Holtby: engulfed by a sea of love.
After taking a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Capitals finally closed out their first-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Six. Nicklas Backstrom scored the game’s only goal and Braden Holtby posted his fourth career postseason shutout in front of Flyers fans at Wells Fargo Center.
As the final seconds waned, Karl Alzner raised his stick high in the air. Holtby and Alzner exchanged fist bumps. Then the Caps engulfed their goalie with a huge group hug in the crease.
Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports
As Peter so eloquently put it in the recap, the Washington Capitals had their garbage game tonight. But here’s where I’m going to blow your mind: the Caps still almost came back. They outshot the Habs 36-34 and were inches from tying the score.
There were a few good moments late in the game. Dmitry Orlov’s sixth SCOARLOV of the year was a sick snipe. Andre Burakovsky’s goal, which brought the Caps to within one, was also a gem.
Photo: Rob Carr
During Monday night’s game against the Coyotes, Evgeny Kuznetsov pirouetted across the offensive zone (sound familiar?) and fired a rocket that trickled past Arizona netminder Louis Dominque. It was his 18th goal and 61st point of the year.
Kuznetsov then skated behind the net and twirled in his finger in the air, which has become his trademark celebration during his breakout season. Earlier today I asked him about it.
Alex Ovechkin didn’t score a goal on Wednesday. He didn’t get an assist either. Really, the only thing he contributed was getting elbowed in the face. But to Ovi, team success has always been more important than individual stuff. He celebrates harder for his teammates goals than for his own.
And now, this:
Last night, the Washington Capitals found out that they had earned a playoff spot while flying back to DC from Detroit. According to the Caps’ Mike Vogel, there was a “loud cheer on the plane as [the] boys learned the news.”
If that wasn’t endearing enough, the Caps took a ridiculous celebration picture as Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin emerged from the plane. They smiled for the camera flailing their arms like it was an R. Kelly video.
Ovechkin didn’t stop there. Not even a little.
Photo: Bill Smith
The Capitals goalie hasn’t had a lot to smile about since October 26th. The Capitals’ five-game losing streak came to an end on Friday night. Stopping 38 shots from the Chicago Blackhawks, Braden Holtby was instrumental in securing the win and ending the slump.
So let’s celebrate.
Late starts in the playoffs have an impact on how some Caps fans watch games. For example: take five-year-old Ben from Cleveland, Ohio, who had to go to bed during the latter stages of game five on Friday night because it was past his bedtime. No matter, the next morning Mom restarted the game for Ben as soon as he woke up.
That’s a good way to start your day.
Third line checker Joel Ward isn’t usually on the power play, but last night in the second period head coach Adam Oates played a hunch on the Capitals first extra-man advantage of the game.
“My name was called and I just went out there,” Ward said after the game. “I was excited to be out there. I just tried to pay attention to the details and get in my spot.”
Mathieu Perreault may get all the attention for his post-game #PerryCellys, but don’t sleep on Joel Ward, who couldn’t stop jumping on the bench after Mike Ribeiro’s clutch game-winning goal in overtime of game five.
It’s becoming a tradition — one that I truly enjoy. When the Caps win in overtime, Mathieu Perreault freaks out like a 5-year-old who has inhaled one of those giant pixie stick straws and starts flailing around erratically. Perry started the celebration thing after a shootout win over Winnipeg, and he did it again after the Caps beat the Islanders. When Eric Fehr scored in OT to give Washington a win in their final game of the regular season, Perreault delivered.
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