ward-shoved

The Washington Capitals may have just been jobbed out of a big goal.

Set up just outside of the crease, Caps forward Joel Ward screened Henrik Lundqvist as Matt Niskanen unleashed a bomb from the point. Then: craziness.

The shot, which was going wide, deflects off a Rangers stick towards the net. Derek Stepan shoves Ward, Ward collides with Lundqvist, and the puck bounces into the net.

Official Kevin Pollock immediately waves the goal off for incidental contact.

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braden-holtby-meme

Down 3-1 and playing in front of their home fans, the New York Rangers came out jacked for game five. Yet, it didn’t matter. Despite facing 16 shots on goal, “zen as fuckBraden Holtby stopped them all.

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Caps at Rangers Pregame: I’ve Got a Feeling

burra

Tonight, the Caps enter Madison Square Garden with a chance to end the Rangers’ season and advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since the spring of 1998. This won’t be an easy task. The Rangers are likely to play their best game of the series tonight, as their desperation level should be maxed out. Breathe people. The good guys are in the preferable position through four games.

Puck drop is at 7pm on NBCSN. Peter will be back at the helm for his usual game day duties once the game begins.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 45-26-11 51.9% 100.3 25.3% 81.2%
New York Rangers 53-22-7 50.6% 101.7 16.8% 84.3%

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Braden Holtby: Okay At Hockey

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Despite what the national media might tell you, Braden Holtby has been a very good goalie since entering the NHL, and not just since Mitch Korn became his goalie coach. Given the opportunity this season, and freed from the curse of Adam Oates, and yes, under the master tutelage of Korn, Holtby has firmly planted himself among the best goalies in the league. And now, in the 2015 playoffs, Holtby is having himself a spring for the ages so far. (No, I don’t believe in jinxes.)

People don’t seem to be grasping exactly how good Holtby has been. This is exactly how good Holtby has been.

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CapsRangers_69

Photos: Amanda Bowen

The atmosphere at hockey games in Verizon Center is always great, but there’s something extra special about a playoff game. The air is just a bit more electric and the fans a little more on edge.

Wednesday night’s game between the Capitals and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers more than lived up to the playoff hype, from the fans on the glass at warmups to the auction table on the concourse and, most importantly, the action on the ice.

Relive the Caps’ 2-1 comeback win with these great photos from Amanda Bowen.

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Photo via @DJ_SAAM

Tom Wilson had a lot of good fortune last night. His team won, and he did not feel any ill effects from his ten-minute misconduct, which appears to have been called for this sweet jersey-pulling suplex.

After the game, his luck remained. Via Talk The Red’s Saam Bozorgmehr, Wilson got to hang out with Academy Award-winning actor and wacky anthem singer Jamie Foxx in Clarendon.

Foxx was in DC for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Hope Awards.

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ovechkin-fallon

One of Jimmy Fallon’s go-to bits is Superlatives, where he takes an awkward bio photo of an athlete and then gives them a funny superlative like you’d find in a high school yearbook. Last night, he did some for the NHL again (NBC channels are airing all NHL playoff games) and Fallon mentioned three Caps players: Alex Ovechkin, Curtis Glencross, and John Erskine.

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Photo: Rob Carr

One year ago, Evgeny Kuznetsov came to North America. On a spring morning, he took the ice for the first time in a Washington uniform after signing a two-year entry level contract. Save for Capitals coaches, Kuznetsov was alone. Still, cameras followed him incessantly down the ice.

Soon after, RMNB spoke to Kuznetsov for the first time. Last Sunday, we did it again. There was a fair bit to discuss. For Kuznetsov, it’s hard to imagine a more dramatic shift in just one season. So far, he’s been a fourth liner, a second-line second, a healthy scratch, and finally, a playoff hero. Off the ice, Kuznetsov endeared himself to his teammates and became a media darling.

Naturally, we had both asinine and serious questions for Kuzy. He happily obliged.

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Eight minutes into the third period, the Washington Capitals clung to a 2-1 lead, buoyed by Andre Burakovsky’s two goals. After falling behind 1-0, the Caps rebounded and seemed in control.

Then, the nightmare scenario: Carl Hagelin raced in on a breakaway towards Braden Holtby after a Caps’ miscommunication in the neutral zone. Mike Green, realizing this could be a disaster, chose the two-minute minor hooking penalty over the layup goal. Green reached his stick out and tugged on Hagelin’s gut.

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best

Hoo boy, the Washington Capitals are not making this easy. The New York Rangers pretty much owned the zone, but the Caps had a secret weapon, codename: Burracuda.

The Rangers were on attack for the game’s first half pretty much always, but Braden Holtby had them solved– at least until Derick Brassard beat Alex Ovechkin on the rush to score New York’s first goal since the late 80s. It looked grim for the home team, but then Andre Burakovsky did unbelievable things. He scored late in the second and early in the third, breaking out on the national scene in a way the league hasn’t seen since Evgeny Kuznetsov did the exact same thing last round.

Didn’t even have to use Ovi.

Caps beat Rangers 2-1. The Caps lead the series 3-1. Is this real life?

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