Photo credit: Elsa
Here’s how the Caps celebrated Joel Ward’s series-ending overtime goal. Follow us past the jump for a massive GIF.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau
Joel Ward was a playoff hero for Nashville last year, leading the league in postseason goals at one point in the first round and ending with better than a point per game.
That grit and clutch goal-scoring was why General Manager George McPhee outbid a number of other teams to sign Ward in the summer to an expensive 4-year, $12 million contract.
In the regular season, however, things didn’t go as planned. Ward was benched one game for missing a meeting, scratched several games for poor play, and managed to tally just six goals. It was the worst offensive season of his career– though he spent most of it assigned as a fourth liner.
But Joel Ward’s play in the regular season isn’t what got him glory in Nashville. And it’s not what just put him in Capitals’ record books forever.
Photo credit: Elsa
Game Seven. You know the deal.
Jason Chimera dropped the puck to John Carlson, who fired a shot that Matt Hendricks tipped in. Tyler Seguin dove to knock in a loose puck behind Braden Holtby to tie the game heading into the third period. The game went into overtime.
And then it happened. You knew it would. Mike Knuble crashed the net and Joel Ward swept in the rebound. Caps beat Bruins 2-1 (OT).
Holtby’s not impressed.
Before the series started, the Bruins talked a tough game about getting in Braden Holtby‘s face and making life difficult for him. Like many players before them, they soon learned that was easier said than done. With the score tied at 1-1 at the end of a tense second period, Rich Peverley got a little too close to Holtby and Holtby let him know by shoving him off his skates. Peverely retaliated — or at least, pretended to, taking a two-handed slash at Holtby that he stopped just short, clearly trying to spook or scare him.
Video is below the jump.
Video by Roxanne Wilson
Braden Holtby has been a demigod in this series, a rookie goalie going toe-to-toe with a reigning Conn Smythe winner for the first time in NHL history and handling the pressure more brilliantly than any of us could have guessed. Holtby has a .935 SV% and a 2.18 GAA for the series so far, has stopped 202 of the 216 shots directed his way, and tonight, he has an opportunity to etch his name on Caps history.
There are some facts in the world that are undeniable: the earth is round, the sky is blue, and Brad Marchand is a diver.