The Pittsburgh Penguins mud-stomped the Washington Capitals in Game Two, so of course the visiting fans celebrated from the steps of the National Gallery. Without tradition our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.
On April 30, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
That was brutal. The Washington Capitals played badly and poorly against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two. I mean poorly in the sense that they did not perform well. I mean badly in the sense that they did some stuff that wasn’t exactly gallant. And yet, thanks to the singularly stellar performance of a certain Saskatchewanian stud in net, the Caps kept the score close.
The Penguins had little to show for their possession dominance until Nick Bonino won a board battle and set up Carl Hagelin for the opening goal.
In the third, Marcus Johansson, that notorious softy, tied the game with a power play goal earned from the paint. But with five minutes left, former Capital Eric Fehr caught a puck from Evgeni Malkin and tapped home the game-winner.
Game One between the Penguins and Capitals was tense and physical. It took solid goaltending (a .933 from Braden Holtby) and TJ Oshie’s hat trick to get the win. The Caps cannot depend on that again tonight, so let’s look for some production from Alex Ovechkin and a better game from the second line.
Capitals lead the series 1-0.
Puck drops at Verizon Center at 8 PM. Game’s on NBC Sports, Emrick announcing. I’ve got recap duties here.
Right after the final goal horn went off on Thursday night, I chatted with Andy and Steve, two fervent Caps fans who also happen to be members of the band Young Rising Songs. We talked about the win, hockey, and rock and roll. It was fun chat and now you get to hear it.
On April 28, 2016, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since 2009, first time in the RMNB era. (Is that a thing? Can we say that?) We knew this series would be entertaining, but I don’t know if I was truly prepared for Game One being the seventy-minute, end-to-end, goal-filled, goat tornado that it was.
Scoring was opened with Swedish aplomb by prom king Andre Burakovsky, popping in a loose puck with a one-timer in the first period.
In the second, the Penguins struck back with two goals in 60 seconds: Ben Lovejoy’s goal after Orlov and Schmidt wrecked one another and Evgeni Malkin’s nifty top-shelf shot. Olli Maata’s blue-line giveaway freed TJ Oshie for a breakaway goal, tying the game at 2 after 40 minutes.
Oshie did it again in the third period, giving the Caps the lead with a backhander to Murray’s five hole, but Nick Bonino got a fortunate bounce off Schmidt’s stick to tie it again. That score got us to the end of #rego and into overtime.
TJ OSHIE WON IT WITH A WRAPAROUND! HAT TRICK PLAYOFF OVERTIME GAME WINNING GOAL!
Sid vs Ovi is a headline, not a story. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a talented offensive team riding a white-hot season finish under a new coach. The Washington Capitals are the league’s most successful team, armed with balanced attack and a top-tier backstop.
The Caps-Pens series of 2009 was one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. In that battle of Sid vs Ovi, the winner was probably Malkin. Shrug. Maybe this series will be determined by star power, but that’s generally not the way this team sport works.
Now that I’ve spent this intro de-hyping tonight’s game, let’s actually get into it. Puck drop on NBCSN at 8 PM. It’s on.
The first round of the playoffs did not go as expected. The leading contenders from the west, the Kings, the Ducks, and the Hawks, all got ousted. As a result, all our predictions look even stupider than they normally would. Yey. Fun. Let’s do it again.
The Capitals have defeated the Flyers (finally), so now is the time to secure your tickets to the Caps vs the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. For the first time 2009, we’ll see Alex Ovechkin vs Sidney Crosby in the playoffs. I’m so nervous I could vomit.