It is Throwback Thursday and time to look back at another historic game for the Washington Capitals. This game has been chosen for today for three reasons. Those three are in honor of the Washington Football Team playing the New York Giants tonight, the Baltimore Orioles (for the folks in Charm City) against the New York Yankees, and the Caps opening up agains the New York Rangers in 27 days.
The date was April 28, 2009. The Caps began their first round series with the Rangers down 3-1 before winning two games to set up the decisive home matchup. One year after losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 on home ice, the Caps were determined for redemption.
The Rangers struck first on a goal from Nik Antropov at 5:35 after missing his first shot, he followed it and rebounded it in. The Caps would tie it later in the first period at 15:34 when Nicklas Backstrom fed Alexander Semin. Semin shot it and the puck had a weird bounce and Henrik Lundqvist was unable to corral it.
The second period remained scoreless as Lundqvist and Semyon Varlamov battled to turn away shot after shot. In the third the Caps would get the go ahead goal with five minutes left from locker room veteran Sergei Fedorov.
Fedorov glided down the ice and causally ripped the puck past Lundqvist and it brought the house down. The energy from the crowd extended to the final minutes of the game. Fedorov was brought in during the homestretch of the 2007-08 season. The team hoped his veteran presence would help lead the team as a young Alex Ovechkin was just getting his first taste of playoff experience.
"“Experience sometimes pays off. He knew what he had to do, when to do it. That’s what makes him one of the greatest players ever.”"
With the win the Caps became the 21st team in NHL history to complete a series comeback facing a 3-1 deficit. It was their first playoff series victory of the Alex Ovechkin and Rock the Red era and first one since their 1997-98 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Ovechkin would finish the season winning the Hart Trophy for the second year in a row as league MVP.
Ovechkin helped lead the Caps in that series comeback by scoring in three consecutive games but was held silent in that seventh game. But the team won and that was all that mattered and it set up a crazy second round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins that included dueling hat tricks from Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.