When the Calgary Flames take on the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday, it will be without one of their top young players. The NHL suspended rookie forward Matthew Tkachuk for two games on Monday for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
The elbow occurred on Sunday. Tkachuk was behind the Kings’ net when the puck was fired along the boards. Doughty came to Tkachuk to defend him and Tkachuk preemptively delivered an elbow right to the face of the Kings blueliner.
You can see the play and the explanation of the NHL’s ruling in the video below.
In addition to Tkachuk, the Flames will also likely be without forward Micheal Ferland who is under observation for the mumps.
The Flames have been the NHL’s hottest team of late (see what I did there?) with a 12-1-0 record in their last 13 games with the one loss coming in a game in which starting goalie Brian Elliott was out sick. Yet, it looks like the Capitals will catch Calgary at a time in which their forward depth is stretched rather thin.
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On June 4, 1998, Joe Juneau scored the biggest goal in the history of the Washington Capitals.
In Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, Juneau attacked the crease and shot in a rebound past a helpless Dominik Hasek in overtime to defeat the Buffalo Sabres and win the Eastern Conference.
That goal sent the Capitals to its first and, before 2018, only Stanley Cup Final.
Alex Ovechkin’s name was already etched in the history books for the Capitals several times over, but on Wednesday he added it again with the biggest goal of his career. His goal in Game 7 stood as the game-winner meaning it was the goal that sent the Capitals to their second Cup Final.
You can watch it here:
It did not come in overtime and was not quite as dramatic as Juneau’s. In fact, no one knew the significance of the goal at the time. It came just 62 seconds into the contest. It was a significant goal, but no one realized right away that it would be an historic one.
How fitting is it that Ovechkin scored the game-winner? Ovechkin who this team was built around, who reignited the franchise and built Washington into a hockey city. After all the criticism over the years, all the talk about how he can’t win, all talk about how the team should take away the C and all the talk about how the Caps should trade him and start over, this goal was not just a moment of history, but one of vindication.
When we look back on Ovechkin’s career, at all the individual awards and accomplishments, this one single goal will stand above the rest. This was the biggest game of his career and he scored the biggest goal of his career just 62 seconds in.
There’s one way he can top that: lead the Caps past Vegas for their first Stanley Cup.
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With their 4-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the Capitals did something they haven't done in 20 years. It's only their second time going to the Final in team history.
Not only is it the first time in 20 years the Caps have made it to the Stanley Cup Final, it's the first time in 20 years that ANY D.C. team has reached a championship round. After being disappointed by their teams in the playoffs year in and year out, D.C. fans were ready to celebrate their city changing the narrative. F Street outside Capital One Arena was packed with fans cheering, celebrating and chanting "We want Vegas."
If you thought the National Portrait Gallery steps were packed after the Caps beat the Penguins, that was nothing compared to Wednesday night.
Caps fans were even representing outside Amalie Arena in Tampa, cheering on the Caps as they left to return home.
National sports pundits have criticized the D.C. fanbase in the past for not being passionate enough. Michael Wilbon recently said the nation's capital is a 'minor league sports town.' Does this reaction say minor league sports town to you? I don't think so. D.C. fans are the real deal, and they're ready for the Caps to be in the Stanley Cup Final.
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