The Washington Capitals are in Raleigh, North Carolina for Game Three of their first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. And one lingering question has been answered minutes before the Capitals’ morning skate.
Alex Ovechkin brought back the team’s superstition from their Stanley Cup run last year and did a hot lap.
First hot lap of Capitals playoffs taken by @ovi8 pic.twitter.com/O5IYNb5cax
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) April 15, 2019
NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti and the Capitals Twitter account published videos of Ovechkin rounding the rink.
The hot lap is back. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/9Kq7kuv94t
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 15, 2019
“It’s been working last year, so we decided to stay with it,” Ovechkin said to Gulitti, when asked about the return of the hot lap.
The tradition was originally started by Jay Beagle who did a hot lap before away games. On May 7, 2018, Alex Ovechkin asked if he could take the lap from the Capitals’ fourth-line center at PPG Paints Arena before Game Six against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Beagle agreed and the gesture worked. The Capitals won in overtime that night to finally get past the Penguins and the second round.
Ovechkin took the hot laps before Game One and Game Two against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. The Capitals won both games, giving the Capitals wins in three-straight away games. The luck ran out during Game Five.
The Capitals chose head coach Barry Trotz to do the hot lap before Game Seven of the ECF. They won 4-0, so Trotz did the lap before Game One of the Stanley Cup Final. The Capitals lost 6-4 so Lars Eller got the honors next before Game Two. Eller would do it again before Game Five and he’d score the Stanley Cup-winning goal later that night.
When Gulitti asked whether Eller if he should have picked up where he left off, he said, “It’s a new year, so we start over completely from the beginning.”
The Capitals went 10-3 in away games during their Cup run. After Ovechkin did the hot lap before Game Six against the Penguins, they won six of their next eight away games.
Full RMNB Coverage of Game Three
Headline photo: @TomGulittiNHL
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