Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Caps And The Conference Finalists

ESPN.com's David Amber - who sure does love him some Top 10 lists - has thrown together a list of the Top 10 playoff games in team history for each of the four Conference Finalists. Not surprisingly, a few Caps games made the lists. And since, as a Caps fan, I am by definition masochistic, I present them to you so you can share in re-opening the wounds:

Penguins, Game #9. April 24, 1996: Game 4, Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Washington (3-2 quadruple OT win)
This game had a bit of everything. The wacky: In the second period, Lemieux was ejected for instigating a fight with the Caps' Todd Krygier. The weird: In the second overtime, Joe Juneau was stopped on a penalty shot by Ken Wreggett, who had replaced Tom Barrasso (who left early in the game with muscle spasms). The wild: After scoring the tying goal many hours earlier, Petr Nedved scored on the power play in the final minute of the fourth overtime. Nedved eluded a sliding Mark Tinordi and snapped a low, hard shot past Olaf Kolzig, who had already made 62 saves. The game was the fifth-longest in NHL history, with only a few thousand fans remaining from the sellout crowd in Washington. The Penguins would win the next two games to take the series in six.
Red Wings, Game #7. June 16, 1998: Game 4, Stanley Cup finals vs. Washington (4-1 win)
This game is memorable for a few reasons. First and foremost, it brought the Red Wings a second straight Stanley Cup. But the image that resonates most with many hockey fans is the sight of Steve Yzerman handing the Cup to wheelchair-bound Vladimir Konstantinov on the ice during the postgame celebration. The previous June, just six days after winning the Stanley Cup, Konstantinov, Slava Fetisov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov were involved in a serious limousine accident that ended Konstantinov's career. The Wings rallied around their fallen defenseman throughout the 1998 season and on the night they won the Cup without him on the ice. The team made it clear he was not forgotten by helping Konstantinov do a victory lap with the Cup in his wheelchair and engraving his name (and Mnatsakanov's) on the Stanley Cup.
Flyers, Game #6. April 11, 1989: Game 5, Patrick Division semifinals vs. Washington (8-5 win)
Leading by two goals, shorthanded with just a minute to play in the game, Ron Hextall made NHL history again. Two seasons earlier, Hextall had become the first NHL goalie to score by shooting the puck into the opposing net during a regular-season game. In this game, the enigmatic 24-year-old became the first NHL goalie ever to score a playoff goal. With Caps goalie Pete Peeters pulled, Hextall corralled a Scott Stevens dump-in behind his net and, from his goal line, rifled a high shot that landed at the far blue line and slid into the corner of the Capitals' empty net. Though he allowed four goals on the first 23 shots he faced, Hextall picked up the win and a place in the NHL record books. The Flyers beat the Caps in six games.
Gut-wrenching, all of 'em... and one of these teams (hint: not Philly) is going to win yet another Cup in a couple of weeks. How depressing.

11 comments:

pplc said...

I'll never forget that game #5 for many reasons. I was sitting in front of Nedved's family and I cracked up my car in a 5-car pileup in the lot after that game. Gee, do ya think we were all a little tired at the wheel after that one?

Brian said...

~~~ Warning, ESPN rant ~~~

"ESPN.com's David Amber - who sure does love him some Top 10 lists..."

JP, Amber's articles fall under the category "in lieu of real content". Included in that category is anything with a Scott Burnside byline.

~~~ rant over ~~~~

I don't care what ESPN says, watching Juneau score that goal against Buffalo to go to the cup finals ranks as one of the greatest.

breed16 said...

How many people closed their eyes and guessed which Caps games would make the list before reading? I did and I was right about the 4OT Pens game and the Detroit-Konstantinov Cup clinching game 4. I'm too young to remember the Caps-Flyers tilts in the '80s. Still, 2 of 3, not bad right?

kevmahmot said...

http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=15315

mark said...

I posted this comment to Amber's orginal article about the Flyers' top playoff games:
"Maybe the next article can be the Flyers' top golfing moments, because that's the sport they'll be playing soon."

luke said...

i was at that game where juneau flobbed the penalty shot...thing is (and believe me when i say juneau is my second most hated capital ever) but it wasnt his fault that he lost control of the puck...the ref left puck sitting at center ice for like a solid three minutes before juneau shot (there was some kind of conversation going on)

usually with that much time sitting there by itself the ref will pick up the puck and dust of the accumulating ice shards ...but he didnt and juneau lost the puck

JP said...

Ok, I'll bite... 1) why and 2) who's first? Gonchar?

luke said...

sorry that wasnt meant to be a lead in
1)because he was traded for al iafrate and did nothing (relatively...)
2)bates battaglia because he was traded for kono and did nothing (factually...)

and yeah i know there have been worse caps and caps with worse attitudes and being traded for someone wasn't their fault...

but you know what? the only reason napalm sticks to puppies is that life is unfair...

so those are my two worse caps (kevin miller is sweating #3, but his brothers [and cavallini & reekie] earned him some slack)

breed16 said...

Sounds like Bates Battaglia is more a symbol of your disgust for McPhee than hatred of Bates Battaglia. And as for Juneau: does scoring the Conference Winning goal mean nothing anymore?

luke said...

one frakkin goal....one frakkin goal....and its not like he roofed blocker side through a screen...a well placed monkey could have made that shoot

Anonymous said...

re: 4OT game.....there were def more than "a few thousand fans" in the arena. While beer sales stopped almost 5 periods earlier, the place was still on edge and pretty damned full. I was 2/3 of the way up in the red section (upper deck, as it were) and there were plenty of folks both above and below me.

Damned ESPN hack.