Barry Trotz may officially be the head coach of the New York Islanders, but on Wednesday he painted the town red in Dauphin, Manitoba on his day with the Stanley Cup.
Trotz grew up in Manitoba and, when his playing career ended, it is where he first became a coach. In 1984-85, Trotz got his first coaching gig as an assistant coach with the University of Manitoba. The following year, he became the general manager and head coach of the Dauphin Kings, a junior team in the MJHL. That made Dauphin a very fitting site for Trotz to bring the Cup.
Trotz's day included stops at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre before a parade given in his honor. The parade ended at Credit Union Place, the home of the Dauphin Kings, where fans were given the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Trotz and the Cup.
There was quite the turnout.
The line to take a photo with Barry Trotz and the Stanley Cup stretches out the doors of Credit Union Place, home of Trotz’s former junior team, the Dauphin Kings. pic.twitter.com/rYEedcqHEz
While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 7, a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 4 that featured the most unexpected and perhaps the most amazing hat trick in Alex Ovechkin’s career.
You can re-watch the game tonight on NBC Sports Washington at 8pm.
Fresh off a loss to Pittsburgh, the Caps came out completely flat against an inferior Kings team. There was no energy on the ice and there was no energy at Capital One Arena. After tilting the ice in their favor all period, Los Angeles got on the board at the 15:03 mark on a Jeff Carter wrister past Braden Holtby.
Holtby and John Carlson woke up Washington in the second. Holtby made several critical saves to keep the deficit at one. Carlson erased the Kings lead as he finished off a 3-on-2 rush with a close-range snipe on Jonathan Quick.
The momentum once again shifted towards Los Angeles in the third. Holtby did an outstanding job keeping the Kings off the board until Carter scored his second of the night with less than nine minutes remaining. It looked like it wouldn’t be Washington’s night until this:
40 goals on the year. Two goals shy of 700 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 53-plus minutes of the game. His first shot of the night came off a great pass from T.J. Oshie and Ovi beat Quick on the doorstep. Just 70 seconds later Ovechkin struck again. Carlson started the play with a long stretch pass that hit Ovechkin in stride. Quick made the initial stop on Ovechkin’s wrister, but couldn’t find the rebound. While Quick and his defense scrambled, Ovechkin got to the loose puck first and gave the Caps their first lead.
Ovechkin added an empty-net goal a few minutes later for one of the most unlikely natural hat tricks.
Ready for the Ovechkin statistical smorgasbord? He scored three goals in 4:24 of play. The three goals gave him 14 goals in his last seven games and 16 goals in his last ten. It was his third hat trick in six games. It was his 27th career hat trick which passed Maurice Richard for eighth-most in NHL history. He reached 698 career goals and 40 for the season. He was the first player in 2020 to 40 goals. And at that point, he was on pace for 61 goals on the year. By the way, he’s 34 years old.
WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT
Aside from Ovechkin, the play of Holtby was the biggest takeaway after the game. Carter beat him twice glove side, but Holtby handled the other 29 shots he faced. Holtby was fresh off a miserable January that had seen Ilya Samsonov get more and more playing time. But instead of growing impatient with their star goalie, the crowd at Capital One Arena got behind him. There were several Holtby chants throughout the second period as Caps fans tried to encourage him out of his slump.
After the Capitals finally "exorcised the demons" and advanced past Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins, they moved on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in franchise history since 1998.
Capitals fans waited for 20-years to see their team advance past the second round and the Caps were not going to make the wait for a Cup any longer.
Saturday, April 4, NBC Sports Washington will be airing Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning. Here's how to tune in.
10:30 a.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 1]
1:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 2]
4:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Tampa Bay at Washington [Game 6]
7:00 p.m.: NHL 20: Capitals @ Panthers
8:00 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 7]
What happened in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Capitals vs. Lightning?
Coming off a high from beating the Penguins to advance to the ECF, the Capitals came out strong, Michal Kempny netting the first goal of the game to put the Caps up 1-0 over the Lightning eight minutes into the first period. With seconds to go, the Lightning took the puck down the ice and scored off of a wild play, but the goal was called back thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty. The Caps took the power play and with only seven seconds left in the first, Alex Ovechkin scored right off the face off to put the Caps up 2-0 heading into the second. Just under three minutes into the second period, Jay Beagle got a lucky bounce putting the Caps up 3 goals over the Lightning. A few minutes later, the Caps got their fourth and final goal of the game, Lars Eller getting the rebound off of an Ovi shot. The Lightning finally got something going in the third period, scoring two goals but it wasn't enough to beat the hot Caps.
The Caps kept their hot streak going into Game 2, this time laying it on with a 6-2 victory. The Caps got on the board first once again, with a shot from Matt Niskanen tipping off the stick of Tom Wilson and past Andrei Vasilevskiy who didn't stand a chance. But minutes later, Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board during a power play, tying the game at 1. The Lightning got on the board again to take the 2-1 lead thanks to another Caps penalty. But little did the Bolts know that would be their final two goals of the game. Early in the second period, a snipe from Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game at 2. With a minute to go in the second, Lars Eller broke the tie to put the Caps up 3-2 and with a mere two seconds left, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps up 4-2 heading into the third. Two more goals followed from Alex Ovechkin and Brett Connolly to beat the Lightning 6-2.
After losing THREE straight games in a row, the Caps headed into a do-or-die Game 6 on the brink of elimination. In the first period, Vasilevskiy stood on his head for the Lightning, denying the Caps on multiple chances with superb goaltending. Finally, T.J. Oshie put the Caps on the board in the second period with a beautiful, one-timer snipe off of a Nicklas Backstrom assist. The Caps got their second goal of the game in the third period thanks to a great hustle by Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson to avoid the icing call and a pass to Smith-Pelly in front of the net who made it 2-0 Caps. With just under a minute to play, Nicklas Backstrom got his second assist of the game, passing to Oshie who got his second goal of the game with the empty-netter to secure the 3-0 win and force a decisive Game 7.
It all came down to a decisive Game 7. After losing three straight, the Caps forced Game 7 in Tampa with a 3-0 Game 6 win in Washington. Just 1:02 into the first period, Alex Ovechkin got the Caps on the board. In the second, Andre Burakovsky extended the Caps' lead to 2 and then AGAIN minutes later to make it 3-0. Tampa pulled the goalie with a couple of minutes to go in the third and Nicklas Backstrom capitalized on the opportunity, scoring the fourth and final goal for the Caps to defeat the Lightning 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20-years. Braden Holtby secured two shutouts in row for Games 6 and 7, a feat only accomplished by four other goalies in NHL history.
Make sure to tune in Saturday, April 4 to watch the Caps beat the Lightning en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.
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