Photo: Nick Wass
Brooks Orpik has played 798 games regular season games in the NHL. On Saturday night, he won the game for the Washington Capitals with just his second goal for the team. After the game, a reporter asked him if he could remember that last time he scored a goal-winning goal. A blank look came over his face.
“No,” he said.
That might be because he never has scored a game-winning goal — at least in the NHL.
With the Capitals and Devils tied at three with less than four minutes left, Evgeny Kuznetsov, occupying his usual command post behind the net, found Orpik at the near circle for the 15th goal of the 35 year old defensemen’s career.
“I couldn’t really see much of the net,” Orpik said, who also assisted TJ Oshie’s game-tying goal just over two minutes earlier. “The one tonight [Kuznetsov] was looking right at me. That’s pretty easy to read.”
After the puck went in, Orpik looked at the net for a few seconds, seemingly unable to register that he scored. Finally, he threw his right fist in the air.
“His celly was pretty amazing,” Alex Ovechkin, who has 38 goals this season, said.
“Being a part of what we’re doing here is obviously a little more satisfying when you’re contributing on the ice,” said Orpik.
Orpik’s coach insisted that despite his low point totals, the Capitals appreciate his play.
“If we could have gone out to the blueline to hug Brooks, we all would have if we wouldn’t have gotten a penalty,” Barry Trotz said. “I think they all respect how hard he works.”
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