Tag: Washington Capitals

Troy Brouwer

No White House bump for Kings: Capitals shutout defending champs


The Los Angeles Kings got an opportunity to enjoy their past accomplishments on Monday when President Barack Obama honored them for winning the Stanley Cup last year. The following day, the Kings went to the Verizon Center where they received a harsh reminder that they’re not that team anymore.

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby turned aside all 27 shots he faced in Washington’s 4-0 victory over Los Angeles. Troy Brouwer accounted for the Capitals’ first two goals, although he got plenty of help on the game winner:

With this loss, the Kings have dropped to 2-5-4 following their win against Vancouver on Jan. 1. Speaking of the Canucks, the Kings trail them by three points in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. That’s not a huge gap, but it’s made worse by the fact that Vancouver has played in two fewer contests.

Los Angeles could still turn this campaign around and have a strong postseason. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Kings have done better in the playoffs compared to the regular season. However, this season’s edition of the Kings still has plenty to prove as it faces the possibility of being the first iteration since 2008-09 to miss the playoffs entirely.


Holtby emerging as a leading candidate to represent Canada in World Cup

Backes defends his play after boarding Alzner

David Backes

David Backes had a short game on Sunday as he was ejected early in the second period for boarding Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. The blueliner was left bloodied, but he was able to continue playing and went on to log 19:34 minutes.

The NHL decided not to punish the St. Louis Blues captain further over the incident, but it wasn’t until today that Backes offered a public defense of his actions.

“Yeah, it’s nine years now and I’ve had one major penalty that was quickly rescinded right after that,” Backes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now this one, where I think it’s pretty benign — he hops back up and doesn’t miss a shift.

“Never looking to hurt anyone out there. The rules are the rules, I guess, and if there’s blood, (then the ejection was warranted). But the result is, the guys had one heck of a penalty kill for that five minutes, really got momentum off that and played a heck of a game … They really picked me up.”

As far as his one major penalty note, for what it’s worth Backes has 24 major penalties and 17 misconducts in 616 career games, according to CBS Sports. Boarding Alzner was his second major penalty of the 2014-15 campaign, although it was his first game misconduct. That being said, he might not be counting his fights and those do account for most of his major penalties.

Here’s the hit in question:

Sidney Crosby is still the Hart Trophy favorite

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins

Updated Hart Trophy odds from online bookmaker Bovada:

Sidney Crosby 9/4
Jakub Voracek 9/2
Carey Price 13/2
Patrick Kane 8/1
Claude Giroux 17/2
Ryan Getzlaf 17/2
Alex Ovechkin 15/1
Rick Nash 15/1
Steven Stamkos 15/1
John Tavares 20/1
Vladimir Tarasenko 20/1

If I had a few bucks to throw at this, I’d be throwing it behind Carey Price. In my opinion, no player has been more responsible for his team’s success this season than the Canadiens’ star goalie. Granted, there’s still a lot of season left and that means a lot of time for a guy like Crosby to heat up, but if the voting occurred today, there’s a very good chance Price would get the nod.

If the Wings still want a right-shooting d-man, Franson, Petry and Green are probably available

Detroit Red Wings v Dallas Stars

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to trade Cody Franson prior to the March 2 deadline and the Edmonton Oilers are likely to deal Jeff Petry.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Washington Capitals are likely to do the same with Mike Green.

What do Franson, Petry and Green all have in common?

All three are right-shooting defensemen.

And what team has been talking for what seems like forever about adding a right-shooting defenseman?

That would be the Detroit Red Wings, who only have one of those on their active roster — rookie Alexey Marchenko, .

“We knew he’d (be) here eventually,” said coach Mike Babcock of Marchenko, per the Detroit News. “He’s a steady, big man, right-hand shot, who knows how to play without the puck.”

But Marchenko is still in the audition stage. And even if he passes, Babcock would probably prefer another righty or two anyway.

“I just think it’s so much easier when you have a right and lefty on every pair,” he said in June. “All you got to do is look at L.A. (Stanley Cup champion Kings), a right and lefty on every pair. Makes it easier to get through the neutral zone, easier off D-zone faceoffs to execute. You have the puck more. You can get it off the wall and shoot it in the offensive zone. To me it just makes sense.”

Which also makes you wonder if the Kings, without right-shooting Slava Voynov indefinitely, will take a run at Franson, Petry or Green.

As for the Wings, the argument against adding one of those three, or some other righty D, is that the Wings are doing just fine the way they are, so why give up an asset to make a change?

That’s for GM Ken Holland to decide.

Franson, Petry and Green are all pending unrestricted free agents.

Slumping Panthers watch playoff hopes fade in loss to Rangers

Florida Panthers v New York Rangers

The Florida Panthers and Rangers were neck-and-neck for much of Monday’s contest, but New York pulled ahead in the third period with a stunning 21 shots in 20 minutes to earn a 6-3 victory.

Rick Nash scored his 30th goal of the season and later tied Alex Ovechkin for the league lead at 31 with an empty netter. It was defenseman Dan Boyle that broke the 3-3 tie though near the midway point of the third period:

Mats Zuccarello provided the insurance goal at 15:58 of the final frame and finished with two points tonight, giving him 26 points in 46 contests.

The Florida Panthers have now lost seven of their last eight contests and have only earned a consolation point once over that stretch. When that decline started, Florida was a mere point behind in the Wild Card race. Now the Panthers are eight points shy and have watched their playoff chances fall from 45.23% to 5.46% over that span, per Sports Club Stats. Given that the Panthers still have the best record among Eastern Conference teams without a playoff spot, it’s set up a situation where the larger story in the east over the final weeks of the regular season could be about playoff positioning rather than a battle for the final postseason spots.