PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 7: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 7, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penguins add to Capitals’ misery, Ovechkin disgusted


The Washington Capitals have made the playoffs for five straight campaigns, but that streak is in serious jeopardy of ending this season.

Washington collapsed under the weight of the Penguins’ attack in the second period. During that frame, Pittsburgh fired a staggering 18 shots, capitalized on all three of its power-play opportunities, and five different Penguins’ found the back of the net.

Capitals coach Adam Oates, with the season already slipping away, was quick to pull goaltender Michal Neuvirth in favor of Braden Holtby, but that didn’t slow his team’s downfall. Alex Ovechkin’s efforts were equally ineffective, although he did end up with a goal and an assist in Washington’s 5-2 loss.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Capitals forward Troy Brouwer said simply, according to the Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno.

Capitals captain Ovechkin appeared to be disgusted when it was time for his post-game press conference. He kept his answers brief for the most part and backed Brouwer’s assessment, based on the Washingon Times’ report.

Ovechkin added that the Capitals need to play with more emotion.

“We can play like that, we can start play like, we get a lead and, you know, we stop playing,” Ovechkin said. “Second period, stupid penalties. I don’t know.”

When asked how upset he was that he didn’t start the game, Ovechkin answered, “Angry enough.”

The Capitals are dead last in the NHL with a 2-8-1 record. That represents just under a quarter of the shortened season gone with very little to show for it.


Crosby surprised by Ovechkin’s struggles, sure he’ll bounce back

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.