Caps clinch Stanley Cup Playoffs berth

Ben Krimmel
March 29, 2019 - 9:21 am
Washington Capitals clinched a Stanley Cup playoff berth.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

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It is harsh to say everything that preceded this moment was nothing more than a prelude, but in the world of the playoffs the regular season is simply an appetizer.

Now it really begins.

The Washington Capitals clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Thursday with a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

And now, the defense of their Stanley Cup title begins in earnest.

Sure the Capitals clinching a spot was not really in doubt this season, but after Nic Dowd scored with five minutes to play in the third period it became officially official.

“I mean, I’m excited,” Dowd said via The Washington Post. “I’ve never even come close to clinching the playoffs or even playing in them, so I’m really excited."

"It’s one of those things where you’re happy to get it out of the way and then we can resume the rest of the season and play well and then carry it on in the playoffs.”

Caps head coach Todd Reirden showed a great deal of faith going with his bottom line in a tight game at the backend of the season and the gamble paid off.

“Fourth line, you go with them inside of five minutes in a tie game, you show confidence in those players and belief in them, and then they go out and get it done like that,” Reirden said. “That’s great. That’s taking advantage of your opportunity, which is kind of something I’ve been saying all year. That’s a huge goal for us from some new additions. Now they get a chance to play some playoff hockey, both those guys.”

After falling behind in the first, Washington equalized on goal No. 22 for Bret Connolly.

While Ovechkin has stolen all the headlines with a 49-goal season at age 33, the Capitals offense has been incredibly balanced.

However, the most aesthetically pleasing goal of the night came from Czech speedster Jakub Vrana.

That was pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

The win put the Capitals at the century mark for the season and gave them a three point lead over the New York Islanders.

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