The Capitals Didn’t Lose, Fanatics Jinxed Them

fanatics-jinx

The Washington Capitals, who have dominated the Flyers on special teams all series long, had a slow start to Game Four and could never recover. Forced to play most of the night at even strength, the Caps couldn’t generate much offense until the third period. At that point it was too late.

That’s one way to look at tonight’s game. The other? Fanatics, an official partner of the NHL, hexed the Caps.

Here’s what happened.

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wilson-hit

Late in the third period, Capitals forward Tom Wilson got checked in the head by Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning. As Wilson turned back to retrieve a Jason Chimera pass in the offensive zone, Manning hit Wilson in the head and shoulder with his left arm.

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gretzky-denied-by-wife

During the second period, CSN Mid-Atlantic showed hockey great Wayne Gretzky and his wife, actor Janet Gretzky, sitting in a Wells Fargo Center suite. Wayne was in town ahead of a public celebration of Ed Snider, which will be held on Thursday.

While on screen, Wayne requested a kiss from his wife Janet. The ProStar made duck lips, asking for a kiss in the creepiest way imaginable. Janet declined, which is doubly unfortunate because then Wayne tried again.

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laughton-injury

Twenty-one-year-old Flyers winger Scott Laughton was badly injured during the first period of Game Four.

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braden-holtby-sandwich

Caps starting goaltender Braden Holtby left practice early on Tuesday after colliding with a teammate, setting off widespread internet panic. Barry Trotz later said Holtby, who had been seen favoring his left leg, was fine.

We got further confirmation of this fact from CSN Mid-Atlantic when they published video of Holtby. Holtby had no noticeable limp when walking away from the catering table. He looked perfectly fine.

But discussion of Holtby’s possible injury missed the real point: what was Holtby eating?

RMNB investigates.

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kuznetsov-celebrates-goal

Photo: Elsa

Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first goal in 22 games. It was a gift from the Hockey Gods. Kuznetsov scored after a Justin Williams dump-in took a strange bounce off the boards. The puck ricocheted to Kuznetsov, who was skating alone towards the front of the net. Using sublime patience, Kuznetsov tucked the puck past Steve Mason’s outstretched pad, giving the Caps a back-breaking 3-1 third period lead.

Several minutes later, Kuznetsov was on the ice when he saw his friend, Dmitry Orlov, get shoved headfirst into the boards by Pierre-Édouard Bellemare. As Orlov received medical attention on the bench, a Flyers fan threw a bracelet from the stands, striking Orly in the left cheek.

In the locker room, Kuznetsov conducted a Russian-language interview with SovSport’s Natalia Bragilevskaya and spoke about how the game turned into a sideshow in the third period.

“No fan would be happy when his team is losing,” Kuznetsov said. “That’s how it happened, but it is on their conscience. Our fans have more class.”

Kuznetsov also seemed to be genuinely touched and heart-broken by the pre-game ceremony honoring Flyers owner Ed Snider.

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alex-ovechkin-goal

Photo: Len Redkoles

Monday night during Game Three, Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and tallied an assist on a John Carlson power play marker. The three points gave Ovechkin 74 in his postseason career, giving the Great Eight sole possession of the franchise lead. Ovechkin, who now owns almost every major Capitals record, has two more postseason points than the previous record-holder, Dale Hunter.

Hunter, a 19-year veteran and a successful junior hockey league bench boss, coached Ovechkin during the 2011-12 season. He also is the only Capitals captain to take the team to the Stanley Cup Finals.

This record must have meant a lot to Ovechkin, right?

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orlov-ducks

Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, Dmitry Orlov became the target of the Philadelphia Flyers’ rage, as Pierre-Édouard Bellemare sent the Caps defenseman headfirst into the boards. As Orlov received medical attention on the bench, a Flyers fan threw a bracelet from the stands, striking Orly in the left cheek. Although bloodied, Orlov remained in the game and later assisted on a power-play goal by Jay Beagle, making the final score 6-1.

In the locker room, Orlov conducted a Russian-language interview with SovSport’s Natalia Bragilevskaya and spoke about how the game turned into a sideshow in the third period.

“Sometimes you just want to get the puck,” Orlov said. “But when they play dirty against you, that’s not hockey. I don’t even know what to call it. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Orlov confirmed he was “fine,” but said he’d prefer the Caps not “prolong this series.”

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gudas-burakovsky

Late in the third period, Game Three turned into a sideshow. Pierre-Édouard Bellemare checked Dmitry Orlov from behind, shoving the Caps defenseman head first into the boards. The two teams brawled in the corner while Orlov lay on the ice, dazed.

Hall of Famer Jeremy Roenick called Bellemare’s hit disgusting and “totally inexcusable.” And if you thought that wasn’t bad enough, Radko Gudas tried to fight skill forward Andre Burakovsky during the chaos.

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orpik-hit-boards

Photo: @PhillyGirl1437

In the second period, Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik was injured after absorbing a painful body check from Flyers forward Ryan White. While Orpik left the game due to injury, this hit will further his legendary toughness– partly because of an image tweeted by @PhillyGirl1437.

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