It all started with Alex Ovechkin closing his eyes and dropping his head back in an almost tranquil way. He was the picture of relief, finally leading the Washington Capitals through to the conference finals. The moment was so captivating for its honesty, Ovechkin reacting as if a literal weight had been lifted off him as he raised both arms. What’s turning into the spring of Ovechkin can be told through a series of clips like that one, the body language and emotion so endearingly transparent.
Delirious with joy, the Capital One Arena crowd chanted what the Washington Capitals have to be thinking now more than ever. "We want the Cup! We want the Cup!" The Capitals are one win away from their first championship following a 6-2 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.
“I want to win the Stanley Cup. I want to be the best, just the best. I must work. I must learn. Help my team. Play hockey, that’s all. Hockey is my life, you know. If I do not play hockey, I do not know what I do.” – Alex Ovechkin, October, 2005, via the Washington Post. When Alex Ovechkin stepped on to the T-Mobile Arena ice ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, he could feel how much of an atmosphere change it was compared to the previous three rounds of the playoffs. There was a different energy in the air and the stage was even bigger than he had ever experienced.
At this point, the Washington Capitals must view the Pittsburgh Penguins like Charlie Brown does a football, Wile E. Coyote does the Road Runner or the New York Jets do Bill Belichick. They are an insurmountable obstacle, a constant and unavoidable hindrance. The twee definition of insanity has long been "doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." But can one really be insane if he is at the mercy of a playoff bracket and his rival's stubborn refusal to check out in the first round? Or does that still fall under the diagnosis?
Despite blowing another lead, Washington heads into Game 4 trailing Columbus by just one game after a strange double-overtime goal by Lars Eller.
For the first time in three years -- and just the second time since 2009 -- all four second-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs will go at least six games. That sets the stage across the hockey landscape for some pretty compelling drama. And, as with most dramas, a few heroes will emerge to etch their names in NHL history. Any rostered player still playing in the playoffs has an opportunity to be that hero. But a scan of recent playoff history reveals that certain players have been more prolific than most when it comes to seizing the moment on hockey's biggest stage. Here are five players who have been the true kings of clutch when their teams needed it most:
The forward appeared in just 24 games for Washington, which did not want to send him to the minors for fear of exposing him to waivers.
Alex Ovechkin stood in an all-too-familiar setting, surrounded by cameras, and tried to explain as best he could why his team's season had once again ended too early, the gray specks in his beard another reminder that this annual, soul-crushing ritual is getting mighty old.
The line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson is struggling and the Capitals' fortunes are struggling along with them, which has to change if they want to win the series.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal in the Capitals' 1-0 victory of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.The Capitals won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. The Penguins defeated the New York Rangers in five games in their first-round series.
The Philadelphia Flyers will have to try to mount a comeback against the Washington Capitals without one of their best players. The New York Rangers are optimistic they will have their franchise player back for a rally against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Washington Capitals season preview: Caps have all the right tools for the push