After the Game 6 loss, there was disbelief.
Games like that make you wish you followed Perez Hilton and not a professional hockey team.
But what turned the tide was the chance of Sergei Gonchar playing.
Before you knew it, he was lined up for the opening faceoff.
How is that even possible?
The Caps almost looked like they couldn't believe he was playing.
Sports are not just about big-time moments and big-time performances.
They are about watching people do things that you can't do.
That's what Gonch did in this Game 7.
All he did was get an assist on the all-important first goal.
This is now two Willis Reed moments for Gonchar in as many seasons.
Feeding off the inspiration, the Pens were almost machine-like.
As Earl Mann once said about Mario Lemieux,
tonight Washington saw Sidney Crosby's gunfighter eyes.
Remember how Semin jobbed him in back in October? [ PUCK DADDY
] What was going through Semin's mind when he saw Crosby on that breakaway from his own blue line in Game 7?
And how about that joke band that wrote the song about Crosby?
We hope the lead singer enjoys drinking his own urine and touching Chris Cooley's weiner.
In the end, Game 7 wasn't the heart attack we expected.
But it is what we needed.
Our faith has been rewarded.
Enjoy this one until the end of Boston/Carolina tonight.
'Cause we're gonna do this all over again.
joe and devon, mikey KISS, EMPTY NETTERS, noslenwerd1, 9196,
McCreary was lurking at the opening faceoff. Jeeeeeessssusss.
A minute in, Ovechkin drops Orpik with an elbow.
The Pens were buzzing early.
Craig Adams has a chance.
Then Fedotenko has a chance from the slot.
See what he did there? He's been ticketing every shot for Varmalade's glove.
This one, he goes stick side but wide. Had Varly fooled long enough.
Out of nowhere, AO gets a breakaway.
Absolutely nothing else was in your mind as Ovechkin hit the faceoff circles.
Images of Barrasso sucking in those YouTube clips jump into your mind.
18,000+ in the Verizon Center hold their breath.
Saying this save was big as we sit here awaiting the Pens' next round opponent doesn't do it justice.
During the game itself, you just said, "Big save, MAF," and moved on.
But it started sinking in later on into the game.
MAF didn't "steal" this game. He just made the big save at the big moment.
Later, The Pens get a powerplay. Slash city.
Gonch makes his return to the power play.
He lets go with a one-legged slapper-ish.
No clue how it finds Crosby's skate. He buries it. 1-0.
No celebration at all. All business.
h/t to TimD.
Those two goals didn't calm your nerves at all. Stay the course.
The Pens got another PP at the end of the period to stock up on some goals.
No dice. Varmalade was hanging tough.
The Pens got out of the first squeaky clean.
At the start of the second period, you were still nervous as shit.
28 seconds in, it was 3-0. Billy Guerin is one tough son of a bitch.
Okay, settle down. Relax. Still two periods to play.
It ain't over till the fat pacifier girl sings.
Then Malkin feeds Letang with a cross-ice pass. He cruises in.
You probably could have taken pictures of Penguin and Caps fans after this goal,
and they all would have had the same stunned look.
Was this really happening?
It was almost a numb feeling.
Varlamov was gone.
Boudreau questioned leaving Varlamov in after the third goal. "We've had bad periods before, but had always come back. After the third goal, I was thinking about pulling him because he was looking really dejected."
After Letang's goal, the Capitals were already accepting defeat.
AO led the way by not even caring anymore.
It was actually kind of sad watching him glide through his shifts from that point on.
Then Mike Green has a couple of horrible shifts.
The booing begins.
We didn't know legitimate Norris Trophy candidates get booed in their own building.
But oh wait.
The Capitals coach let slip some details of his team's challenges during the series: an injury to defenseman Mike Green(notes) and an injury to Ovechkin (which the player has indicated was a bum groin) that Boudreau said would have grounded the star in the regular season.
His groin was okay enough to take runs at people all series.
He may have delivered his biggest hit in the second period of this one:
When Staal is on the ice, you better body up on him along the boards.
AO nonchalantly pokes at him with his stick. Staal gets it down to Satan. Back to Staal.
Even the most superstitious among us knew that this goal
halfway through the second period simply turned out the lights.
Caps fans were leaving by that time. byyyeeeeeeee
Fleury gets lazy and gives a goal to AO. 5-1.
Another Capital goal late in the period is something the Pens just could have done without.
Disco knew it and calls a smart time-out after an icing. You have it. Might as well use it.
Brooks Laich high-sticks Crosby early into the third.
Didn't look intentional. Doesn't matter. Pens jump on for 4 minutes.
The Caps' season was waning.
They couldn't afford to sit back for 4 minutes to kill a penalty.
They press in the Pens zone. AO coughs it up.
And there went Bing all alone on Theodore.
Then it was time for Steiggy and Errey to have some fun.
Bob Errey goes into full jobber mode, finding that Semin quote from the regular season.
Steiggy says they'll be cleaning the black marks off the glass from Semin's wayward shots.
It was just a joyous time for those guys.
A toast to FSN.
Hopefully we're speaking for all Pens fans
when we say thanks to everyone at FSN for another solid season.
If we had the means, we'd hire Dan Potash to conduct interviews at weddings.
Yeah, the Caps scored. 6-2.
Caps fans finally wake up at the end to give their team a farewell salute.
you better make up in time for the 2010 Olympics.
Someone said it at the begining of the series, but did people realize the extent of this matchup?
The Internet battles that were waged? The bragging rights that are now ours again?
This series was so much more than just the hockey.
And it lived up to every last possible expectation.
On the ice, it was built as the series of A.O. vs Crosby.
They went toe-to-toe. A.O. had 14 points. Bing had 13.
Yes, there was that ugly A.O./Gonch incident. But karma took care of that.
We'll always hate A.O. like the Caps will always hate Crosby.
But that doesn't mean each fanbase hasn't grown at least a tiny amount of respect for each.
What can you say about A.O.? He showed up. Big time.
Everytime he touched the puck, there was a 75% chance it was going in.
His release and shot are digusting.
And now his putting will be good too. wooo
We firmly believe that no goalie in the NHL stands a chance against him when he is locked in. MAF did what he could. And having escaped this series, how good does that make MAF now?
Beyond the stars, going into the series,
we thought we saw the Capitals breaking down in goaltending.
And, well, it only took seven games.
You can make the case that Varmalade out-played Fleury.
But MAF showed up in Game 7. And that is all that matters.
The best thing about the way this ended was it finally exposed, once and for all,
Bruce Boudreau's many coaching mistakes.
How lucky did he get with Varmalov?
And then he brings Theodore in when Game 7 was getting rough?
After he did that. It was over.
But all series long, Bruce Boudreau was exposed.
He has no defensive plan at all. Wouldn't you at least try something?
And still does anyone know why Sergei Federov was on defense in Game 5 in OT?
And let's not even talk about the crying he did.
As it is, the series is another victory against the Capitals, and that always means more.
And while we will never be on good terms with Caps fans,
As we're starting to see, most of the Caps fanbase is made up of fairweather fans.
But those three are anything but.
Good battle, boys.
Homo the Goat christens…
Mike Green. Norris Trophy?
Apparently he wasn't using his usual stick for most of this series.
Has nothing to do with not boxing out forwards and/or playing positionally.
The dude even got booed by the hometown fans in this series.
But when Varlamov single-handedly chokes away their season,
he gets a respectful cheer when he is yanked.
We may never understand Caps fans.
PLAYER WE WOULDN'T MIND BEING A PEN
It's 3:00 in the morning.
Talk amongst yourselves.