The Capitals have had a lot of players in their 42-year history that have etched their names into the franchise record books. Joe (pronounced Joe-AY) Juneau is one of those players.
Juneau spent parts of six seasons with the Caps, but he is best remembered for scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 6 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Final against the Buffalo Sabres; a goal that sent the Capitals to their first (and to date only) Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. Originally a fourth round (81st overall) pick of the Boston Bruins in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, Juneau was acquired by the Caps on March 21, 1994, for defenseman Al Iafrate. Juneau finished the 1993-94 season with 19 goals, 66 assists, and 85 points in 74 games, including 13 points (five goals, assists) in 11 games with the Capitals.
Juneau’s first season in the District was shortened by a lockout, and he played 44 of a possible 48 games, finishing second in the team in scoring with five goals and 38 assists for 43 points. Juneau’s first full season with the Caps was a productive one, as he scored 14 goals and finished the season with 64 points in 80 games played.
Over the next two seasons (1996-97, 1997-98), Juneau recorded 73 points (24 goals, 49 assists) in 114 games played. Despite his productive regular seasons, Juneau’s impact with the Caps hit a peak in the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Buffalo Sabres, the Caps needed one more win to advance to their first Cup Final. With the Sabres and Capitals tied 2-2 after 60 minutes of play, the game headed to overtime. With Buffalo goaltender Dominik Hasek down, Juneau put the puck past him and sent the Caps to their first Stanley Cup Final (they would be swept by the Detroit Red Wings).
After 63 games played with the Caps the following season, Juneau was traded to ironically, Buffalo for Alexei Tezikov and Buffalo’s fourth round compensatory pick (later traded to Calgary). Tezikov play 28 games with the Caps, recording only a goal and assist. Juneau would finish his career with the Ottawa Senators, Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes, and Montreal Canadiens, before retiring in 2004. He would finish his career with 572 points in 828 career games.
Even if the Caps do reach the Stanley Cup Final again, Juneau’s place in franchise history is sealed. No other player has the distinction of being the man who helped get the Caps reach such a historic accomplishment.
Check out NoVa Caps’ other Alumni Features:
Capitals Alumni Profile: Rick Green
Portrait of A Caps Alumnus: Kelly Miller
Capitals Alumni Profile: Mike GreenInterview With Kevin “Killer” Kaminski
Portrait of a Caps Alumnus – Mike Gartner
By Michael Fleetwood