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When one thinks of potential playoff heroes for the Capitals, defenseman Brooks Orpik’s name most likely isn’t one of them. The 38-year old blueliner is known for his physical, stay-at-home defensive play that has earned the respect of teammates, coaches, and fans over his career. With that said, Orpik’s heroics in the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime win in Game 2 of their first round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes is nothing new to the veteran.
While he may not boast the most outstanding playoff offensive totals (four goals, 26 points in 151 career playoff games), Orpik has come through in the clutch in the postseason for both the Caps and during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Orpik scored his first postseason goal in more than four seasons to give the Capitals a two-goal lead en route to an eventual 3-2 win.
The team would go on to win the next three games to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in their 44-year history. Had Orpik not scored, there is no telling which way the hard-fought game would have gone. With his first goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Orpik gave the Capitals a 2-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes, and some extra momentum heading into Carolina on Monday.
Orpik’s overtime goal this afternoon against the Hurricanes was the second such marker of his career. The radio call from John Walton on Caps Radio:
His first came during his 11-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he played in the playoffs in eight of his 11 seasons in the Steel City (he has made the postseason in each of his five seasons with the Caps). His first career playoff overtime goal came during the Penguins’ first round series against the New York Islanders in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the score tied 3-3 in Game 6, and with the Pens holding a 3-2 series lead, Orpik blasted a shot from the blueline to lift the Black and Gold to a series win. The Penguins would go on to play the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference but fell in four straight games.
Per NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, three of Orpik’s four career playoff goals are game-winners and he is now the oldest defenseman to score an overtime goal in the playoffs.
Brooks Orpik has four career playoff goals: three were game-winners, two in OT
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) April 13, 2019
Brooks Orpik (38 years, 199 days) is the oldest defenseman in NHL history to score an overtime goal in the #StanleyCup Playoffs.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 14, 2019
While he may not be counted on to score in overtime every game, the man affectionately called “Batya” has had himself an impressive first two games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, playing just under 20 minutes (17:27 in Game 1 and just over 18 in Game 2) in each game, while picking up a goal and assist. And if the Capitals can continue to get contributions from throughout the lineup, it bodes nothing but good things going forward.
By Michael Fleetwood