Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
My family room likely looked a lot like your family room right around 10pm last night – sheer joy! Screaming – literally jumping for joy – and lots of hugs and high fives! I kept asking myself, “Did that really just happen?”. And then I watched the replay again and again…yes, it did. Yes, we did it. Yes, we are moving onto round three for the first time in twenty years! I wish I could have seen all the family room scenes throughout the DMV and of those fans who live all over the world! Let’s take today and maybe even tomorrow to savor these moments in time and enjoy our team’s victory over the current Stanley Cup Champions and our arch rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
We entered this season not knowing what to expect. We were told our “two-year window of opportunity” was closed – completely shut. We lost several key players – Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt, and Marcus Johansson, our cap space was nill; we pieced together what we could, we pulled our young guns up from Hershey (and from college!) – they have been significant in our run – and we made a few key plays – Devante Smith-Pelly being one of them – Kempny being another. We uniquely crafted a team to go after the 2017-2018 season.
We saw some inconsistencies throughout the season – one of the most significant was with our Netminder, Braden Holtby. His consistent brand of play was “off” and he needed time to mentally recover. And, somewhat lucky for us, we didn’t lose Philipp Grubauer to Vegas and he was ready and able and rose to the occasion to fill in between the pipes for Braden. Philipp was a key factor in our extremely successful season! And as we’ve all seen, Braden is back!
I am so very hopeful that we win eight more games! And I want the victory for us – their fans, we’ve been waiting for a long time! A lifetime for some. Of course, I want them to win for them, too – and I especially want them to win it for both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. What Ovi has done for the Washington Capitals is nothing short of miraculous. In our town, everyone knows his name. Somewhat in his shadow is his line mate, Nicklas Backstrom. And the synergy between these two is breathtaking, magical at times and simply spectacular to watch. While Ovi gets the lion share of the attention by scoring – getting the puck to him, at just the right moment in time, at high speeds, in the midst of traffic and physical confrontation…Backstrom does it like no other.
The game winning goal in game three of the PIT series where Backstrom is so very patient in waiting for the exact right moment to feed Ovechkin – and then Ovi’s shot…that was blocked and deflected by Murray – and then his mid-air puck punch – what skill what grace – it was like a walk off homerun in the bottom of the 9th! Watch the video below again and just sit back and enjoy this pair and the game winning goal!
And then last night, with Backstrom injured, guess who filled in his shoes…punching the puck to Kuzy and then his wish “Just score. Just f’ing please score!”…and he did! At this moment in time, I’m not sure Alex has made a more significant assist. That said, I hope we see Backstrom back in the lineup for the start of round three. Fly Kuzy, fly!
NoVa Caps’ fans, take the time celebrate our victory over the Penguins! And let’s give Pittsburgh some credit. They are a forced to be reckoned with and an extremely talented hockey team. Their play and their talent has played a role in heightening our skill level, our intensity and our desire to win.
You know the saying that says: “When one door closes, another opens.”? We may have had a two year window slam shut on all of our dreams. But the door that is open now…we worked hard to find that door and the opportunity to soar out of it and capture our dream is ours for the taking. Let’s Go Caps!
Our slogans over the past three seasons seem fitting, when you reflect on them today, they have culminated over the years and collectively, they are:
We’ve been patient, now it’s our time. #EIGHTMOREWINS
By: Beckie Reilly