By Neil Kavanaugh
The Washington Capitals made the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. The students at Catholic University have been caught up in the playoff hockey fever. The Capitals played the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It’s pretty cool to be in the city during the playoffs,” said freshman Ryan Delaney. “To see all the fans walking the street with caps jerseys makes you feel like you apart of a family.”
Delaney, like many other hockey fans, has his own playoff superstitions. He stated that if he does not wear his team’s jersey, he believes that they will lose the game.
The Washington Capitals won the first two games in the series 4-2 and 4-3 in overtime. They played both games in D.C., with many Catholic University students going to the games to cheer on their favorite teams. The Capitals played Game 3 and Game 4 in North Carolina, falling 5-0 and 2-1. In Game 3, Alexander Ovechkin fought rookie Andrei Svechnikov after being challenged by him, knocking Svechnikov out cold and drawing cheers from Washington fans from all over.
“D.C. is a very underrated sports town,” said senior Tommy Shaw. “Last year, winning the cup, the city rallied and came together, and it was amazing to witness. It’s something special that our city has. Being at Game 3 in Carolina, was a great experience. The game didn’t turn out well, but Ovi laid a beatdown on fellow Russian Andrei Svechnikov.”
With the series tied heading into Game 5, the Capitals needed a big win. They got one, blowing out the Hurricanes 6-0 at home. Catholic University fans were ecstatic after that win.
“Being in the city feels so cool for playoffs,!” said freshman Michelle Umali. “I live an hour away from DC, so the city is definitely home away from home to me.! I was very fortunate to be able to go to the viewing party where the caps won the Stanley cup and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
The Capitals fell in Game 6 when they returned to Carolina, losing 5-2. The series was tied heading into Game 7 in Washington. The Capitals scored twice, early in the first period, to take a 2-0 lead. In the second period, the Hurricanes got on the board, but Kuznetsov scored to keep the two goal lead, making the score 3-1.
Just before the end of the second, the Hurricanes got one more in the net to get within 1 heading into the third period. In the third period, the Hurricanes scored with 2:25 left to tie the game, forcing an overtime. The first overtime was very lopsided, with the Hurricanes outshooting the Capitals 11-4, but neither team scored. The second overtime was intense, with both teams getting chances, but 11:05 into the period, the Hurricanes find the back of the net, ending the 91 minute long game and sending the Capitals home packing. Catholic University fans were glued to the TV during this game, hanging on the edge of their seats for the duration of overtime.
The Carolina Hurricanes advance to play the New York Islanders, while other matchups include: Columbus vs Boston, Colorado vs San Jose, and Dallas vs St. Louis. The Capitals have the offseason to focus on training and signing their free agents, which include Carl Hagelin, André Burakovsky, Brett Connolly, Dmitrij Jaskin, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakub Vrána, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos, and assistant captain Brooks Orpik.