The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Capitals 2-1 in overtime on Saturday thanks to an overtime goal by Artemi Panarin. It was what happened immediately afterward, however, that seemed to cause the biggest stir.
When Panarin scored, he was immediately mobbed by teammates, several of whom were flapping their arms doing the birdman celebration, an apparent taunt at Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Caps. Seth Jones and Pierre-Luc Dubois were among those seen doing the celebration. It also appeared Panarin himself was doing it while celebrating with the rest of his teammates.
"That's fine,” Kuznetsov said. “It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”
Nastya Shubskaya, Alex Ovechkin’s wife, was quick to share her toughts on Columbus’ celebration on Instagram.
Nastya knows.— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 13, 2019
[IG: nastyashubskaya] pic.twitter.com/HQZTFYMWxQ
One of the iconic moments of the Capitals Stanley Cup run is Kuznetsov’s birdman celebration after he finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the second round. Kuznetsov did the birdman celebration Saturday in the third period when he scored the game-tying goal against the Blue Jackets.
Columbus may have been reacting to Kuznetsov’s celebration, but Tom Wilson believes it stems more from their playoff meeting from last season.
“I'm assuming that's a little bit bitter,” Wilson said. “I'll leave it at that.”
In their playoff series, the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 2-0 series lead and came within one goal of a 3-0 stranglehold, but Lars Eller scored in overtime and the Caps won four straight to stun Columbus. The Blue Jackets then had to sit and watch as the team whose back they had against the ropes went on to go all the way and claim the Stanley Cup.
If Saturday’s celebration is any indication, it certainly seems like there may be some hard feelings still from that series.
“I think they can remember what happened, we can remember what happened and it's a rivalry now,” Wilson said. “A team knocks you out, you're not going to be happy about it so we're going to keep going and I'm sure there will be a few more down the road where you'll see a little animosity.”
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