#12 Joe Juneau 1998 Eastern Conference clincher
Joe Juneau became the first big hero in Capitals history to really have the ultimate postseason success until 2018 as his goal in Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres to beat Dominik Hasek to send the Caps to their first ever Stanley Cup Final remains a brief moment of bliss in what is usually annual springs of disappointment.
What’s nice about this goal is that Brian Bellows cut to the net and nearly beat Hasek. After Hasek thought he had it the loose puck was right by Juneau to bang it in.
“I’ll get back to you,” Juneau said to the reporter on the ice as he was caught up in the moment.
"The whole playoff run was very, very special. You know we ended up, Washington ended up, building an unbelievable team. In the 13 years of my NHL career, that team in Washington was probably the most talented team that I was ever on. It was a matter of getting all these talented players to gel and play together. It was amazing really. You’d look around the locker room and go down the roster from line one to line number five and all the eight or nine defensemen and the goaltending starting with [Olie] Kolzig, it was really an amazing group of guys, very talented. What happened obviously going from the very defensive-minded coaching of Jim Schoenfeld to the coaching of Ron Wilson that kind of brought, not maybe, but obviously brought a different offensive dimension to playing the game. It was very good for the players that we had in place. It didn’t take much from the defensive part of our game. By going that far and reaching the Stanley Cup finals you obviously have to play very good hockey both ways, but the offensive game that Ron Wilson brought obviously was very positive for that group of guys. Like I said, the whole experience that year was very, very positive and scoring a couple big overtime goals, including the one in overtime that allowed us as a team to move on into the finals, was really, I look at it today as doing my part to contribute to the team’s success. You score a goal and there are a lot of other people who made that goal happen. All my life I was a playmaker, setting up goals for others, that was the way that I played. I was way more of a playmaker than a finisher and it’s funny that one of the biggest goals in Caps’ history was one I got and not set up. When I talk about that goal I always talk about the work that Brian Bellows did. Adam Oates and I had exchanged the puck in the neutral zone and coming in the zone, driving the net. It was Brian Bellows that did everything, crashing the net. I just followed for rebounds like we’ve been taught since we were very, very young and the puck was there. I give a lot of credit to Brian Bellows for that goal."