Posted January 26, 2013 on
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New Jersey Devils
After finally earning their first point, the Washington Capitals believe they might be on the verge of ending the club's worst start in almost two decades.
In danger of opening 0-3 at home for the first time in 29 years, the Capitals continue the search for their first victory while trying to hand the visiting Buffalo Sabres a third consecutive defeat Sunday.
Though Washington (0-3-1) went winless in its first six games (0-3-1 with two ties) in 2000-01, it has not dropped five straight to open a season since going 0-6 in 1993-94. However, the Capitals are optimistic their current slide won't reach that point after showing some fight in Friday's 3-2 overtime loss at New Jersey.
Mike Ribeiro and Mike Green each scored third-period goals to help Washington rally from a 2-0 deficit. Despite being outshot 8-1 in the extra session before Ilya Kovalchuk netted the winner at 4:39, the Capitals feel they have plenty to build on.
"You have to take the positives,'' first-year Washington coach Adam Oates said. "The first question was you haven't played for 60 minutes. We did (Friday). There were a lot of growing pains, but the guys did their job. You obviously want the win but we did a lot of good things.''
Though the Capitals are 1 for 12 on the power play over the last two games, they killed five of six penalties Friday and played better overall defense after half of the 14 goals they yielded in the first three contests came while a man down.
"I think we have a better idea after this game of how we can win,'' said Ribeiro, who has had a hand in four of the Capitals' eight goals.
Superstar Alex Ovechkin, meanwhile, remains mired in the worst start to his stellar career even after a move from right wing back to the left side. Ovechkin has recorded at least 32 goals in his first seven seasons but has one assist through four games.
He has four goals and three assists in his last six games versus Buffalo, but was held without a point when the Sabres snapped a five-game road skid against the Capitals with a 5-1 victory March 27.
While Washington tries to avoid starting 0-3 at home for the first time since 1983-84, Buffalo (2-2-0) hopes to get back on track by carrying over its series success after winning three of four last season.
The Sabres allowed three goals in starting 2-0, but gave up nine while being swept in a home-and-home with Carolina. One night after Jhonas Enroth was battered in a 6-3 loss at Carolina, Ryan Miller could not hold a 1-0 third-period lead in Friday's 3-1 defeat.
"You want to win these games or at least get to overtime," said Miller, who is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average.
Miller snapped his own four-game road losing streak against the Capitals when he made a season-high 44 saves in March.
Buffalo's Thomas Vanek scored Friday to continue his hot start and tied a team record with nine points (three goals and six assists) in four games. However, Vanek was whistled for a costly cross-checking penalty with 2:09 left that ultimately led to Jeff Skinner's empty-net power-play goal.
"He's played awesome," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "But you can't let your frustration get the best of you. We need him out there, need him late."
Vanek has four goals and five assists in an eight-game point streak versus Washington.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Washington Capitals will be the last team in the NHL to earn a point in the standings. To date, they've lost 6-3 on the road in Tampa Bay, at home 4-2 against Winnipeg and at home 4-1 against Montreal.
Frustrations are boiling over and it has one Capital, forward Troy Brouwer, apologizing to fans that have suffered through a miserable start to the 2013 campaign.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
There is a lot that hasn’t gone well for the Capitals through the first four games of the season. They’re taking too many penalties (which you can read more about in today’s story for the dead-tree edition), the power play is ineffective (3-for-20) and their superstar captain has largely been absent.
Alex Ovechkin has yet to...
Joel Ward, who finished Sunday’s game with a goal and an assist and leads the Capitals in goals this season, talked about what’s changed, if anything, from his game last year: “Once your linemates kind of have a good trust in you, I think things tend to flow a little bit easier. I played with Chimmer before, last year too, for a little bit. And we had a little bit of a connection...
An NHL routine gone missing for 102 days made an overdue return Sunday: Alex Ovechkin scored a goal, and the Washington Capitals won.
Like old times. The two-time league MVP nailed a one-timer from the left circle on a power play, skated a few feet, bent his left knee and unleashed that familiar downward celebratory fist pump. He then collected the customary row of high-fives as...
Michal Neuvirth (0-1-1), not Brayden Holtby, will get the start for the Capitals against tha Sabres on Sunday afternoon. Caps coach Adam Oates made the announcement after his team practiced on Saturday.
No bog deal, you say? It is if you are Holtby, who was names the starter out of training camp. Sunday's game will be Neuvirth's third start in a row. Neuvirth earned his...
WASHINGTON - It's no secret that Alex Ovechkin is the straw that stirs the Washington Capitals' drink, and on Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres he showed why. Ovechkin's power-play goal 5:11 into the third period stood up as the game-winner as the Capitals held on to give first-year coach Adam Oates his first victory behind the bench with a 3-2 win in front of a soldout...
Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth completely robbed New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky on this play. This has to be an early candidate for save of the year. Zidlicky had 2/3 of the net open and Neuvirth just snagged it. The Devils fans thought it was in and you can see almost an entire section behind the net start to celebrate and then become instantly disappointed...
WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin's first goal of the season stood up as the game winner, giving first-year coach Adam Oates his first victory as a head coach in the NHL in the Capitals' 3-2 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon. The Capitals improved to 1-3-1 with the win, while the Sabres dropped to 2-3-0. Ovechkin played with a variety of linemates in...
A week into the abbreviated 48-game season, and opinions are already polarizing. Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, and St. Louis Blues are off to incredibly-impressive starts, having won a combined sixteen games in seventeen chances. Others haven't been so lucky. Six teams have won just one game through the first eight days, and although some clubs may have...
Match-up - Washington Capitals (0-3-0) @ New Jersey Devils (2-0-0)
Road/Home records - 0-1-0 -------------- 1-0-0
TV - CSN-DC, MSG
Puck drop - 7:00 PM ET
Season series - Tied 0-0
Last 10: Capitals 0-3-0 / Devils 2-0-0
Projected starting goalies - Braden Holtby (WSH) vs. Martin Brodeur (NJ)
Battle of the stats
Goals for/against per game
Washington - 2 / 4.67