With five minutes remaining in the third period, Nick Jensen kept the puck in at the blueline. With a quick wrist shot towards the net, Nic Dowd tipped the puck past Curtis McElhinney, giving the Caps a 3-2 lead.
That goal meant the Caps clinched a playoff spot. Neither Jensen nor Dowd have been to the playoffs before.
The play started when Sebastian Aho crunched Dowd, who was signed over the offseason to replace Jay Beagle and knocked him to the ice. A hustling Dowd, however, beat Aho to the front of the net for the redirection goal.
Dowd unleashed a huge celebration after scoring.
Jensen and Dowd played together in college at St. Cloud State University and became quick friends. They lived across the hall from each other freshman year, were housemates for the next two years, and were groomsmen in each other’s weddings. They were both drafted in 2009, Jensen by the Red Wings and Dowd by the Los Angeles Kings.
“I am excited, I never have played in the playoffs,” Dowd said after the game. “I think the difference between the teams that make runs and go all the way are contributions from the entire lineup and hat makes a big difference, and it takes some pressure off the main guys, takes a little bit off your goaltender.”
Jensen also knows that difference, as he joined the Red Wings at the end of their 25-year playoff streak.
“Right now, I just want to focus on playing hockey and get ready for playoff hockey which I’ve never experienced so I’m excited and nervous about that coming up,” he told Chris Kuc of The Athletic. “It’s just a whole new level and it’s hard but at the same time when you’re on a good team and you’re rolling it looks like a lot of fun.”
Headline photo: NBC Sports Washington
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