Over the last decade, Alex Ovechkin has taken a brunt of the criticism as the Capitals have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs all 10 times during his career.
Monday night that all changed when Evgeny Kuznetsov reeled in a pass from the Russian machine and buried the puck past Matt Murray for the series-clinching win. The victory ended 20 years of DC Sports misery — no big-four team had made it to the semifinals since 1998, the longest current streak in sports. It was the second time the Capitals have ever beaten the Penguins in the playoffs, improving their series record to 2-9.
After the game, Ovechkin spoke to Pierre McGuire and told the NBC analyst what he thought as he watched Kuzy race in all alone on Murray for the decisive goal.
“Please score. Just f*cking please score,” Ovechkin said smiling.
Ovechkin: “Please score. Just fucking please score.” 🌝 pic.twitter.com/8astYy4kWV
— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) May 8, 2018
Here’s the explicit version.
“Like… it’s just emotions right now, you know? It’s an emotional time for us, for our fans, for our organization,” Ovechkin continued. “Pretty sure lots of expectations of… nobody wants to believe in us this year.”
During the preseason, Ovechkin declared that “goals is not my goal right now” and “we’re not gonna be suck this year.” In the regular season, when the Capitals surprisingly surged into first place after a harrowing start, he wore a RMNB shirt featuring the quote.
Despite all the goals and individual accomplishments, Ovechkin in some ways was not a legend like Olie Kolzig and Peter Bondra before him — two players that catapulted the Capitals to heights they had never previously reached.
Monday night, Ovechkin finally got that monkey off his back. Seconds after Kuznetsov scored, Ovechkin looked up the heavens as a decade’s worth of frustration faded away.
In October, Ovechkin gave a winter coat to a homeless man he came across in Edmonton. Just like that unscripted night, Ovechkin won by being unselfish, dishing a pass to a Russian teammate he’s mentored.
“We beat the Stanley Cup champions and we’ll move forward,” he said.
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