During the regular season, I made a post counting down my favorite moments. I figure now that the postseason is unfortunately long over, it’s time to do the same with the playoffs. It’s been awhile, so hopefully this is still relevant, but admittedly it’s taken me awhile to recover enough to make this. So I give you my top moments of the postseason.
You all know I love Oshbabe so perhaps this one has a little bias. I love the spark and energy that he brings to the game, and I thought these goals of his were worth including, as they were pretty sweet.
Nicklas Backstrom was arguably the best Caps player during the playoffs. We may have faltered at the end, but Nicky came to play. In celebration of Nicky, I’ve picked some of his best goals from the playoffs. I also picked a wonderful screencap, which I enjoy cause it kind of looks like he’s astral projecting.
Burky was a little late to the goal-scoring party in the playoffs, but man did he pick a good time to score them all. And they were all beautiful?? A toe drag and two unassisted beauties?? Amazing. He’s so talented and really coming into his own. And do you want to hear something that will definitely make you cry? Burky scored both the very first and the very last goal of the Caps’ season.
Laying a big hit on Malkin? You’d have to be a fool. Luckily John Carlson was feeling foolhardy. To prevent Malkin from getting a good scoring chance in the Caps zone, Carly laid a crunching hit on Geno which resulted in him losing the puck and Ovechkin very quickly scoring. I love my foolhardy beanie son.
8. Holtby’s series-saving saves in Game 5 (Rd 2 Game 5 vs PIT) (x)(x)
We were down 3-1 in the series, and it was looking like the Caps were down and out. Enter Braden Holtby. After a bit of shaky play in the series, it was clear the Holtbeast was activated. In the third period, Holtby made a flurry of important, crucial, jaw-dropping saves. After those saves, the Caps came back and won that game. Some people might have glossed over it, but to me it was clear that those saves saved the series and the season for the Caps. (Additionally, I can’t find video of as many saves as I want, but those ones are the best of them)
There we were, down 2-0 and stuck in fucking Pittsburgh. We’d blown a two-goal lead in the last minute of the fucking game and things were taking a turn for the worse. However, we got a fortunate power play and Shatty just decided to end it right there and then. Let the poop jokes begin. Honestly I felt much more relief than joy after this goal.
Mr. Game 7 showed up in Game 5 when we needed him most that series. Second line is best line, especially in overtime. After a faceoff win and a strong Niskanen drive all the way down the ice, Kuzy got the puck from Mojo and slid it to a wide-open Williams in front, who stashed it home to give the Caps a 3-2 series lead.
Tom Wilson, one-man wrecking crew. The Toronto boy decided to make Toronto feel his wrath. In the first period the puck squirted out behind Holtby and Wilson dove into the crease to send it away with his stick. Later on the same shift, Willy redirected a feed from Eller to score a goal. And later in the period, he had a 2-on-1 with Burky and dished it into the net like an All-Star. If the entirety of the playoffs were just that one series, Willy would be my Conn Symthe winner. He was a man on a mission against Toronto.
Kuzy’s most infamous celly possibly ever. He scored off a great pass by Nisky into an open net to tie the game at two in the third, and then proceeded to do the celly heard round the world: the bird celly. God I love Kuzy, he’s so extra and just has so much fun. Fuck all the critics, this is how the game is supposed to be played.
I can say with absolute conviction that hockey had never made me cry tears of joy until this moment. I’d felt elation, and I’d certainly cried out of sadness or frustration, but the only time I’ve ever cried of hockey happiness is when Marcus Johansson shoveled in that puck in overtime to seal round one. Honestly it was probably the last truly happy moment of the season lol. I love and appreciate Marcus Johansson with all my heart.
It’s the last thing a goalie wants to see: Mitch Marner on a breakaway. A lesser goalie would have sat tight in the net and just prayed the goal wouldn’t look so bad on all the highlight reels. But Braden Holtby, with nerves of steel, said “Hold my beer,” winked at Grubi on the bench, and raced out to the blueline to make a sliding poke check on Marner’s breakaway. And thank goodness it worked, else it would have been an easy goal. All hail the Holtbeast.
The first big moment of the postseason was the best one. In overtime, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition Tom Wilson. Trotz put out the lunch pail line, and Wilson kept the puck in the zone and flung it at the net, resulting in complete euphoria and a series lead for the Caps. The Toronto native scored his first ever playoff goal, and I have never been more proud of Willy Baby than I was during this series.
The playoffs didn’t end the way we wanted them to. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look back at the good moments it brought us. There’s so much uncertainty ahead, and our team is going to look a lot different next year. But I want to thank the 2016-17 Washington Capitals for being so much fun to watch and holding a special place in my heart. Thanks for everything.
In honor of Oshie’s hat trick on Saturday, I decided to compile a post of all the hat tricks of all the current Caps. This is also consolation for the fact that I couldn’t include them all on my masterpost, so here they are. I also included the first NHL goals of all the current Caps that I could find video for. Enjoy!