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Oates orchestrated 50 in 50 feats

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Oates orchestrated 50 in 50 feats

Whenever soon-to-be-inducted Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates looks back on his playing days, two memories immediately come to mind.

Brett Hull scoring 50 goals in 49 games with the St. Louis Blues in the 1990-91 season. And Cam Neely scoring 50 goals in 44 games as a member of the Boston Bruins in the 1993-94 season.

Oates, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night in Toronto, says there was something magical about being part of each teammate’s quest for 50-in-50, a feat achieved by only nine NHL players.

“When Brett did it in St. Louis he was taking the league by storm, like when Ovi came in here,” Oates said, comparing Hull’s amazing 86-goal season to Alex Ovechkin’s 65-goal outburst in 2007-08.

“It was just fantastic to be a part of it. And when Cam did it he basically did it on one leg. Watching him prepare every day to just try to play the game -- let alone do what he was doing -- was an incredible feat.

“And I had the best seats for both of them.”

Oates will enter hockey’s holy grail because of his ability to pass the puck as well as anyone who has ever played the game. He finished with 1,079 assists, the fifth-highest total in NHL history.

“It was certainly a pleasure to play with Adam,” Neely told CSNWashington.com. “He was a smart hockey player and a very gifted playmaker.

“Especially me being a right wing playing with a right-handed centerman. His backhanded pass, in my opinion, was the best that I could ever imagine.”

During that 1993-94 season Neely scored his 50th goal in his 44th game, which happened to come on a deflection past Capitals goaltender Rick Tabaracci. Neely’s feat is not officially recognized by the NHL because it happened in the Bruins’ 66th game of the season.

Neely spent that entire season battling knee pain that eventually led to his retirement two years later, but he says he’ll never forget the impact Oates had on him that year.

“That was just a magical season,” Neely said. “I didn’t play a lot. I wasn’t practicing very much. But Adam and I seemed to have this chemistry and this magic that year, when everything I put on the net went in. The hockey sense of Adam certainly helped me get there.”

Oates says his only regret is that he couldn’t spend more time playing with Neely, who finished with 395 goals, was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005 and is now president of the Bruins.

“It was a shame that Cam was hurt and we didn’t spend as much time together as we should have,” Oates said. “Every shift we went out there we thought we could score another one.”

Neely says he remembers Oates having a quiet intensity and an unquenchable thirst to learn more about the game, qualities that led him back to the game as a coach.

“He liked to joke around, but he was more quiet than most players,” Neely recalls. “He loved to talk the game of hockey. I was a little surprised he got involved in coaching, but when I think about him as a player it doesn’t surprise me that he’s enjoying it as much as he is because he certainly has a great mind for the game.”

Neely says one thing he remembers most about his own induction is how fast it sped by.

“It’s really a whirlwind weekend,” he said. “A lot of it happens quickly. People are pulling you in different directions. It’s an exciting weekend but it goes by pretty quick. It’s just a matter of taking it all in and digesting it. It’s a thrilling honor.”


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How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

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How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

It wasn't supposed to happen.

The Capitals celebrated too hard after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. The Tampa Bay Lightning had been here before. Tampa Bay's roster was deeper. Their goalie was hotter. They had home ice advantage. They had easily won their first two series. Nicklas Backstrom was still injured. Washington wouldn't be able to stop the Lightning's power play.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

For all of those reasons, many did not even give the Caps a chance. Washington overcame every obstacle in their way and was, for the most part, the better team through seven games defeating Tampa Bay to win the Eastern Conference for just the second time in franchise history.

The Capitals showed in their second-round win over the Penguins that these weren't the "same old Caps." They continued to prove that in the conference final when they stunned the Lightning to win Game 1 and Game 2 both on the road.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

When Washington lost the next three, many thought that meant the real Lightning had awoken, but it was the Caps who rose to the occasion in Game 6 and Game 7 where they face elimination as they completely dominated Tampa Bay by a combined score of 7-0.

The Caps now advance to take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. The Knights have lost only three games this entire postseason and will hope to carry that momentum with them into Game 1.

If there is one thing this Washington team has proven, however, it's that you should never count them out.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

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NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are the only two hockey teams left standing and will meet to decide the 2017-18 NHL Stanley Cup champion.

The Capitals advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998, thanks to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, shocked the NHL world, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets to become the first team in major American professional sports history to reach the championship game in the franchise's first season.

The Capitals and Golden Knights met twice during the regular season, with Vegas coming out on top in both games. The Golden Knights blanked the Caps 3-0 in the Caps' first trip to Sin City, and bested the Caps 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Feb. 4.

Game 1 of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC and is available to be streamed online by using the NBC Sports App.

NBC Sports Washington will broadcast pre and postgame coverage of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights,  with Caps FaceOff and Caps GameTime preceding Capitals vs. Golden Knights puck drop and Caps Extra and Caps OverTime following the end of each game. 

2018 STANLEY CUP FINAL HOW TO WATCH

Game 1: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, May 30
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Saturday, June 2
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 4: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Monday, June 4
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Thursday, June 7
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Sunday, June 10
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, June 13
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)
 

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