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Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Is Tom Gilbert the only move the Caps will make?


Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Is Tom Gilbert the only move the Caps will make?

Can't get enough of Caps hockey? We've got you covered. JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir will be talking Caps every week to make sure you're up to date with all the news surrounding your favorite hockey team.

Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan talk the Caps' return from the bye week, the Zach Sanford-Jakub Vrana competition and JJ sits down with Alan May to talk about the trade deadline. All that and more in this week's Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. Follow us on Twitter @CSNCapitals for more Caps news and info on the next podcast! For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.

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Capitals and Islanders have produced legendary Stanley Cup playoff moments

Capitals and Islanders have produced legendary Stanley Cup playoff moments

The Capitals and Islanders have played seven times in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the eighth on tap starting Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in the midst of a pandemic.

This isn’t where we thought we’d be early in the 2019-20 NHL season. It still doesn’t seem real with neutral sites and empty buildings. But this matchup is one we thought would happen last spring. One goal was all that stood between a rematch between New York and coach Barry Trotz and the team he led to the Stanley Cup the year before. 

Alas, the Capitals gave up a goal in Game 7 at home to the Carolina Hurricanes and never got the chance. The Islanders were swept right out of the postseason and we were denied a fascinating matchup between Trotz and Todd Reirden, his assistant coach in Washington for four years.

Little did we know we just had to wait a little longer. The Capitals and Islanders have history far beyond just their coaches. Some of the NHL’s most memorable moments took place in the Stanley Cup playoffs between these Metropolitan Division rivals. Here is a look back at some of the best:

April 10, 1983
The Capitals were just happy to be here. Two years after the desperate “Save the Caps” campaign kept hockey in Washington, their first playoff series came against the three-time defending champions. The Islanders kept their crown.

The plucky Caps weren’t quite ready. But they took Game 2 at famed Nassau Coliseum and were tied 1-1 at Capital Centre in Game 4 when New York, led by Mike Bossy, scored three straight times. Washington kept fighting with a Kent Houston goal at 11:34 of the third period to make it 4-3 before the champs put them away with a second Bossy goal with 2:46 to play.  

April 16, 1985
The first true Caps playoff collapse. The two teams met in the second round of the 1984 playoffs after Washington won its first playoff series. And while the Islanders’ dynasty came to an end that year, it wouldn’t be until they were dethroned by Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers.

The old crew still had enough to dispatch the Capitals in five games. But in 1985? No that was different. An aging New York fell behind 2-0 in a best-of-five series with overtime losses at a rocking Capital Centre. This felt different. Washington was the better team during the regular season – third-best in the NHL. 

But a pair of losses at Nassau set the stage for Game 5 at Capital Centre. For the third year in a row, the Capitals fell short. A goal in the first, a goal in the second and New York was up 2-0, the crowd was tight. That’s familiar. It all started back then and took Washington another 33 years to shake the demons. A Bobby Carpenter goal 29 seconds into the third period gave the Capitals life, but veteran goalie Billy Smith stopped 39 of 40 shots. New York only had 22. The first of many shocking playoff collapses. 


April 18, 1987
The Easter Epic. One of the great games in NHL history. The Capitals finally beat the Islanders in the first round in 1986 in a three-game sweep. This time they were up 3-1 in a best-of-seven first-round series and headed home to finish it off. Uh oh. “3-1” and the Caps never have mixed. They have blown that lead five times now. It’s only happened 28 times in league history.

But this was the very first. A game that began on a Saturday evening, ended at 1:56 a.m. on Easter morning. It is now the 11th longest game in league history after Tuesday night's five-overtime fiasco between Tampa Bay and Columbus. They played 68:47 of overtime into Easter morning before Pat LaFontaine’s spinning shot from just inside the blueline beat Washington goalie Bob Mason, who stood in shock in the crease for 10 seconds before dropping exhausted to a knee while the Islanders celebrated. It remains one of the sport's iconic moments. 

April 28, 1993
The Capitals and Islanders needed a break from each other after playing five years in a row in the postseason. Six years later they met again under different circumstances. The 1992 Capitals had blown their second 3-1 series lead to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But they returned a solid team that finished second in the Patrick Division, a slight favorite over New York, hoping for another shot at Pittsburgh. 

Instead, an insanely frustrating series followed. The Islanders won Games 2 and 4 in double overtime and Game 3 in regular old overtime. Just like that they were up 3-1. Washington staved off elimination at home in Game 5. But Nassau Coliseum was a House of Horrors. There would be no Game 7. 

Dale Hunter opened the scoring for the Capitals in the first period. But the Islanders were up 3-1 after the second period and the old barn was roaring. Another goal made it 4-1 and with 8:31 to play, Pierre Turgeon put Washington away with a fifth goal. The crowd had been chanting “Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah, Hey-Hey-Hey, Goodbye!” The season had slipped away again. Hunter then lost his mind.

 After a Hunter turnover, Turgeon deked on goal and scored, skating with his arms raised looking up into the crowd. He never saw Hunter following him like a shark for three seconds. He never sensed the check that was about to come well after the goal that buried him into the boards. The Islanders won the series. But Turgeon missed the ensuing series against the Penguins with a separated right shoulder. New York won that anyway before its Cinderella run ended in the Eastern Conference Final against eventual champion Montreal. 

Hunter was hit with a 21-game suspension to start the following year and it’s still considered among the dirtiest hits in NHL history. 


April 28, 2015

The Islanders and Capitals took another long break from each other but that was mostly because New York stunk. It made the playoffs just six times in the next 20 years and didn’t win a series.

That looked to change in 2015 – Trotz’s first with Washington – when a back-and-forth series with an overtime win for each team went to a Game 7. Given the Alex Ovechkin-led Caps had lost a Game 7 at home in 2008 (Flyers), 2009 (Penguins), 2010 (Canadiens) and 2013 (Rangers), the home crowd was a little tense.

 A 1-1 game for most of the third period became unbearable. It took a young Russian with a flair for the dramatic to make the difference. No, not Ovechkin. Evgeny Kuznetsov had his back to the play near the right circle against the boards, baited Frans Nielson to skate up behind him and then turned on a dime and blew toward the center of the ice. 

No one stopped him. Kuznetsov took the puck across the middle and almost down to the opposite goaline, waiting for Jaroslav Halak to sprawl to the ice – the man who stunned Washington in goal for Montreal in that crushing 2010 series. The lead held for the final 7:18 and for once a Game 7 didn’t end in tears for Capitals fans. That would happen in the second round when the Rangers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit and won Game 7 in overtime. You can’t win them all. 

Kuznetsov insisted to NBC Sports Washington's Rob Carlin this past spring that it is that Game 7 goal against New York that remains his favorite and not the Game 6 OT winner against Pittsburgh during the Stanley Cup run in 2018. Whether that's just kuzy being Kuzy, who knows? They're both epic and wonderful moments in franchise history. 

Playoff series No. 8 between the Capitals and Islanders has enough storylines to fit in a Stanley Cup Final. Let's see if they can add another memorable chapter to 37 years of history starting Wednesday afternoon. 

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Lightning-Blue Jackets goes five overtimes to become fourth-longest game in NHL history

Lightning-Blue Jackets goes five overtimes to become fourth-longest game in NHL history

The anomalies of the 2020 hockey season have somehow gotten weirder.

On the first official day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the No. 2 seed Tampa Bay Lightning and No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets played one of the longest games in NHL history, lasting five overtime periods until Tampa Bay came away with the 3-2 win.

The game spanned 150 minutes, 27 seconds and ranked as the fourth-longest game in NHL history. 

The longest game happened on March 24, 1936, between the Montreal Maroons and Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings won 1-0 in six overtimes that took 176 minutes, 30 seconds to play.

The Lightning-Blue Jackets matchup actually knocked two memorable Capitals games from the leaderboard. The 1996 Washington-Pittsburgh game, which lasted 139:15 in four overtimes, drops out of the top five. Petr Nedved you are still not forgiven. At the time, that was the third-longest game ever. Meanwhile, the 1987 Easter Epic between the Capitals and Islanders, which lasted 128:47 and four overtimes, fell out of the top 10. Caps fans you probably don't have to see that one on the "longest games" graphic anymore. That's a good thing. 

Columbus struck first in Tuesday’s matchup against a Tampa team it swept last season in the first round in a stunning No. 8 vs. No. 1 seed upset. The Blue Jackets found the back of the net two minutes into the game on a power-play goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Lightning answered four minutes later.

In the second period, Columbus regained the lead before Tampa Bay delivered the equalizer 23 seconds into the third period. 

The game remained 2-2 for the remainder of the third period and four-and-a-half overtime periods until Brayden Point scored at the 10:27 mark of the fifth overtime.

Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo recorded an NHL record 88 saves in the loss.

The game went so long it forced the NHL to move the Bruins-Hurricanes matchup set for Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. That game was originally scheduled for 8 p.m. in Toronto on Tuesday. That 11 a.m. start for Boston-Carolina could impact Game 1 of the Capitals-Islanders series, which was supposed to begin the day at 3 p.m. in Toronto. Now, even one overtime could force that start time to be altered. Stay tuned. The Stanley Cup playoffs are wacky even in a normal year. Put the games in a bubble in Canada in August? Who knows what craziness is in store? Tuesday night was probably just a preview. 


Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.