Hockey Mom joined all the fellow hockey parents and Caps fans at the rink last night, all of us fraught with nerves at the possibility of the Caps’ season ending too soon. And then I had the boys’ grandpa texting me from a corporate box at the Igloo, attempting to trash talk my team. HM just texted back “I will talk to you after the game.” And man, was this a game for the ages!
The ice fowl got on the board first at 13:52 courtesy of veteran Bill Guerin. Despite having a 5 on 3 after Shaone Morrison went to the sin bin, that was all the scoring the Pens would get in the first. The home team was outshooting the Caps by 18-5 through the first but the boys held them to a solitary goal. HM was happy to finally see Cindy Crosby called (alert the media!) for interference at 12:12 in the first, along with Kunitz the Cross-Checker taking a seat as well.
The flood gates opened in the second period as Viktor Kozlov sent a Russian rocket through Fleury’s crease at the 6:27 mark. Also in the second, Pens took a too many men penalty – their second in as many games and a stupid mistake at this stage of the game…but thank you! Later in the second Tomas Fleischmann (Flash is back!) netted a backhand goal past Fleury with help from Big John Erskine and Alex Semin to give the Caps the lead. The Penguins seemed to be conducting diving practice at times in the second and Brian Pothier went to the box for interference with less than three minutes left. Just when you thought the guys had completed the kill, Mark Eaton scored to tie it up at 2-2. Oy vey, can my heart rate get any higher?
And you thought the second period was fun? Hope everyone was holding on to their rally caps in the third as the party was just getting started!
At 4:31, David Steckel was cited for a slash on Mark Eaton. Those blasted composite sticks breaking all the time! Kris Letang scored for the Pens on the resulting power play to give the Pens a lead that didn’t last for long. Moments later "Hooks" Orpik hooked Alex Semin and Sleeping Beauty Semin finally woke up 5 seconds into the Caps’ power play to once again tie it up! Less than a minute fellow Russian Viktor Kozlov slammed one in to take the lead again at 4-3! Make that two on the night for Kozlov! Crosby took direct aim at Varly with 10:33 left but was stonewalled like Jackson!
Varlamov continued to deny the Pens stars midway through third, saying “nyet” to both Cindy and Geno respectively. Fifteen of Varlamov’s 42 saves came against either Crosby, Malkin or Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ top snipers – Varly, you rock!
Mike Green neglected to clear near the 15 minute mark, turning the puck over for an opportunity for Cindy to score. And the pretty boy did score to tie it again at 4-4. At the 2-minute mark, the zebras called another ridiculous slashing call against the Caps and sent the boys short-handed. I thought Gabby’s head was going to implode on that one and I can’t blame him.
The Capitals (with yet another tremendous effort from Simeon Varlamov) did a great job on the penalty kill and with my stress level as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, both teams were looking at yet another OT decision!
At the end of this incredible game, it was once again the Laich-Bradley-Steckel grinder line that came through to ensure the boys brought it home for Game 7! What an amazing ending to a game that saw the secondary scoring that this team has been waiting for in this series. And a ginormous Hockey Mom high-five to the Player of the Game David Steckel, who won an offensive zone draw from Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot and then put it in the net!
One of the other highlights for me was Boudreau’s reaction on the bench after Steckel sealed the deal. Relive the excitement once again and celebrate with Gabby:
A fabulous job by all! I think tomorrow should be officially declared Rock the Red day in D.C. and let’s put the kabash on those pesky Penguins in our own house boys!