I Guarantee That This Does Not Matter

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There I was, getting Chipotle and listening to Bullseye, when I get the notification above. Apparently, Alex Ovechkin has guaranteed a win in game seven, and Barry Trotz loves it.

The second part is true. The first part is not.

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NickWassHoltby

Photo credit: Nick Wass

Braden Holtby is that good. He has been the best goalie of the playoffs, posting a .951 save percentage through 11 games. But on Sunday night, the New York Rangers offense finally broke through. They jumped out to a 4-1 lead before the Capitals almost pulled off an unbelievable comeback. For the first time this postseason, we saw Holtby crack. Washington’s faith in him, however, is unshaken. They were not interested in talking about Henrik Lundqvist, who turned aside 42 shots in Washington’s one-goal defeat.

“Our goalie’s better,” Evgeny Kuznetsov, defiant in his postgame media scrum, said. “I don’t know what you want to listen from my mouth, but our goalie’s better.”

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Photo: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/

After taking a 3-1 lead in their second round series against the Rangers, the Caps lost game six 4-3 in front of their home fans on Sunday night and now must play in another excruciating game seven on Wednesday.

Despite the Caps’ history of choking in the playoffs– they have blown 3-1 series leads four times, the most in NHL history– Alex Ovechkin believes this Caps team is different. Despite winning only three of their last 14 series-clinching games, he believes they can return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998. And he’s not considering any other friggin’ result.

Check out what he said after the game tonight.

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Rangers beat Caps 4-3, Force Game Seven

Hello, darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to play game seven again.

The Washington Capitals were designed by the Enemy to make your life unbearable. They get dominated by the Rangers, the fall in a three-goal hole, they mount a comeback, they almost do it but fall late.

Chris Krieder scored the first and second goals of the game in the first and last minute of the first period. Jason Chimera cleaned up a rebound to get the Caps in it in the second, but Rick Nash and Dan Boyle scored early in the third to put us in blowout territory, but hold on.

Joel Ward forced a turnover and Evgeny Kuznetsov sunk it to restore some vitality to Verizon Center, then Ward did it solo– crashing the net to make it a one-goal game. A huge push late yielded nothing except stress.

Caps lose. To game seven, good ol’ gay sev, we go once more.

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kuznetsov-scream

The Kuznetscream.

The Caps at one point during the third period were down 4-1. Then Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward scored and made it a game! First, the 22-year-old rookie scored his fifth goal of the playoffs off a broken play in front of the net. He now leads the Caps in goals.

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rip-goals

RIP goals. That’s the RMNB tweet Sportsnet’s Sophia Jurksztowicz used to describe the Rangers/Capitals series in a nutshell.

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Look at Henrik’s eyes! (Photo via @WashCaps)

Jason Chimera, the scourge of the empire state, has put the Capitals on the board. Down 2-0 at the beginning of the second period, Chimera finished off a strong rush attack by Ward and Kuznetsov.

There is life in Verizon Center.

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holtby-kiss

The New York freaking Rangers scored 40 seconds into game six, but let’s forget about that for a moment and enjoy a brand new Holtbyism.

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Caps vs. Rangers Pregame: Happy Mother’s Day

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Don’t even try to play it cool. Tonight’s game is humongous big, much like the universe. So, if you have someone special to celebrate Mother’s Day with, go take care of that and then settle in for a night of yelling, screaming, cursing, nail biting and, hopefully, celebrating.

Puck drop is a7 7 on NBCSN.

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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Sporting event broadcasts come filled with narratives. This isn’t narratives in the baseless and meaningless “hot take” sense, but narratives as actual storytelling, which sometimes just happen to be baseless and meaningless. During the playoffs, narratives are thrown into high gear. Everyone likes a good story in their sports, and more eyes are on the sport during playoff time, so it makes sense to try to reel in the casual viewer with a good story.

But these stories, a.k.a. narratives, shouldn’t be told at the expense of facts. Some fact-less narratives are easy to detect. When an announcer basically makes it sound as if the Caps were the laughingstock of the NHL and Alex Ovechkin was a player not playing to his potential before Barry Trotz came around, the false narrative alarm should ring. After all, the Caps have been a playoff team, and at times a serious Cup contender, for much of the Ovechkin era, and Ovechkin himself has led the league in goals five times and won three MVP awards.

On the other hand, there are some narratives that aren’t as easy to evaluate for truthiness. Below are a couple narratives that have continued to pop up this series, whether it be on TV or in conversations with friends about the games. Being that the eye test can often lie to me, I wanted to take a deeper look.

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