May 17, 2024

Capitals clinch playoff berth with unusual empty-net goal

PHILADELPHIA — T.J. Oshie shot the puck into an empty internet and, within the course of, scored one of many extra inconceivable game-winning objectives in latest NHL historical past and despatched the Washington Capitals to the playoffs.

Oshie’s empty-net goal with 3 minutes left helped the exhausted Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Tuesday night time beneath absurd circumstances. The rating was tied when Philadelphia coach John Tortorella pulled his goaltender for an additional attacker as a result of his crew wanted to win in regulation to maintain its hopes alive.

What Tortorella did not know was that Detroit scoring with 3.3 seconds remaining to pressure to time beyond regulation at Montreal maybe a minute earlier truly eradicated the Flyers.

“We’ll take it,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin stated. “Thanks, Philly.”

Tortorella discovered simply after Oshie’s empty-netter in regards to the Red Wings end result. By then, it was too late, and the end result additionally eradicated Detroit and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington will face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers within the first spherical starting this weekend, returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence ended their eight-year streak.

“It means a lot,” stated Oshie, one in all a handful of gamers remaining from the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup crew, alongside with Ovechkin, John Carlson and Tom Wilson. “Once you win one time, the regular season just doesn’t have as much meaning as the playoff games, so to get back there is going to be super special and definitely won’t take it for granted. The boys will be ready to rock.”

A latest six-game shedding streak seemed to have tanked the Caps’ probabilities, however behind extra robust play from goalie Charlie Lindgren, they saved themselves within the race. Lindgren seemed shaky at occasions towards the Flyers, giving up some huge rebounds, however he made the saves, 27 whole, once they mattered in his second begin in as many days and forty eighth of the season – by far essentially the most he has performed in his NHL profession.

“He’s been arguably our MVP,” coach Spencer Carbery stated. “He’s been fantastic all year. He earned the opportunity to play this in back to back, and he delivered once again.”

Ovechkin offered the sooner offense, scoring his thirty first goal of the season and 853rd of his profession on a deflection of Dylan McIlrath‘s shot late within the first to maneuver 42 again of breaking Wayne Gretzky’s file. The solely goal Lindgren allowed was an identical redirection by veteran defenseman Erik Johnson, a commerce deadline acquisition by Philadelphia not identified for his scoring prowess.

Before being pulled, Flyers goalie Samuel Ersson stopped 16 of the 17 photographs he confronted.

“That was one of the most encouraging things of it all, is the last three games that Ers can go home in the summer with that,” Tortorella stated. “It’s ridiculous how much we played him. But he gets to go home feeling he rebounded and he found himself again.”

The Capitals discovered themselves again and again this season, going from low preseason expectations to by some means in competition to commerce deadline sellers to playoff front-runners. It’s solely becoming they took the ultimate step to the playoffs in unusual vogue, and the Rangers are up subsequent.

“Significant challenge,” Carbery stated. “Best team in the NHL, so we know we have our hands full.”