Little ol’ Chris Gordon has a big ol’ byline today. Over at the New York Times, where they spell NHL as “N.H.L.” and number one as “No. 1,” Gordon tells us the tale of Braden Holtby, a humble farm boy who rose to become the Washington Capitals’ most important player.
Good morning, Caps fans. Ian and I got together last night to discuss the Caps’ seven-game victory over the New York Islanders, the upcoming series against the New York Rangers, Ovi’s bid for the Hart, and a heck of a lot more.
Steve Dangle of Sportsnet (yeah, of Sportsnet; didn’t you hear? Bloggers be gettin’ paid) is cutting fun video recaps of every playoff series. On Tuesday he cut one for the Caps-Isles series, which everyone knew would go seven games. While Steve is a dedicated Toronto fan (and I’m using “fan” as a polite euphemism for basically Robert Deniro as Curly Renard in the movie The Fan), he had nothing but nice things to say about the series.
Game seven. Gay sev. The most Caps of Caps hockey. Will they lose in a teeth-gnasher or will they lose in a blowout?
THEY WILL DO NEITHER, GOOD SIR. THEY WILL DO NEITHER.
We were nearly forty minutes into a scoreless (and penalty-free) game when Brooks Orpik took a slapper from the blue line. Jaroslav Halak had the shot covered, but Joel Ward was all up on him. A couple vicious taps to a sensitive region and a slow trickle followed: 1-0 Capitals.
The Isles owned the puck early in the third. Frans Nielsen entered the zone and cut to the middle, putting a sneaky shot on Braden Holtby that went five-hole. Tie game with 17 minutes left.
Ten minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov was jokes. He moved laterally across the crease, undressing Halak and splaying him on his side. From no angle, Kuzy hit the back of the net.
The Washington Capitals have defeated the New York Islanders.
Tonight, the Capitals will play game seven against the New York Islanders. It will be the tenth time the club has played in a game seven in the playoffs. Of the nine that have come before, the Caps have won three.
Oh God What Happened
Lost 5-0 to the Rangers
Lost 2-1 to the Rangers
Beat the Bruins 2-1 in OT
Lost 2-1 to the Canadiens
Lost 6-2 to the Penguins
Beat the Rangers 2-1
Lost 3-2 to the Flyers
Lost 5-0 to the Penguins
Lost 3-1 to the Penguins
Lost 3-2 to the Devils
Beat the Flyers 5-4 in OT
Lost 3-2 to the Islanders in 4OT
Game seven (gay sev to those in the know) is a familiar, painful Capitals tradition– one that began in ’87 with the heartbreak that was the Easter Epic. No matter what happens tonight, the game will take years off your life. The anxiety is imminent, and it will certainly make you a worse employee and a lazier lover.
How are you preparing for the game? Are you wearing rad Caps gear? Is it radder than my my signed Bradley jersey? Are you making signs and taking them to the game? Got any chants in mind? What is your dog doing and is he/she cute?
Use this space to share your outfit, your plans, and your feels. We’ll get through this together.
The Caps did not close out the series on the road, but you knew that already.
For the millionth time, the Islanders got onto the scoreboard first. Brooks Orpik lost the play after going for a hit, so John Carlson was overwhelmed in covering John Tavares and company: 1-0 Isles. Late in the period, that same Carlson gave the Caps power play a shot in the arm with a big goal. The second period was wild but scoreless.
Wild Butt Scoreless is the name of my Poison cover band.
Midway through the third period, everything happened in a single play. A rumble along the bench went unwhistled, so Ovechkin creamed Tavares into the glass, and then somehow Kulemin was all alone to beat Braden Holtby. Beagle hit the crossbar, and then Clutterbuck got the empty netter.
Islanders beat Caps 3-1. The series is tied 3-3. Gay sev on Monday.
Thursday’s 5-1 win over the New York Islanders was the best Capitals’ playoff victory win since 2009. Now, if the Caps can get just one goal over the Isles, they can advance to the next round and shut down Nassau Coliseum for good.
Crash the net. Finish the fight. Shut down the barn.
Also tonight, we witnessed the emergence of Evgeny Kuznetsov as a Caps playoff legend. Scoring two in a thrilling home-ice win over the Islanders, Kuznetsov is all you’ll talk about on Friday. If someone tries to talk about something else, then you’re done talking to that person.
The Caps surrendered the game’s first goal to Josh Bailey, but don’t worry– the rest of this recap is gonna be a blast.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, the goddamn hero, batted a puck out of mid-air to tie the game, and then Karl Alzner (no seriously) stormed the net to give the Caps the lead after forty. The Caps blew a power play early in the third, but Brooks Laich grabbed a loose puck soon after to make it 3-1.
The flood gates.
In the third, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second of the night on a breakaway, and then Jason Chimera got a dribbler into the Isles net. And with that, at long last, the Capitals had chased Jaroslav Halak from the net in a playoff game.
Caps beat Islanders 5-1. Caps lead the series 3-2.