Bad news: Caps defender Trevor van Riemsdyk has been added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Van Riemsdyk joins Nic Dowd, who was added to the list on Thursday.
The Washington Capitals blew a third period lead on Thursday, but this time it was a smaller lead, but thay lead was lost to a worse team, Chicago, so that’s … I dunno. Is that better?
Alex DeBrincat was first on the board, beating Vitek Vanecek on the rush. Nic Dowd finished a beautiful passing sequence to tie it early in the second period, but Domink Kubalik exploited a failed clear from Evgeny Kuznetsov to score a power-play goal. Out of spite, Kuznetsov crashed the net to even the score at 2-2 after two periods.
Coming out of the penalty box at the top of the third period, Garnet Hathaway caught a jailbreak pass from Nic Dowd to give Washington their first lead of the night. Seth Jones neutralized that lead with a goal from the slot with eight minutes left in regulation. That pushed into overtime, which was fun but fruitless.
Caps lose in the shootout.
The third period of Tuesday’s game notwithstanding, the Washington Capitals have become a fearsome defensive team this season. In this last entry (for now) of the Twenty Games In series, I’d like to dive deep into Washington’s biggest improvement of 2021-22: the defense.
The Washington Capitals looked very strong against the Florida Panthers for two periods. Unfortunately there is now a third period in hockey, and the Caps peed their pants all over it.
Connor McMichael started his good good night with a behind-the-net goal, then eleven seconds later Beck Malenstyn earned his first NHL goal. Gerontocrat Joe Thornton got Florida on the scoreboard by deflecting a shot by Aaron Ekblad, and that was one period.
The Caps added two more in the second period; first from Lars Eller on a strong drive to the net, then from Nick Jensen from a clean Nic Dowd pass to the slot.
The Panthers mounted a comeback in the third, starting with a goal by Ryan Lomberg, then a brutal shorthanded goal by Eetu Luostarinen. With 15 seconds left, Sam Reinhart beat Samsonov short-side.
Before the season began, I identified five storylines I wanted to track this year.
Now, twenty-one games into the season, let’s check the wavelengths on these vibes.
The Washington Capitals crossed the twenty-game threshold on Wednesday. That’s a totally arbitrary line I chose to stop me from making absurd judgements about the team before they’ve played many games. But now that the season’s a quarter gone, I figure we can start to draw some conclusions, even if they’re a bit rough.
I have assigned grades to the Caps’ offense, defense, goaltending, and special teams.
I’m going to need the power play to see me after class.
Happy Black Friday to all my fellow travelers here in late capitalism.
We have tried something new this holiday season. We asked folks in our community if they have any small or independent stores that sell possible holiday gifts. We got a ton of great responses, and we’ve collected them below. If you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one, consider buying something below. There lots of fun and cute ideas here, and your support will go directly to people in our extended hockey community, cutting Jeff Bezos out.
We are now twenty games into the 2021-22 season, so it’s time for us to see where we stand. There will be a bunch of nerdy analysis stuff coming up, but I want to start with the most important dimension of Capitals hockey: feelings.
Here now is the executive summary for the first happiness survey of the season. About two thousand respondents scored each Capitals player from 1 to 5, with five meaning that the respondent is very happy that the player is on the team. The results may shock you.
The Washington Capitals were due for a stinker, and a stinker is what they provided in their first-ever game against the Seattle Kraken.
Tom Wilson beat old teammate Philipp Grubauer for the Caps’ first goal of the night. Jared McCann returned fire with a power-play goal to tie the game at first intermission.
Seattle scored goals inside a minute to start the second period. First, Jaden Schwartz converted the six-on-five for a delayed penalty, then Adam Larsson got a rush goal. Calle Jarnkrok did a pretty cutback to score on an odd-man break, making it 4-1 after two periods.
The Caps pressed early in the third period and got paid back with a nifty goal from Alex Ovechkin. The Caps kept up the attack, but their old goalie was ready for them. Gourde got the empty netter.
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