Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?
If you like hockey at breakneck speed with offensive chances galore (80 shots combined), the Capitals and Penguins provided that.
If you like hard-nosed hockey along the boards and in front of the net (72 combined hits), the Caps and Pens provided that.
If you like drama, well, there was plenty of that, too, with T.J. Oshie making Penguins rookie goaltender Matt Murray feel like a human turnstile with a wraparound goal that completed his first playoff hat trick and gave him his first-ever playoff win in a game he scores a goal.
“I’m just excited we won,” Oshie said after the Caps’ wildly entertaining 4-3 win. “It’s cool to get the hat trick and score the overtime winner, but we have team goals right now, not individual ones.”
All eight teams that won Game 1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs went on to win their series and the Capitals are hoping to follow suit in Round 2.
For Oshie, Thursday began with a Penguins fan placing a “Let’s Go Pens” poster in front of his door and his daughter, Lyla, giving it a healthy kick.
“I actually found that on my doorstep when I went to the rink this morning, so my wife got a little clever with it when I wasn’t around,” Oshie said of her Instagram video of Lyla’s strong right kick.
Oshie continued that sentiment well into the night, scoring a game-tying, a go-ahead and a game-winning goal all in the same evening.
Several players were asked if this is what they expected in what could easily be the most entertaining series of the 2016 playoffs.
“I don’t see why it would go any different,” said Caps goalie Braden Holtby, who stopped 42 of 45 shots to improve to 5-2 in the post-season. “They’ve had success this last little stretch, playing that way, a more speed game and we’re comfortable with that.
“We’re focused on getting the puck below their goal line and going to work and grinding them out. Hopefully in a long series it’ll work in our favor.”
Alex Ovechkin failed to score in the contest but he was a force again, recording four shots, including a breakaway backhander, and a team-high seven hits.
“It’s always fun when we win those games because to be honest with you, they’re hard games,” Ovechkin said. “You have to be fresh all the time. You have to take a little bit shorter shifts. But we did all the time.”
The only player who had little involvement in the game was Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who allowed Nick Bonino to get past him for a goal by Ben Lovejoy 10:40 into the second period and saw just one shift after that.
The two teams will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Friday before going back at it in Game 2 on Saturday night.
Oshie can’t wait.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “The momentum shifts, the big hits, the goals, overtime, the big saves. This is what the playoffs are all about.”