We meet again, Chirpin’ fam, and welcome back for an overlook of the Capital’s second-week matchups. Last week the Capital’s faced the Buffalo Sabres twice, January 14th and 15th, and the Pittsburgh Penguins this past Sunday, January 17th. Not much is going to change here in week two, considering the Caps are once again matching up against the Pens and Sabres. With the first week in the books, it’s safe to say that this Washington Capitals team looks better than the team that got shutout 4-0 in game five against the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs last season. It’s only three games into the season, though, so we can’t get too optimistic about the Caps having their groove back just yet. The Capitals put up a decent fight against their opponents last week, so let’s hope they bring that same energy, if not more, this upcoming week.
The Capitals are currently 2-0-1 for the season.
Tuesday, January 19th – Capitals @ Penguins
After having a 4-3 S/O loss to the Penguins this past Sunday, the Capitals are looking to take home the dub this upcoming Tuesday. On Sunday, Pittsburgh came out with intensity following the two losses they started the season off with against the Flyers. They literally scored 19 seconds into the game on Sunday.
Although the Caps were down 1-0 before I even had the chance to blink, they still put up a fight. Not going to lie though, after that first goal, my instant thought was, “Shit, it’s going to be one of those games, isn’t it?” Thankfully, the Caps were able to tie the game up with a Dowd goal and then an Ovi goal shortly after. THANK GOD Ovechkin got his first goal of the season in because I thought that dude would never score again. Laviolette was almost put on the hot seat by the Chirpin’ gang for a second there. Samsonov made a pretty bad play on the puck, causing a turnover, and it was quickly tied again. After a back and forth game of goal scoring on both ends, the Capitals ultimately lost the fight in the shootout.
Going into this upcoming game, the Capitals need to STOP taking so many stupid penalties. I understand the aggressive approach they’re trying to take, but there’s a fine line between being aggressive and dumb. With that being said, though, the Caps look PHENOMENAL on their penalty kill as they killed all five during Sunday’s game. On the other hand, the Capitals need to work on their powerplay as they were 0 for 5. They also need to work on having more offensive zone time if they want to get that dub. Although the Capitals were able to shut down the Penguins top two stars, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, they’ll obviously be looking to produce against the Capitals.
The Capitals are 0-0-1 against the Penguins so far this season.
Friday, January 22nd/Sunday, January 24th – Sabres @ Capitals
The Capitals started off their season against the Sabres with a 6-4 win, followed by a 2-1 win the next night. On opening night, the Caps were setting up scoring chances left and right and produced with goals by Backstrom, Oshie, Dillon, Carlson, Vrana, and Hathaway. Samsonov let a few rippers by him that definitely were questionable, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Vitek Vanecek had his first NHL start in game two against the Sabres last week, as well, and did a hell of a job. He ultimately won that game for us.
With the Sabres record currently being 0-2-0 for the season, the Capitals need to be on their heels for this upcoming matchup because they’ll undoubtedly come out with a vengeance. Both teams are given an advantage considering they’ve already played each other and got a taste of each other’s playing styles, which also allows the Sabres to make the necessary adjustments to give themselves the upper hand. Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel are currently producing up to the Sabre’s standard, and then some. Those are two guys that the Caps need to keep an eye on coming into this series. Laviolette is going to need to make a defensive adjustment to better contain them after those first two games. Considering Vanecek’s success against the Sabres, in which he saved 30 out of 31 shots, he might be a safe bet to have in net for Friday’s game.
The Capitals are currently 2-0-0 against the Sabres this season.
Overall, the Capitals are going to need to pick up the pace a bit this week. Even though they are very much a veteran team, their matchups aren’t going to go down lightly. Defense and turning over pucks are still something that needs to be worked on a bit, and the power play, but the Chara and Jensen D line is lookin’ quite elite right now. @statguyblake talked about all of the positives/negatives so far this season with the Caps, which I’ll post below. The penalty kill is looking great, but that also means that we are taking WAY too many penalties, which I’m hoping for less of this upcoming week. My fingers are crossed for a Pens revenge dub, which we all hope to see, and another strong two games against the Sabres.