Exactly one year ago today, on May 7, 2018, Evgeny Kuznetsov secured his place in the hearts of Capitals fans and DC sports history when he scored the OTGWG to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins, sending the Caps to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 20 years.
As RMNB’s own Peter Hassett said in his recap of the game at the time, “Game over. Series over. Curse over.”
The Capitals, of course, went on to win their first ever Stanley Cup in franchise history a month later. But the second round win against the Penguins remains a highlight of the run, and for good reason.
So, let’s relive that moment and the aftermath in its entirety, together.
A poke check on Crosby. Alex Ovechkin chipping the puck to Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov breaking loose and sending a wristshot through Matt Murray’s five hole. Kris Letang sliding on his knees into the boards.
Beautiful. From every single angle.
And then came the celebrations. First, with Kuznetsov’s iconic bird celly.
Then, the pile on of hugs. First Ovechkin, then Orlov. Niskanen, Stephenson and Holtby. Then the rest of the 2017-18 Washington Capitals. All huddled together against the boards.
Oh, and it also knocked over a Penguins fan, from the force of the celebratory hugging.
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The celebrations weren’t limited to just the ice. As Kuznetsov, Ovechkin and the other Capitals returned to the locker room, as still-suspended Tom Wilson tackle hugged Kuzy, unable to contain his excitement.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 8, 2018
The entire sequence has burned into the eyes of every single Capitals fan who lived through it. Including John Walton, the radio voice of the Capitals, who was the only local announcer to do play-by-play of the series-clinching win.
On this first anniversary, may all your demons be exorcised. pic.twitter.com/MN7imy6AYe
— John Walton (@WaltonCaps) May 7, 2019
“HE SCORESSSSSS! HE SCORESSSSS!,” Walton screamed on the call. “EVGENY KUZNETSOV WINS IT FOR WASHINGTON! IT’S OFF TO THE THIRD ROUND! THE DEMONS HAVE BEEN EXORCISED! GOOD MORNING! GOOD AFTERNOON! AND GOOD NIGHT PITTSBURGH! WE’RE GOING TO TAMPA BAY! THE CAPITALS HAVE DONE IT!”
The moment you've all been waiting for, #ALLCAPS fans. @WaltonCaps' call of Evgeny Kuznetsov's OT winner in Game 6 to send Washington to the conference final lined up with the video feed: pic.twitter.com/udixwgIRD5
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) May 8, 2018
After the game, NBC analyst Pierre McGuire spoke to Ovechkin about what was going through his head as he chipped the puck to Kuznetsov. Ovechkin answered in true Ovi style.
Ovechkin: “Please score. Just fucking please score.” 🌝 pic.twitter.com/8astYy4kWV
— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) May 8, 2018
“Please score. Just fucking please score,” Ovechkin said. And Kuznetsov did, setting into motion a series of events that brought the Stanley Cup to DC and the most memorable summer — and season — following the win.
Where we you when Kuznetsov — and the Capitals — eliminated the Penguins in Game Six? Share your memories, and immediate reactions, in the comments and reminisce with us.
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