Tuesday night at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals hosted regular-season game number 37 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The stakes were low, but by the end of the night, it felt like the Caps had won a playoff series.
Between the Russian hat trick of goals (Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all scored) to the team’s multiple improbable comebacks, the Caps really wanted to win and their celebrations reflected that.
For instance, when John Carlson scored to tie the game 5-5 late in the third period, the Caps started to punch each other.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 4, 2017
After Kuznetsov couldn’t bury the puck on a breakaway, Carlson knocked the stray rebound into the back of the net. Carlson celebrated by pumping his right fist into the air.
It appears Kuznetsov read this as an open invitation to punch Carlson. So they started slapping and punching each other in the head and chest.
It went on for about five seconds before their hockey hug fizzled out and the happy players returned to the bench to fist bump their teammates. Marcus Johansson even had to fix his helmet after this fun hockey violence.
But that wasn’t the only goal that had huge celebrations.
Kuznetsov’s third-period goal, which cut the Leafs’ lead to one, was also special. Kuznetsov dropped to one knee and pumped his fist before getting up and elbowing the glass.
After Dmitry Orlov tied the game 4-4, he pointed very excitedly at Matt Niskanen.
Alex Ovechkin would end the game in overtime. Sure, the Russian machine seemed kind of bored when he celebrated.
You can’t say the same thing for the rest of the team.
So in short, what a weird and fun night. Let’s do it again on Thursday, boys!
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