New York Islanders v Washington Capitals

Ovechkin and Brouwer conjure late magic for Capitals


After losing six of seven games and just generally looking like the polar opposite of the team that once captivated the NHL, the Washington Capitals are showing that they might still have some magic left after winning three in a row.

Tonight’s win was by far the most magical.

The New York Islanders have been a scrappier team than most probably realize, but the bottom line is that the Caps need to win games like these. Matt Moulson made it 2-0 a few minutes into the the third period, but Washington showed that it might not go away easily after all.

Troy Brouwer scored two late goals (including one with just 26 seconds left) to tie it up and then Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight reel overtime-winner to give the Caps the 3-2 OT win – and the East’s eighth spot in the process.

Updating the Southeast and lower East

The Florida Panthers dismantled the Toronto Maple Leafs, so Washington was unable to make up ground for the Southeast Division title. The Panthers maintained their three-point lead and hold a game in hand, so they’re in control at the moment.

If you’re weird like me and wonder if the Caps might actually benefit from full-fledged underdog status, then this situation is looking promising, though. Washington isn’t just in eighth place, they hold a one-point lead (and two games in hand) over division rivals Winnipeg and must feel great seeing the Maple Leafs sink into the remarkable logjam right outside the East’s playoffs:

8. Washington: 69 points (19 games remaining)

9. Winnipeg: 68 points (17 GR)
10. Toronto: 65 points (19 GR)
11. Tampa Bay: 64 points (19 GR)

12. Buffalo: 62 points (20 GR)
13. Carolina: 61 points (19 GR)
14. NY Islanders: 61 points (19 GR)

15. Montreal: 58 points (18 GR)

(Note: I broke the teams into groups based on my subjective views of their playoff chances. Feel free to disagree.)


I don’t know about you, but the Capitals look like they have a great chance to lock up that final East playoff spot. For all their flaws and negative news clippings, they’d make an awfully interesting first round foil to the New York Rangers for two reasons:

1. The Capitals were the first seed and the Rangers were the eighth seed in the 2011 playoffs.

2. Ovechkin’s Capitals have booted Henrik Lundqvist’s team out of the playoffs in both meetings.

Yup, that sounds juicy to me – but obviously we’re a long way from that actually happening – especially if the Caps just go and win the Southeast.

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.