Went to an incredible playoff game last night. As readers who tune into this place on a regular basis know, I'm a 35 year Caps fan. This year has been great for the team. They won their third straight division title and clinched their first President's Trophy with the NHL's best record. Nice regular season accomplishments but the main goal is the Stanley Cup, which the Capitals have never won.
So the Caps lost their playoff opener in overtime and were facing a must win at home for game two. I was in the top row of section 409 and the atmosphere was electric.
However, the Caps did not get off to a good start and were down 2-0. There was a goalie change. Caps got a goal but the Canadiens got two more and it was 4-1 Montreal.
But the Caps rallied back and tied the game at 4. Montreal re-took the lead 5-4 with five minutes left but the never say die Caps tied it up at five with 1:21 left in the game.
Overtime. I told my friend Paul I felt good about the Caps chances. Over the years going back to the Caps 1998 Cup Finals run, I'd sat with him for a few playoff games and the Caps had never lost. Plus another friend of mine, Mike C was sitting two rows in front of me. He and I were at the Caps greatest playoff comeback, down 3-0 to the Flyers in game 7 of the 1988 Patrick Division semifinals. Caps won that in OT on Dale Hunter's classic goal.
I told Paul the Caps were winning this and I said they would take care of business in under two minutes.
Sure enough, Nicklas Backstrom made me look good and 18,500 plus fans happy with his third goal of the game just :31 into the OT. Caps win 6-5. Series tied 1-1 headed to Montreal.
Guess who has Paul's extra ticket to game five next Friday...
Enjoy the pictures from game two. I had fun taking them.
I got to Verizon Center early. Caps management and game day staff let folks take pictures during warm ups, so I took advantage of that.
I got goosebumps looking at the playoff logo on the ice. I'm still a little kid following this team. I still get excited going to Caps games at age 48 the same way I did when I was 12.
Comcast Sportsnet's Smokin' Al Koken, who has been a DC sports fixture for over thirty years.
Montreal's Scott Gomez
Semyon Varlamov, who would come up big for the Caps in this game
The view from the last row of Section 409
Caps ready for the draw
Canadiens on the move
Caps attack the goal
Caps Defenseman Tom Poti and Canadiens Scott Gomez fight. Key moment for the Caps as this pumped them up and got them back in the game.
Ovie getting knocked around
Caps John Carlson ties the game at 5 with 1:21 left in the third period
Mike C anxious for the OT to start. For the record that's a home Dale Hunter jersey with the A on the front, before Hunter became Captain of the Caps. He's had that jersey for a number of years.
Caps Game winning goal! I was pleased I got this shot as the house was rocking hard when the overtime started. Then it erupted after the goal, thus the blur. Still, I was very happy I got this.
Celebration of Nicklas Backstrom's hat trick!
#1 Star of the Game Nicklas Backstrom
A link to the Washington Post game story.