Tonight, the Washington Capitals will play in Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena for the first time since becoming Eastern Conference champions on May 23, 2018.
After taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final, the Caps lost the next three games to the NHL’s best team, looking vulnerable and likely to lose. Instead, Washington shutout the Lightning in the final two games to win the series 4-3 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998. The celebration was raucous.
That night was beautiful and inspired some of the best content in RMNB history. It also led to change. Behind the scenes, our database was getting pummeled by web traffic and we couldn’t publish to our site after the game, leading to a front-page story in our hometown paper Stanley Cup-sized technical difficulties for Russian Machine Never Breaks.
Since then, the Capitals raised the Stanley Cup for the first time and we got a new website. I also had one of my most memorable moments as a fan after the game.
Two decades earlier, the Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres and went to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. I was a teenager then and had regrets I couldn’t celebrate with the team afterward. Joe Juneau scoring that OT goal against Hasek had remained my favorite moment as a Caps fan.
The morning of Game Seven against Tampa, I was so nervous and anxious, I wrote for 20 minutes. This article was the result and I’m really proud I did it.
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz took the reigns from Alex Ovechkin on the team’s hot lap, their superstitious lap before the team’s morning skate on the road. A great moment.
Caps lines are the same.
Holtby to start.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 23, 2018
These lines should be familiar. The Capitals used them in the Stanley Cup Final and much of the 2018-19 season. Our analysis follows in this article.
Coming into Game Seven, the entire Caps fanbase had nerves. These are the types of games our favorite sports teams lose, we figured. Instead, Alex Ovechkin scored in the first minute of the game. After that, it was #ALLCAPS.
During the game, Tom Wilson fought Braydon Coburn after an especially rough melee near the crease. Coburn took liberties with Evgeny Kuznetsov. After Wilson and Coburn served their minors for roughing, they exited the penalty box and fought. It was a another huge moment.
Andre Burakovsky has struggled in 2018-19, but his Game Seven performance against the Bolts was legendary. The Swedish forward scored twice in the second period. This was his first goal.
Burakovsky’s second goal was even more beautiful. Alex Ovechkin’s reaction at the bench is must see.
Peter’s recap is a work of Word Art that I wish I could print out, frame, and put on my wall.
The merch (that we bought but didn’t end up wearing anyway because the Stanley Cup gear is so much more awesome).
Alex Ovechkin’s joy at the bench is pure euphoria. During these moments, you cans see that figurative monkey sliding off his back.
What an emotional moment.
Cara perfectly recapped the Capitals victory video with these awesome GIFs.
The Game Seven win hit Braden Holtby, just like Alex Ovechkin, especially hard.
This decision likely cost Beags at least $50k during free agency. For shame, NHL scorer!
Somehow, Nicklas Backstrom played hockey with this purple swollen thing.
My new favorite hockey memory. Thanks, Ovi, for making being a fan of the Capitals so fun.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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