 55 seconds of regulation against the Penguins on Thursday, John Carlson and Karl Alzner were on the ice as the Capitals' defensive pairing. For the final 3:55 in overtime of that eventual 3-2 shootout loss to Pittsburgh, at least one member of...

By Katie Carrera  | December 25, 2010; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  John Carlson, Karl Alzner  
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Statistical analysis: Is the Caps' power play better without Alex Ovechkin?

Alex Ovechkin has seen 189 minutes of power-play time for the Caps but has not scored a goal in the last 80-plus man-advantage opportunities. He is one of the best players in the world, but when the best player has only two power-play goals with nearly half the season in...

By Neil Greenberg  | December 25, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Power play, Statistical analysis  
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Winter Classic prep underway at Heinz Field

As soon as the Pittsburgh Steelers' game ended last night, Heinz Field began to morph into a hockey rink. Here's a live view of the setup courtesy of NHL.com: (Read more about the transformation over at the Early Lead.)...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | December 24, 2010; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Capitals' penalty kill shines in shootout loss

There will be plenty of talk about Washington's continued struggles on the power play in the aftermath of Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to Pittsburgh, but perhaps overlooked was the perfect performance turned in by the Capitals' sometimes-maligned penalty kill unit. Washington was 5 for 5 when the Penguins went to...

By Mark Giannotto  | December 24, 2010; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Penalty kill, Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Fantastic Fleury saves the Pens

The latest installment of the Capitals-Penguins rivalry appeared to get off to exactly the start Washington would have wished for. Forward Brooks Laich broke free for a scoring chance off a takeaway just 30 seconds into the contest. Captain Alex Ovechkin soon followed with consecutive knockdown hits on Pittsburgh's Evgeni...

By Mark Giannotto  | December 24, 2010; 7:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Caps fall to Penguins, 3-2, in shootout

It's hard to feel like the seventh round of a shootout was a fitting ending to what was 65 minutes of playoff-style hockey, with the Capitals and Penguins exchanging a multitude of hits and exciting plays (even if there weren't seven goals in this one). But that's the way it...

By Katie Carrera  | December 24, 2010; 12:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green, Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Penguins

The Washington Capitals (20-12-4) and Pittsburgh Penguins (23-10-2) tend to put on an offensive show when they play each other, and here's hoping this Winter Classic preview with HBO cameras rolling is no exception. The Caps have turned around an eight-game skid to win two straight, and the Pens are...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | December 23, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (141)
Categories:  Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Tonight's lineup: Penguins at Caps

This is a potential statement game for Washington, arguably more so than for Pittsburgh, and everyone involved is aware of it. Neither team needs any extra energy or motivation to play well tonight so this one ought to be fun. "I don't think the [Winter Classic] nine days away really,...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Lineups, Pittsburgh Penguins  
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If Caps-Pens history is any indication, get ready for fireworks

In the last eight regular-season meetings between the Capitals and Penguins, games from 2008-09 and 2009-10, no less than seven goals were scored in each contest while half ended with nine goals total on the scoreboard. One thing is certain when these two star-laden teams meet up: While you're never...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Pittsburgh Penguins, Power play  
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Gearing up for Caps vs. Pens, Part I

Here's some afternoon reading and watching material to pass the time until tonight's first Capitals-Penguins showdown of the season: *Our Box Seats bloggers tackle HBO's "24/7" and the Caps-Pens rivalry. *Caps talk Christmas: (On Frozen Blog) *Andrew Gordon on celebrating his first NHL goal by kissing Marcus Johansson: "I don't...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 23, 2010; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Caps teammates: Mike Knuble has the respect of the room

(Photo via D.C. Sports Bog) During the Capitals' eight-game losing streak, some fans and media types raised questions about the leadership in the Washington dressing room and organization. In the second episode of HBO's "24/7" part of the team's leadership was on significant display when producers included the clip...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 1:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  John Carlson, Mike Knuble  
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Neuvirth gets fourth straight start, will face Penguins for the first time

As expected, Michal Neuvirth was the first goaltender off the ice for the Capitals this morning and looks to be getting the start against the Penguins at Verizon Center, as Coach Bruce Boudreau alluded he would several times. This will be Neuvirth's first career appearance against the Penguins, who are...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Injuries, Jeff Schultz, Matt Bradley, Matt Hendricks  
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Live Caps Q&A: Today, 12 p.m.

It's time for another live Caps Q&A today at noon. So if you haven't already, submit your questions about the Capitals matchup with the Penguins tonight at Verizon Center, HBO's "24/7" and any other burning inquiries you might have before the league's two-day winter break. You can submit questions and...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Episode 2 of 24/7: There's a lobster in your jacket

Buzz awaiting for the second episode of HBO's "24/7" escalated even more after the Capitals snapped their losing streak with a 3-2 win in Ottawa this past Sunday. People wanted to know what was said in the locker room in between the first and second period, what helped the Capitals...

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 7:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  HBO 24/7, Morning Roundup  
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Penguins a 'measuring stick' for Capitals

Coach Bruce Boudreau called it a "mini turnaround" that the Capitals are on right now, adding that he'd only deem his team officially past the eight-game losing streak until they won 10 straight. And he was only partially joking. While two straight wins are definitely a welcome change for Washington...

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Pittsburgh Penguins, Power play  
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Sidney Crosby congratulated Andrew Gordon on first NHL goal

Andrew Gordon apologized Wednesday morning for tarnishing what is the popular opinion of Sidney Crosby in the Washington metro area, when he called the Penguins' captain a "good guy." Gordon and Crosby are both natives of Nova Scotia -- Halifax and Cole Harbour, respectively -- and although they're separated by...

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Andrew Gordon, Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Boudreau on players in scoring slump: 'It's up to them'

Some quick practice updates from KCI: --Bruce Boudreau said it was a maintenance day for Tom Poti, meaning he didn't take part in practice to rest. --Matt Hendricks said he believes he'll be ready to play tomorrow if needed against the Penguins. Boudreau wouldn't tip his hand as to whether...

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
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Tom Poti not practicing, Caps prospect Patrick Wey makes U.S. WJC team

The Caps just started practice at KCI and Tom Poti is perhaps the only unexpected player missing from the ice. Neither Matt Bradley, who will be out 2-4 weeks with a broken finger, nor Boyd Gordon (undisclosed) are skating. Eric Fehr is back after spending time with his family following...

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
Categories:  Tom Poti  
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More on Andrew Gordon's first NHL goal

Scoring that first goal is a moment that players wait for when they start getting a crack at the NHL, but when it happened for Andrew Gordon last night in the Capitals' 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils he didn't know quite what to do. "It was good. I...

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Andrew Gordon, Morning Roundup  
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Capitals beat Devils 5-1, lose Matt Bradley for 2-4 weeks

With news after the game that Matt Bradley will miss the next two to four weeks with a broken finger, it sets an even bigger stage for two call-ups from the Hershey Bears who had strong showings Tuesday night against the Devils. Andrew Gordon potted his first NHL goal and...

By Katie Carrera  | December 21, 2010; 11:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Andrew Gordon, Injuries, Jay Beagle, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Matt Bradley, Michal Neuvirth, New Jersey Devils  | Tags:  Hershey Bears, Matt Bradley, Washington Capitals  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Devils

The Washington Capitals (19-12-4) are back in the 'W' column and hoping they can stay there after snapping an eight-game skid Sunday in Ottawa. The injury-laden New Jersey Devils (9-21-2), meantime, are coming off their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 7-1 loss Saturday in Atlanta. Tonight's Caps lineup...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | December 21, 2010; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (141)
Categories:  New Jersey Devils  
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Tonight's lineup: Devils at Caps

After the win in Ottawa, Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth said he was happy to have the opportunity to build up some momentum and confidence with two straight starts. He'll have the chance to keep that going with at least a third start tonight as Washington hosts the New Jersey Devils...

By Katie Carrera  | December 21, 2010; 7:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Lineups, New Jersey Devils  
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Injury-riddled Devils have had it even worse than Caps

As frustrating as things have been for the Capitals the past few weeks, it is practically nothing compared to what tonight's opponent has dealt with all season. The New Jersey Devils visit Verizon Center tonight sporting a dismal 9-21-2 record for a 20-point total that is the second-lowest in the...

By Greg Schimmel  | December 21, 2010; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (128)
Categories:  New Jersey Devils  
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Caps look to get power play clicking again vs. Devils

The Caps have converted just two of 24 power-play opportunities over their past six games, and they are hoping some extra effort close to the net will help to turn things around. The team has emphasized getting more bodies near the crease when it has a man advantage the past...

By Greg Schimmel  | December 21, 2010; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
Categories:  Power play  
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Matt Hendricks doubtful vs. Devils, Alexander Semin a 'game-time decision'

Bruce Boudreau said winger Matt Hendricks is doubtful for tonight's game against New Jersey with an undisclosed injury, while Alexander Semin will be a "game-time decision." Hendricks was unexpectedly absent this morning when the Capitals held their morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, while Semin participated in the entire roughly...

By Greg Schimmel  | December 21, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Statistical analysis: The emergence of Mathieu Perreault

Back in October, Mathieu Perreault was sent back to Hershey during training camp to make room for former first-round pick Marcus Johansson, whom the coaches said had "more defensive upside." That would all change with the trade of Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche, providing an opportunity once again for...

By Neil Greenberg  | December 21, 2010; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Statistical analysis  
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Mathieu Perreault still seeking consistency

Sitting at his locker on Monday afternoon, Mathieu Perreault said he aspires mostly for consistency -- creating opportunities with his passing on a game-to-game basis. So his two-goal performance that sparked the Capitals to a 3-2 win on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators was distinctive as much because Perreault does...

By Paul Tenorio  | December 21, 2010; 7:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault, Morning Roundup  
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Alex Ovechkin is memorable

This week's "Year in Sports" issue of Sports Illustrated comes out Wednesday, and it features a photo essay on the year's 10 most memorable athletes -- including Caps star Alex Ovechkin -- by longtime sports photographer Walter Iooss Jr. Of Ovechkin, Iooss said: "I wanted to shoot Ovechkin because of...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 20, 2010; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
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Despite relief of ending slump, Caps 'can't just relax right now'

After his team fell behind by two goals in the first period Sunday in Ottawa, Coach Bruce Boudreau entered the locker room and told the Capitals that the upcoming period was likely the most important they would face all season. By Monday morning, after Washington had scored three goals in...

By Paul Tenorio  | December 20, 2010; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Eric Fehr will likely miss Tuesday's game; Alexander Semin doubtful

Eric Fehr will likely miss tomorrow night's game against the New Jersey Devils due to a death in the family, Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said. Fehr was praised for his strong play in the third period of the Capitals' loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday and then had another...

By Paul Tenorio  | December 20, 2010; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Eric Fehr  
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Michal Neuvirth regains some confidence after win in Ottawa

Semyon Varlamov walked through the visitor's dressing room doorway, patted his counterpart on the shoulder and gave a nod to acknowledge Michal Neuvirth's part in snapping the Capitals' losing streak at eight games. It might not have been a flawless game, but for Neuvirth, who hadn't won since Nov. 17...

By Katie Carrera  | December 20, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth  
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Penalty kill comes up big for Caps against Senators

Michal Neuvirth said he lived the waning moments of the Capitals' eventual 3-2 win over Ottawa "minute to minute" and for good reason. There couldn't have been a more tense scenario in the third period as Washington killed off three penalties in the final 13 minutes of regulation to preserve...

By Katie Carrera  | December 20, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  Morning Roundup, Penalty kill  
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Caps snap losing streak, beat Senators, 3-2

While the Capitals haven't been all doom and gloom during their eight-game losing streak, the jubilation in the dressing room after a 3-2 win over the Senators that ended the skid was a definite contrast to the somber mood these past few weeks. The players were yelling and joking around...

By Katie Carrera  | December 20, 2010; 12:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault, Ottawa Senators  
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Caps end losing streak against Senators, 3-2

The Capitals scored three goals in the second period after falling behind 2-0 to finally snap an eight-game skid, beating the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, at Scotiabank Place. Mathieu Perreault scored twice and Eric Fehr added a goal and an assist to help Washington collect its first victory since Dec. 1....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 19, 2010; 10:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Tonight's lineup: Caps at Senators

The Capitals are set to try to snap their losing streak at eight games tonight in Ottawa. If they cannot, this skid would match the nine-game slide in 2006-07 as the worst slump since a 13-game losing streak in the 1981-82 season. Washington is 2-3-1 in the second of back-to-back...

By Katie Carrera  | December 19, 2010; 7:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (192)
Categories:  Lineups, Ottawa Senators  
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Open thread: Capitals at Senators

Mired in an eight-game losing skid, the Washington Capitals (18-12-4) have dropped to third in the Southeast Division standings. Can they finally break out tonight when they visit the Ottawa Senators (14-16-4) at Scotiabank Place? Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | December 19, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Ottawa Senators  
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Caps can't complete comeback against Bruins, drop eighth straight

Several players and Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about how on the bench there was a feeling that continued to propel the Capitals forward. A feeling that previously might have made a comeback almost a guarantee, but during this slump there are few things Washington can expect to happen as they...

By Katie Carrera  | December 19, 2010; 12:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (224)
Categories:  Boston Bruins, Bruce Boudreau, Eric Fehr, Karl Alzner  
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