Nicklas Backstrom is a mild-mannered Swede who shuns the spotlight. That’s why I’m here today to shine that light bright on him.
Early in the second period, the NHL’s reigning first star of the week made a fantastic defensive play, knocking a breakout pass by Conor Sheary out of mid-air. At real speed, it’s cool. The play takes about a half a second to happen.
Monday night at PPG Paints Arena, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins played in a historic game likely never to be duplicated. The two rivals combined for 15 goals. Only one of tallies was scored by one of the team’s two future Hall of Famers (Sidney Crosby in the third period).
After jumping out to what seemed like an insurmountable 3-0 lead, the Capitals gave up five straight second-period goals to the Penguins.
“There were about four or five turning points,” Matt Niskanen said to the Capitals’ Mike Vogel. “The four-on-four in the second period, they get two goals in two minutes. That’s where things started to get a little crazy. Obviously they got a ton of momentum then. We couldn’t really stop them for a while.”
The Capitals would then mount comebacks two different times before eventually forcing overtime with the two teams tied 7-7.
After a controversial no call in the extra session, Conor Sheary scored the game-winning goal, ending a game that seemingly could have gone on forever.
The 15 goals were the most tallied scored in a Caps-Pens game since 1993, when the Penguins beat the Caps 7-5 on March 18, 1993.
Whatever that was between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, it died the way it lived: messily, physically, while blurring the lines of legality.
But if you rewind just a few moments, you’ll find a play that everyone can agree on: Sidney Crosby tripped the living hell out of Alex Ovechkin.
If we’re all going to be completely honest, nobody is quite sure what the heck happened this entire game. All we know is that this was a game for the ages and we were all secretly hoping for a final score in the double digits.
The win streak finally came to an end for the Washington Capitals after the Pittsburgh Penguins came back from a 3-0 deficit and won. It was an extremely exhausting game.
Let’s set the scene. The puck is dropped and there seems to be a strong presence from the Capitals. First, an early goal from Burakovsky to get things cookin’. Shortly after, Backstrom scores with the help of an Ovechkin double screen. The period ends and we’re hoping this goes as well as the previous two games did.
Ahhhh hope, such a fleeting and fickle feeling. The second period begins and this one was nothing short of an absolute DOOZY. Nine goals were scored in total, starting with a Justin Williams beauty. After that, the Penguins score five in a row. Yes, they scored FIVE in a row. The Capitals answer with two, but Pittsburgh gets the last goal of the period with a controversial power play goal from our good buddy (not really) Evgeni Malkin.
There was one more period left in the game and at this point we all feel like we’ve aged approximately an extra fifteen years. Were there more goals? OF COURSE THERE WERE MORE GOALS. Lars Eller saved the day with a game-tying goal late in the third. Unfortunately, overtime happened and the Penguins immediately buried it. I’m exhausted just typing this.
Towards the end of an insane second period, Evgeni Malkin completed a hat trick to give the Penguins a 6-5 lead. But the tally was controversial.
Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz challenged the call on the ice because goaltender Philipp Grubauer was taken out by Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist. After nearly a ten-minute review (on a tiny tablet), Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran ruled that the goal would stand.
The Capitals looked to be in the driver’s seat after Justin Williams extended the team’s lead to 3-0 over the Penguins. Then referees Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran missed an obvious penalty and everything went to hell.
Patric Hornqvist cross-checked forward TJ Oshie in the chin, causing the Caps forward to leave the game briefly. The officials missed it.
So this is a thing that happened.
Late in the second period, the Capitals took a 2-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nicklas Backstrom scored the goal, but I need to point you to what happened seconds before that.
Last week, Alex Ovechkin tallied 1,000 points. Our most-read post of that day was not the one detailing Ovi’s milestone. Instead it was our article entitled Why the Penguins didn’t salute Alex Ovechkin for his 1,000th point.
The post pointed out that the Penguins ignored the milestone, choosing not to stick-tap or acknowledge the hockey legend in any way. The next day, ESPN’s Around The Horn picked up our post and discussed it on national TV.
Many of you have reached out to us see the full segment. ESPN was kind enough to send us the full video.
RMNB reader Josh Robinson traveled from Ohio to see both Caps games this past weekend. Proudly holding up a handmade Believe In Beagle sign, Josh watched Jay Beagle score two goals and the Caps shutout their opponents 11-0. He also met Beags at Kettler. Josh describes his trip below.
It all started out as a joke. At the beginning of this season, I started howling at the television to make my roommate laugh whenever Jay Beagle would win a face off or do something spectacular. I noticed that I was howling at my TV more and more as the season went on. I quickly realized that Jay Beagle is a big deal.
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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