Fife Prepare for First Test of the Season

With six wins in seven games, Fife have had the best start to the the season that they could have hoped for. However, with success always comes tests and this week the Flyers will face their first greatest test in the form of Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff.

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Kings End the Road Trip Feeling Blue in Toronto

The Kings road trip ends in a way that they rather would not have ended it, by way of losing 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite throwing 34 shots on net and scoring one past backup Garret Sparks, it wouldn’t be enough as on the other end of the ice Jack Campbell would chalk up another L.

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Can the Sharks fix their abysmal power play?

There’s no way to beat around the bush on this one. The San Jose Sharks’ penalty killing units have scored more goals than the power play. It’s baffling, but given the way they’ve played, not completely surprising.

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DEL ROUNDUP: Mannheim tops standings / Augsburger remain on fire / Wild Wings stay winless

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Adler Mannheim and Kolner Haie battle Photo: City-Press

DEL ROUNDUP

Another interesting weekend of hockey in Germany’s DEL came and went, and with it saw a new leader after an action-packed Round 10 and 11 with Adler Mannheim soaring above the rest of the pack in the standings, following their back to back victories over the Wild Wings and Kölner Haie.

Kölner Haie made it three wins on the bounce to beat Iserlohn Roosters 2-1 in Cologne, after Felix Schutz opened the scoring late on in the second period courtesy of a power play goal, that was until Anthony Camara equalised early on in the third for the Roosters to see overtime and have Michael Zalewski skating from his own zone to snap a shot that beat the keeper for the extra point.

Two teams that haven’t got going so far this season are the Nurnberg Ice Tigers and Grizzly Wolfsburg. Their game saw Gerrit Fauser firing the home side in front on the power play with Philippe Dupuis soon levelling things up for Nürnberg. A Daniel Sparre effort soon restored the lead for Wolfsburg four minutes later.

Leonhard Pfoderl then tied the game up with less than five to play. With 2.19 gone in the extra overtime period, Brandon Buck slammed home the puck to give the Ice Tigers victory.

From two sides out of form to two teams that are in-form. The Augsburger Panther and the Straubing Tigers meeting up in Straubing and saw the visiting Panthers side holding a two-goal advantage for most of the game, thanks to Daniel Schmolz and David Stieler scoring inside the opening ten minutes.

Straubing then scored twice in a minute, as Stefan Loibl made it 2-1 before Antoine Laganiere drew the scores level at 2-2. Adam Payerl managed to put Augsburger back ahead late on and then have Matthew Fraser closing the game out an empty-net goal for 4-2.

Eisbaren Berlin won on the road at Krefeld 3-1, as a Louis-Marc Aubry goal cancelled out a Jacob Berglund effort for the hometown Penguine side midway through the first. Brendan Ranford scored on the power play for a 2-1 lead and then had Sean Backman adding a third for the win.

Adler Mannheim moved to the top of the DEL summit after beating the Schwenniger Wild Wings 3-1 in Mannheim. Both sides traded goals, with a Mirko Sacher power-play strike sandwiched in between the Mannheim goals from Benjamin Smith and Matthias Plachta for the home side. Garrett Festerling added a third as Mannheim eventually overcame the stubborn bottom of the table side.

Recent leaders DEG Dusseldorf suffered back to back overtime losses over this past weekend, starting firstly a 3-2 overtime loss against ERC Ingolstadt in Bavaria, as goals by Jaedon Descheneau and a power-play effort by Ryan McKiernan put DEG 2-0 up. Vili Sopanen and Brett Olson then levelled things up for Ingolstadt to force overtime and saw Mike Collins netting the game-winning goal for ERC.

On Sunday, Dusseldorf then faced another Bavarian side in German champions Munchen Red Bulls in a nine-goal thriller at Munich’s Olympia Eishalle. As Maximilian Kastner and Matthew Stajan scoring a brace each for Munchen, with Stajan scoring the overtime winner with 1.10 gone into the extra period for the 5-4 victory.

ERC Ingolstadt travelled to the German capital to take on Eisbaren Berlin and left with all the points, as goals by David Elsner and Brett Olson put them two up before a powerplay effort by Danny Richmond made it a one-goal game and late on saw Jerry D’Amigo scoring into an empty cage for a 3-1 win.

Straubing Tigers picked up a 4-2 road win over Iserlohn Roosters, as two goals by Michael Connolly helped the Tigers get back to winning ways and moved up into fourth place in the standings.

Krefeld Penguine made the trip to Nurnberg to face the Ice Tigers and was forced to battle back from 3-1 down, having led through a Jacob Berglund goal till the hosts scored three unanswered goals from firstly Chad Bassen, Brandon Buck and then a power-play goal from Jason Bast made it 3-1. The Penguine hit back with three unanswered goals of their own, starting with a Vincent Saponari goal and was soon followed by Daniel Pietta tying the game up with less than nine to play and had Phillip Bruggisser scoring the winner with five minutes to play for a 4-3 win.

The winless Schwenniger Wild Wings welcomed Bremerhaven Pinguins to the Helios Arena and despite two goals by Simon Danner, the visitors led thanks to strikes by Michael Moore and Miha Verlic with the Pinguins leading after one. Danner scored his second of the match for the Wild Wings for 2-2, but Chad Nehring scored the deciding goal nearly ten minutes from time to see Bremerhaven as 3-2 winners.

Augsburger Panther made it four wins in a row, and are the current form team in the DEL as it stands now following their 6-0 hammering of Grizzly Wolfsburg. Goals from Matthew White and Simon Sezemsky put the home side two up inside seven minutes of play before Wolfsburg collapsed in the final ten of the match and see Thomas Holzmann, a quick-fire double from Patrick McNeill and a Daniel Schmolz goal completing the rout.

The last word belongs to leaders Adler Mannheim, as they came back from a two-goal deficit away at Cologne, as Chad Kolarik started the comeback and saw two powerplay goals by David Wolf and then Markus Eisenschmid put the leaders 3-2 up, before former Chicago and San Jose man Andrew Desjardins made sure of the points for a 4-2 win.

NWHL Roundup: Buffalo shuts out the Whales again / Boston inflict more misery on the Mets’

NWHL ROUNDUP

Another weekend of National Women’s Hockey League games took place this past week and saw the new girls on the block in the Minnesota Whitecaps sitting it out while the remaining four sides all played.

The two games saw the Buffalo Beauts looking to make it two wins in two against their opponents from last week, the Connecticut Whale. The Boston Pride opened their league programme up against the 0-2 Metropolitan Riveters.

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What the Devils have to do to beat Växjö

It’s now or never for the Cardiff Devils, after a promising Champions Hockey League campaign last year where they managed to rack up home wins against HC Davos and the Växjö Lakers, they find themselves coming into the final group game still searching for their first win.

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Washington Re-Capitals: Week Two

Our second week is over and we’re still searching for that first road win. We won’t have a chance until the 22nd of October against the Canucks, the first meeting with Dearly Departed Jay Beagle’s new team since he swapped out his white and red threads for blue and green. Unfortunately, Jay Beagle himself won’t be available, but the Caps have a great chance to send a message. Despite the lack of success on the road, we’ve been nothing but lightning and thunder at home, and that showed this week.

Status Cup-date

Record: 2-2-1 (Home: 2-1-0 / Away: 0-1-1)

Standing: 3rd Metropolitan / T-5th Eastern

Goals For: 20

Goals Against: 19

Team Leaders:

  • Goals: Evgeny Kuznetsov (4), Alex Ovechkin (4), and T.J. Oshie (4)
  • Assists: Nicklas Backstrom (6)
  • Points: Evgeny Kuznetsov (9)
  • PIM: Lars Eller (11)

Game Recap-ital(s)

10th October: Vegas Golden Knights @ Washington Capitals, 8:00 PM EDT (W 5-2)

The words “Nicklas Backstrom is an inveterate drama queen” aren’t usually very believable to people who haven’t done a deep, extremely wholesome dive into Capitals history, but last night put that to rest. Nicklas Backstrom is all about the narrative, and scoring his first goal of the season to wrap up yet another multipoint night in a neat little bow is exactly in character. He’s got six points in four games played. Backstrom for Selke. Backstrom for Hart. Hell, Backstrom for Norris! Seeing as Brent Burns has won one, let’s go on nominating forwards!

Evgeny Kuznetsov, noted bird man and point scoring machine, slammed home a power play goal to open up the scoring off assists from everyone’s favorite Swedish gnome and John Carlson, and that wasn’t the last impact he’d have on the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov had one goal and three primary assists for four points on the night, two of which were power play points. When asked if he was a top five player, he replied that he “doesn’t give a sh*t” about that, but boy, do we give so many. Thank you bird boy. You’re a genius and we love you.

An honorable mention goes to Alex Ovechkin, who inched closer and closer to his Dad Energy Hatty with two goals, the first of which (gifted to him by noted obvious Art Ross/Hart nominee Evgeny Kuznetsov) tied him with Bobby Hull for the 17th place on the NHL’s All Time Scoring list. His second goal of the night gained him sole ownership of seventeenth place on the list, one goal closer to challenging Wayne Gretzky’s lead.

Suck on that, Don Cherry.

T.J. Oshie closed out the game with an empty netter in the waning minutes of the third, keeping him at a goal per game on the season, showing the Vegas Golden Knights that the last time they lost to us wasn’t a fluke. I can name one team off the top of my head that won’t be hiring Imagine Dragons again. Sheesh.

11th October: Washington Capitals @ New Jersey Devils, 7:00 PM EDT (L 6-0)

Well, every team has to lose, but wow. This one was a doozy. But have hope! Losing one game in regulation over two sets of back to backs is pretty stellar, especially when opening the season with as little rest as the Capitals got this summer. (And, for those of us who still miss Marcus Johansson, he scored! He’s alive and healthy!)

As much as we joke about cup hangovers and partying too hard, the guys are probably dealing with some serious fatigue. And as quick as we, as fans, are to point out that conditioning and keeping at peak compete levels are what they’re paid to do, back to backs objectively suck. Two back to backs to open the season? Worse.

A bright spot in disguise: Phoenix Copley saved thirty shots on thirty-six shot attempts in his debut as a Capital, the most he’s ever faced in an NHL game. (The next closest was back when he played for St. Louis in 2016-17, when he faced twenty-nine shot attempts.) On a better night, who knows what could’ve happened? Luckily for Copley, there will be better nights, and we’ll see how he proves his mettle then.

Isabelle (as usual) said it best when describing how the game went.

The weirdest part of the night by far, however, was this:

Yep, that’s the same Miles Wood who asked Ovi to autograph a picture for him.

If you can’t join your heroes, (try desperately to) beat them?

13th October: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals, 7:00 PM EDT (L 4-2)

Everyone was looking for Washington’s roster to deliver against a hilariously stacked Toronto Maple Leafs team, and they… tried?

Chandler Stephenson scored his first of the season off a sweet assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov eighteen seconds into the game and it remained the only goal on the board through the end of the first period, fitting considering it’s got a place in the annals of Capitals history. 18 in 18. Who’s next? (@Ovi: 8 in 8. You know you want to.)

Three and a half minutes into the second, Toronto scored their first of the period thanks to Kasperi Kapanen, equalizing the game at 1-1, but not to fear — a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov saved our necks yet again, scoring his fourth powerplay goal of the season to get the Capitals their second (and last) lead of the night.

Unfortunately, things got ugly from there on out with three unanswered Maple Leafs goals — after graciously allowing Par Lindholm his first NHL goal, the third period featured a Josh Leivo power-play goal and an Auston Matthews goal (his tenth of the season, already) to finish the night.  Especially after the loss to New Jersey two days before, the Capitals’ performance in the third period wasn’t encouraging, but fear not — it’s still early in the season. The Leafs may be 5-1-0, but, as Capitals fans, we know well how little an exemplary record can mean when you’re playing in the same conference as Sidney Crosby.

The wins will come with time.

It’s just the waiting that sucks, but remember what our captain said — the plan is to “not suck back to back”. And last year’s plan worked out pretty well.

Roster Spot Musical Chairs

Notable transactions this week include:

  • To NHL: Michal Kempny (from IR, concussion)
  • To AHL: Jayson Megna (cleared waivers)

Next Week’s Games

  • 17th October: New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals, 7:00pm EDT
  • 19th October: Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals, 7:00pm EDT

Weather Forecast

Next week features two home games, this time with just one day between them: the first against the New York Rangers (1-4-0, beat SJ on the 11th in overtime and lost to Edmonton in regulation on the 13th), and the second against the Florida Panthers (0-2-1, lost to CBJ in regulation on the 11th and lost to Vancouver in regulation on the 13th).

New York is searching for their first road win of the season, just like the Capitals, but among the many things that stand in their way are the amount of goals they allow every game. They’re currently four above league average (14) and two below league average (14) on goals for. The Rangers’ powerplay conversion rate is at a measly 8.33%, which means that if Penalty Box Kings Lars Eller or Jakub Vrana find themselves in trouble, it may not be much to worry about, but will the Rangers’ offensive touch return from war in D.C.?

Florida is searching for their first win at all (and that’s odd to say about a team that features Aleksander Barkov, Evgeni Dadonov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, and Infamous Senators Legend Mike Hoffman among a host of others), and hopefully will not find it against the Capitals. With Roberto Luongo on IR for a knee injury that will likely keep him out through the end of October, can James Reimer’s goaltending keep the Panthers afloat? Or will known Goalie Destroyer Evgeny Kuznetsov sacrifice another goalie to his greatness?

This Week In Review

This week’s 1-2-0 record may not be positive (ha ha ha), but there’s a lot to look forward to from this team, and it begins with Top 5 Elite Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and certainly doesn’t end there. Holtby still hasn’t hit full season stride and the defense is certainly lacking in, well, defending, but those are things that should bounce back with time.

At five games played, we’re in a bit of a statistical no man’s land — nobody’s played enough for statistics to really mean anything outside the isolated confines of each game (if you want a laugh, please check out T.J. Oshie’s CF% rel vs his goal total) and, of the ten players who have scored goals so far this season, eight of them are shooting above the league average of 10.1% last season, but the good news is that, so far, the Capitals have matched their 13.3% shooting percentage from last reason, which means that the goals are coming for our top ten, but that the goals will inevitably come for the rest. Numbers, although we like to pretend they mean something, sometimes don’t.

Everything is arbitrary. Let’s live a little.

We’re not going to be suck next week or the week after that.

See you next Monday.

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