Game 7’s have not been kind to the Washington Capitals blah blah blah. We already knew that. But something was different about this team. The Caps dominated Game 6 at home to stave off elimination and went back down to Tampa, a place where they did win two out of three games in that series, with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years. Meanwhile, Capital One Arena opened their doors and held a watch party allowing fans to catch the game on the videoboard.
Date: May 23, 2018
Result: 4-0 CAPS
Alex Ovechkin made a statement 62 seconds into the game that this wouldn’t be your father’s or grandfather’s Caps Game 7. He blasted a one-timer from Evgeny Kuznetsov past the glove of Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Meanwhile in D.C…
— NHL (@NHL) May 24, 2018
Late in the first period, Tom Wilson and Brayden Coburn dropped the gloves for a joust at center ice. What made this fight even more crazier was they both served penalties. Each was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. As they sat in the sin bin, they each looked at each other. When the time was up, they were ready to go!
Sometimes Game 7’s feature unlikely heroes. For the Caps, Andre Burakovsky has faced a lot of adversity in his young career. He had two long term injures in just this past season alone. One at the beginning of the regular season and one at the beginning of the playoffs. Burakovsky missed the entire second round and served as a healthy scratch in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. In this Game 7 Burakovsky scored two goals in the second period, his first two goals of the playoffs to put the Capitals closer to booking a flight to Las Vegas.
Nicklas Backstrom added an empty net goal late in the third to punch their ticket to the Finals! As the minutes and seconds ticked off in the third period, it was almost like counting down the time on New Years Eve.
Meanwhile back in D.C. fans took over the streets and the steps! There were chants of “We want Vegas!”, “We want the Cup!” and even “F— the Penguins”.
Ovechkin, as emotional as one can get when they’ve been with their team for 13 years and finally led them to the Finals, teared up as he tried to answer questions from the media. Braden Holtby, who stopped all 29 shots he faced and a combined 53 during Games 6 and 7, was there by his side and gave him words of encouragement.
“You’re doing great, babe,” said Holtby.
With 24 hours until banner night, we’ve got just two moments left. What will moment #2 be?! Tune in tomorrow to find out!
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5. “The Save”