May 10, 2012

Washington Capitals Review: April 11 - 20, 2012

Capitals and fans celebrate goal in Quarterfinal Game 3 on April 16, 2012.
Photo by Patrick McDermott / Getty Images via

The Washington Capitals, having finished the regular season in 7th place on April 7, began their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series on April 12, 2012. Last year's Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins (2nd place), were the tough opponents they drew for the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington, as usual for them, would have to endure a seven game series. The first four of which took place during this 10 day period.

Also the usual for Capitals players, they were taken advantage of by dirty players, and still came out looking bad and being bad mouthed by their opposition and NBC personnel covering these nationally televised games. Players on both teams were being riled up by their enemies.

After three games, where Caps center Nicklas Backstrom was constantly physically abused in ways that go against the rules, his stick rode up into the face of a Bruin he shoved just after the end of Game 3. Backstrom, recently back from missing 40 games with concussion, came out of every scrum with his helmet removed. Several times, he was yanked around by his head, yet no penalties even called on the abusing Boston Bruins players. Somehow, it was decided that Nick Backstrom was the bad guy, and he received a one game suspension.

Most of the other series occurring around around the league were getting a little too rough. The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins were absolutely beating the snot out of each other, something I happily knew would happen. After a few games with the intensity prematurely ramped-up, things calmed down a bit in most of those match-ups.

Junior's Eyes supplies a sampling of game reviews, highlights videos and other Capitals related updates below, in reverse chronological order.

April 19, 2012

POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Capitals 2, Bruins 1
By Mike Vogel - Senior Writer at

...With goals from Marcus Johansson and Alexander Semin, and a 44-save performance from Braden Holtby in the nets, the Caps eked out a 2-1 win in Game 4 at Verizon Center on Thursday night...

Capitals Lunchbox, Season 2, Episode 20
By J.P. at Japers' Rink

In which Joe Beninati, Kellie Cowan and I talk discuss Games One through Three of Caps/Bruins, the Nicklas Backstrom suspension, who needs to step up, what's going right and wrong for Washington and more...

April 17, 2012

Nicklas Backstrom suspended one game for cross check
By Katie Carrera at Capitals Insider

...In a video explanation on, Shanahan explains that he took into consideration that Peverley was not injured on the play and that Backstrom has no prior supplemental disciplinary history. Shanahan detailed that while Peverley does raise his stick toward Backstrom’s face, the center’s aggression in reaction went overboard...

Alan May Tells It Like It Is
By J.P. at Japers' Rink

Friend of the blog Alan May is never shy about sharing his opinions, and he's got a lot of 'em regarding how the Caps' first round series with the Bruins has been officiated so far, specifically with regards to Nicklas Backstrom's treatment by the guys in stripes. Have a look:

And if that's not enough for you, here's a little package CSN Washington has put together documenting the Bruins' borderline (and then some) play:

None of this is to say that the Caps have been angelic, of course - they certainly haven't been. But with all the coverage Backstrom's match penalty has gotten, along with Claude Julien's persistent complaints about the Caps' stick-work, it's good to get both sides' perspectives out there. Good on May and CSN for doing so.

Taking the High Road
By Becca H at Japers' Rink

...Nicklas Backstrom in particular has been a target of the Bruins' physicality, receiving multiple (uncalled) shots to the head from various Boston players in the first game, and it was clear that it bubbled over tonight. The usually disciplined Swede found himself in the penalty box three times for various infractions, and then capped it off with a game-ending match penalty for a crosscheck to the head of Rich Peverley - a move that could cost him a spot in Thursday's pivotal Game 4.

To some extent the frustration and the accompanying retaliation is understandable; everyone has a breaking point, and perhaps last night was just that collective point for the Caps. And it certainly doesn't help when the officials play into the Bruins' hands, giving Boston the benefit of the doubt on several plays - including one that sent Brooks Laich to the box for what I can only assume was the audacity to fall down, assisted by After-the-Whistle All-Star Milan Lucic...

April 16, 2012

POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Bruins 4, Capitals 3
By Mike Vogel - Senior Writer at

...Boston’s improved net-front presence – and Washington’s mistakes – were a factor as the Bruins skated off with a 4-3 win to take a 2-1 series lead on Monday night at Verizon Center...

April 15, 2012

Dale Hunter on Braden Holtby: ‘Holtsy’s our goalie’
By Katie Carrera at Capitals Insider

Michal Neuvirth continues to progress in his recovery from a leg injury and it’s possible he may be available for one of the three games this week, but regardless of when the 24-year-old Czech is ready, there will be no goaltending controversy.

On Sunday, Coach Dale Hunter squashed any second guessing that might arise in the coming days and put his support behind 22-year-old Braden Holtby, who has shined in Games 1 and 2 against the Bruins, stopping 72 of the 74 shots he’s faced...

April 14, 2012

POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Capitals 2, Bruins 1, 2OT
By Mike Vogel - Senior Writer at

...The Caps pulled even in the best-of-seven set with a 2-1 win in double overtime in Saturday’s Game 2 at Boston’s TD Garden, courtesy of a Nicklas Backstrom goal at 2:56 of the second extra session...

April 12, 2012

POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Bruins 1, Capitals 0, OT
By Mike Vogel - Senior Writer at

Missed It By That Much – As the No. 7 seed opening on the road, the Caps’ goal is to win one of the first two games in Boston and relieve the Bruins of home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the two teams...

April 11, 2012

Capitals-Bruins: five storylines to watch
By Katie Carrera at Washington Post's Capitals Insider

There’s no lack of subplots in the Capitals’ first-round series against the Boston Bruins, which kicks off with Game 1 Thursday at TD Garden. With only one more day of practice before the puck drops on this Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup, here are some of the biggest storylines to watch...

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