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On Tuesday night, as EPIX’s The Road To The Winter Classic began, the Caps began what became the longest shootout in NHL history. The scheduling conflict forced fans to make a difficult decision: reality TV or live hockey. For those who stuck with the live hockey, they got a shootout that went a record twenty rounds, five more than the previous record, which also belonged to the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin actually shot twice in the losing effort.

Karl Alzner, Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Tom Wilson all got their first career shootout attempts in the same game.

With all the wackiness on the ice and the game determined not to end, the Caps turned to a late-game baseball tradition to influence the outcome: rally helmets.

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ovechkin-back-tattoos

You’ve been missed, Ovechkin back tattoos.

Did you guys watch the first episode of Road to the Winter Classic? We did! (If you didn’t, here’s how you can watch it now.)

A lot went down. Teows went to the quiet room, Trotz got in a spat with Devorski, Ovi’s back tattoos came back, and the Caps wiseguys stole the show. Come relive the memories with me and Ian, who almost agree about it.

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Eliot J Schechter

Photo: Eliot J. Schechter

Kind of a snoozer in Sunrise. The way the Washington Capitals played against the Florida Panthers was so button-up and boring I was waiting for the dowager countess of Grantham to say something snarky. No team wanted to win this one, and then things went completely apenuts in the shootout.

Mike Green choked up the puck to Scottie Upshall to give Derek McKenzie a layup, making it 1-0 for the Panthers going into the first intermission. Troy Brouwer tied it on the power play in the second, getting the puck back after a block by Willie Mitchell. A washed-out kicked goal by Brooks Laich meant we were headed for overtime, which was exciting enough I guess, but no result.

Prepare yourself for the shootout bullet epic!

  • Fehr didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Huberdeau didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Backstrom didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Bjugstad didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Kuznetsov didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Boyes didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ovechkin PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET.
  • Jokinen also put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Brouwer didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Kopecky didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Latta didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • My god this is going long. Epix show is almost over by now.
  • Barkov didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Brooks PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET.
  • Bolland also put the biscuit in the basket. Harumph.
  • Johansson didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Flash didn’t put the biscuit in the basket. He burned the biscuit.
  • Schmidt didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Upshall didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ward PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET.
  • MacKenzie also put the biscuit in the basket. It never ends
  • Carlson PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET.
  • Bergenheim put the biscuit in the basket. This is my hell.
  • Beagle didn’t put the biscuit in the basket, but shoulda been a biscuit-delivering beagle.
  • Hayes didn’t put the biscuit in the basket. Life is meaningless and full of pain.
  • Green didn’t didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Campbell didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Chimera’s biscuit missed the basket by a mile.
  • Gudbranson didn’t put the biscuit in the basket. You can’t put a biscuit in the 5-hole.
  • Wilson didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ekblad didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Niskanen didn’t put the biscuit in the basket because the stupid crossbar.
  • Kulikov didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • BORPIK PUT THE BISCUIT IN THE BASKET!!!!
  • Olsen didn’t put the biscuit in the basket. 17 rounds down.
  • Alzner didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Mitchell didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Backstrom, part II, didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Jokinen, part II, didn’t put the biscuit in the basket. I no longer fear death.
  • Ovechkin didn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Bjudgstad put the biscuit in the basket! WINNER. FINALLY. I’M OKAY WITH THIS.

Panthers beat Caps 2-1 in the longest shootout I can remember!

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episode-one-epix

The first episode of Epix Presents the Road to the Winter Classic is below.

Hit play and let’s chat in the comments. It’ll be a blast.

Go Caps.

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Photo: @CapitalsPR

Before the Caps and Panthers faced off in Sunrise, Alex Ovechkin, in those ridiculous yellow spandex shorts, met up with some joe schmo during warmu… OMG, that’s Bobby Orr!

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green-stick

Sometimes I hate writing about individual plays, because some people think it makes the man. It doesn’t. Even when John Scott blows by Brooks Orpik for a goal.

So when I show you this Mike Green turnover, I want you to remember that Green has been the Capitals best defender this season and I’m 90% writing about this because of what happened afterwards.

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The Road to the Winter Classic debuts tonight at 10 PM ET on a network called EPIX. You almost certainly don’t have EPIX, so you may have some anxiety about how to watch.

Let us help you.

Because the channel isn’t everywhere (read: anywhere), you can catch free online using a whole bunch of sources. We’re going to try to embed the episode right here on RMNB. But if you want to watch it time-shifted/on demand/whenevs, you’re gonna need a free trial subscription. You should probably do that now.

Now, here’s the skinny.

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The Swedish Machine doin' his thing

The Swedish Machine, doin’ his thing with the Florida Cats

You know that scene in the Star Wars movie? The first one…or, the fourth one which was actually the first? The one that was good?

Luke and Han are blasting away at all the awful spaceships that are swarming around outside, and Luke is missing and missing and just shooting impotently away, pew pew pew, until he actually gets one? The one that was headed directly toward him in a straight line at about 10 miles an hour? And he’s so happy and Han says “Don’t get cocky, kid”?

That.

Oh, I can hear you all now, sighing “There goes Doug who knows nothing about hockey and is just a huge wet blanket and shut up.” I mean, those very few of you who actually read these things. Hey, I’m super fantastic happy about how the Caps are playing these days, and I loved seeing Nick “Swedish Machine Never Smiles” Backstrom get a hattie in regular season. And we’re playing the Florida Panthers tonight, who aren’t 1/2 the team Tampa is, or us probably, so there’s no need to worry, right?

Call me Eeyore, but I just can’t get too comfortable with this team. As awesome as they are, I’ve just seen too many times great play slide suddenly into crap.

Speaking of, I’ll say this about Sunrise, Florida, home of the Cats: at least it’s not Fort Lauderdale. Since starting in the 90’s expansion, Panthers management have done just about everything they could to alienate their fans… sorta like another professional sports team that’s become a tire fire since being acquired by a certain weasel, which needs not be named. Even down to the location of BB&T arena where we play tonight, which is located literally ACROSS THE STREET from the marshy, anaconda-filled Everglades. Nice move, Panthers.

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Caps at Panthers Pregame: Ready for Their Close-Up

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GIF: We See Red

Tonight is the debut of whatever the name of the show is about the Winter Classic on EPIX. But before that, we’ve gotta watch the Capitals play visitor to the Florida Panthers, who somehow are a pretty good team this season!

The Caps haven’t lost in #rego since December 2nd, and they don’t play to start now. See you at 7:30 on CSN Plus.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 14-10-5 50.9% 99.3 26.5% 77.0%
Florida Panthers 12-8-8 51.4% 99.0 13.8% 80.8%

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epix-poster

Tonight at 10 PM, the first episode of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic will air online featuring (hopefully) organic, not-at-all-contrived coverage of the team we love (also the Chicago Blackhawks). I admit I’m super excited for all the right reasons (pageviews!). Some old RMNB footage might even make a short cameo on the show.

EPIX has posted exclusive photos, featuring some fantastic portraits of Caps stars.

I have a feeling at least half of you are going to be very excited to continue scrolling. I even included a few GIFs and a video too.

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