Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Washington Capitals. The four games between the two long-time foes have been brutal. The series has featured big hits, head shots, and taunting between rival fans. But during the morning skate, Braden Holtby cut through all of that nonsense and showed why he’s a great human.
The Caps goaltender, who is likely to win this season’s Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie, gave his stick to Brian Azinheira, a 11-yr old Penguins fan battling cancer.
Game Two was unsuccessful to say the least. The Capitals struggled through two periods of play, committed penalty after penalty in the second (though maybe some were undeserved), and lost the game off the stick of an old ally turned foe. So, let’s engage in the oldest pastime known to sports: assigning blame.
Photo: Monumental Sports Network
I know this might sound crazy, but TJ Oshie’s daughter Lyla set the tone for the Washington Capitals ahead of Game One. The Tiny Osh was recorded by her mother kicking the crap out of a Penguins poster, which, according to Dan Steinberg, was left at the family’s doorstep by a neighboring Pens fan.
The clip, which was posted by Lauren Oshie during an Instagram takeover of Ted Leonsis’s Monumental Sports Network, went viral.
Lauren also captured many other precious moments, such as Lyla celebrating her father’s second period breakaway goal at Verizon Center.
The Washington Capitals have lost 7 of 8 playoff match-ups all-time against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Late Thursday evening, TJ Oshie cut through all of that bad history and juju. Oshie scored a hat trick, which included the decisive goal in overtime, giving the Caps a 1-0 series lead over the Pens.
Naturally, Caps fans lost their shit.
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.
The world lost a legend this week. In addition to being a virtuoso musician, prolific songwriter, advocate for artist rights, and a generally funky dude, Prince was also a favorite son of Minnesota. Before the Wild were eliminated by the Stars 5-4 on Sunday afternoon, Xcel Energy honored the late great genius.
Photo: Matt Slocum
Late in the third period of Game Three, Flyers forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare delivered a reckless hit on Dmitry Orlov, driving the Capitals defenseman’s head into the end boards. He was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct with a disciplinary hearing scheduled for Tuesday. In the evening, the NHL delivered its verdict.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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