With the second game of Round 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs on our agenda for the night of April 15, 2017, we attended the game at Verizon Center.
We drove to the Reston-Wiehle Metro Station and took the Metro Silver Line from there, as there was no news of any track work that would adversely affect service. Even with the Metro closing at midnight, thanks to information available on Safe Track, we figured we could make it through at least one overtime period and possibly two. So off we went to the game.
Fans actually having to leave to meet midnight Metro curfew
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) April 16, 2017
The game was a seesaw affair with multiple lead changes and, like Game 1, headed into overtime. While the game started at 7:00 p.m., the regulation portion of the game was relatively long and it was close to 10:00 p.m. before it had ended. The first overtime period came and went, with Alex Ovechkin unable to finish a late chance. So, the score remained tied at 3 apiece.
During the intermission between the overtime periods, my husband and I strategized about when we would have to leave the game in order to make the last Metro train. We even discussed whether we should walk to Metro Center and catch the Silver Line there or go to the Metro Station at Gallery Place, ride for one stop, and transfer at Metro Center. We opted for doing the former. With the second intermission beginning at approximately 11:00 p.m., my husband suggested we should leave at 11:30 p.m. which we assumed would be late in the period. As it turned out, it was around the time when Babcock, the Maple Leafs coach called a timeout after the icing, a timeout that seemed interminable. At that point, we left for the Metro. As we entered the corridor of Verizon Center, we heard the announcement, “Metro closes at midnight. Last trains for individual lines will vary.” Thus, we left the game, with the outcome in doubt.
We walked to Metro Center without incident. Luckily, the downward escalator was operational, which was not the case on Thursday. That was critical, as my husband, with his bad knees, has major trouble walking down steps, especially the steps of a stopped escalator. We walked onto the mezzanine area where the Red Line was and then proceeded to the lower floor where we planned to catch the Silver Line. Once we reached the bottom floor, we noticed that one Orange train was arriving. The next trains on the schedule were a Blue Line train in 8 minutes and another Orange Line train in 20 minutes. There was no Silver Line train listed. At that point, we realized the Silver Line going west bound was not going to happen even though we saw a Silver Line going eastward to Largo. Hence, we jumped on the Orange Line and figured we would have to either take an Uber or a cab home.
As we traveled through DC and past the Rosslyn station, we finally saw a schedule in Virginia which listed the following: 1) the Orange Line train we were on; 2) another Orange Line train in 20 minutes; 3) a “mystery” train in 30 minutes. Note: my husband and I refer to any train that doesn’t list a line, such as Orange, Silver, or Blue, as a “mystery” train. Sometimes, mystery trains prove to be the line we wish, but other times not. Given the long wait and not knowing what we’d get, we figured we would have to take Uber it home.
Just before getting off at East Falls Church, I announced, “Would anyone like to share an Uber with us to Reston/Wiehle?” I discovered another couple on the train who were willing. So, as we got off the train at East Falls Church, that was the plan. Given that I had never used Uber before, I needed to set up an account, which was a more of a challenge than expected since I was down to 20% power on my Smartphone. My husband had accidentally left his phone at home so we only had my phone. Still, I was trying to set up the account and was being prompted for a password.
We wandered outside. Before I could set up my account, we saw a cab. The four of us figured we’d share it, but it appeared the wife of that couple we were with was exploring other options and didn’t approach the cab. In the end, only my husband and I boarded the cab for Reston for a cost of just over $30. We figured the cab, since it was right there, was an easier option than setting up Uber and then waiting for a ride. I have no idea what transportation option our new-found companions used.
In the end it was a fail for Metro, who apparently had cut off the Silver Line, long before the deadline of midnight – unless that “mystery” train was, indeed, a Silver Line. Even so, it would have been a longer than expected interval between trains. As I boarded the cab, I checked my dying Smartphone and learned that the Caps had lost in double overtime soon after we had left the game. It was that type of day, as my favorite baseball teams had all failed that day, too.
It is truly a Metro fail, when fans taking Metro cannot even stay for an entire playoff game.
By Diane Doyle