caps-pens

Twenty years ago, I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning hoping the Caps could dispatch the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. Instead Petr Nedvěd ripped a pedestrian shot through traffic to beat Olie Kolzig. After nearly 120 minutes of hockey that night, the Caps lost. The next day I failed my middle school quiz.

Now we’re here. The Caps have lost seven of their eight playoff series all-time against the Pens, but this team is a different breed. The Caps, who “ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” must go through the second best team in the East and the team that has had its number so many times in the past to reach their ultimate goal. The franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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paige-tattoo-verizon-center-coordinates

Lots of Caps fans will throw on a jersey, wear a hat, or sleep under a logo-emblazoned comforter to show support for their favorite team. Other fans are more extreme – such as RMNB reader J.R. Ebling. Earlier in the season, Ebling told us his story about how he had Alex Ovechkin autograph his wrist at a season-ticket holder event. Later he had it tattooed onto his body.

I recently met Caps super fan Paige L. She also has a Caps tattoo, but it’s not what you think. It’s so subtle and brilliant, I wanted her to share her story.

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Photo: @loshie17

Tuesday night, TJ Oshie and Karl Alzner went to the Washington Nationals game along with their wives Lauren and Mandy, both of whom are pregnant with their couples’ second children. Lauren posted a selfie that her husband TJ took on her Instagram account.

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carlson-neuvy

On Sunday after the Caps closed out the Flyers, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth had a moment in the handshake line. Shaking his head in admiration, Holtby gave a big high-five and a pat on the shoulder to his former long-time teammate and rival. Neuvirth finished the series with a .981 save percentage, giving up only two goals in three games.

Caps defenseman John Carlson also had a moment with Neuvirth in the handshake line, though he had to do a lot of jersey tugging to get his attention. Carlson and Neuvirth grew up together in the AHL before both landing in the NHL.

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lakings

Hi, my name is Ian Oland. I’m driving the Capitals bandwagon. Over the last few weeks, we’ve traveled all over North America, picking up many new friends. Now that our favorite team has vanquished their mighty, bracelet-throwing foes from Philadelphia, even more people want to jump aboard this here wagon.

First, we’re going to give our oxen some spinach so we can make a cross-country gallop to California to pick up the entire Los Angeles Kings organization.

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brouwer-game7-goal

Big Game Brouwer strikes again.

Monday night in St. Louis, the Blues eliminated the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game Seven. The Blues will move on to the second round because of their summer trade acquisition from the Washington Capitals, Troy Brouwer.

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Flyers forward Brayden Schenn leaped to deliver a hit to Mike Richards, checked Evgeny Kuznetsov head-first into the crossbar, and tried to break Kuzy’s leg with a cross-check. All of these dirty plays went unpenalized and ignored by the NHL. But it was Schenn’s Game Six head shot on TJ Oshie that has finally drawn the attention of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Monday afternoon, DoPS announced that it will have a hearing with Schenn Tuesday, describing the play as “charging/illegal check to the head.”

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kuznetsov-flyers

Photo: Patrick Smith

Humble af Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke with SovSport’s Natalia Bragilevskaya after the Capitals closed out their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday. He addressed a topic likely to dominate media conversations over the next week: the Caps’ past playoff failures. Many of those disappointments have come against the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom the Caps will face in the second round.

Kuznetsov wanted to get ahead of that talk now.

“You mention the previous century – but of those people, who is still playing?” Kuznetsov asks. “That’s history, nobody cares about it.”

“The guys in Pittsburgh are the same people – two legs, two arms, one head,” Kuznetsov added.

Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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flyers-fans

Photo: Patrick Smith

The Flyers organization tried. As fans entered Wells Fargo Center for Game Six Sunday, they received shirts featuring PA Announcer Lou Nolan and the words “Stay Classy, Philly!” I know you may be shocked to hear this, but Flyers fans did not stay classy.

Let’s review!

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ovechkin-running-celebration

Alex Ovechkin is one of the best hockey players in the world because of his size, conditioning, and talent, but Ovechkin’s intense desire to win is just as important. Capitals fans have seen Ovechkin’s passion ever since his first goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005. As he’s gotten older, Ovechkin’s enthusiasm has grown to include his teammates’ accomplishments as well.

Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center gave us another great example of Ovi reveling in his allies’ victories. After Nicklas Backstrom scored in the second period to give the Caps a 1-0 lead, Ovechkin celebrated with a hop and a running man. Like Ovi was literally sprinting on a slippery surface with skate blades.

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