the Perennial loser in the playoffs of the National hockey League (NHL) “Washington capitals” has finally reached the Stanley Cup finals. This is a historic event, because the legendary captain of “capital” Alexander Ovechkin for the first time in his career this close to the coveted trophy. About bad luck, “Washington”, famous for the rivalry with “Pittsburgh” and the dream AVI in the material “the Tape.ru”.
Ovechkin has moved overseas back in 2005, when he drafted the “Washington” team, while not claiming the high places in the NHL. About the talent of the 19-year-old player, recognized as rookie of the year, already knew the entire sports world. All predicted Ovechkin has a great future, but the player has obeyed far not all the top. Yes, Ovechkin has already won three world Championships with the Russian national team (2008, 2012, 2014), participated in three Olympics and has signed the biggest contract in NHL history (124 million dollars for 13 years). But the Stanley Cup in 32 years of no hockey player was holding a never. He admits that victory in this tournament — it’s the same dream that he’s chasing life.
Relations with the playoffs in the NHL from Ovechkin and his team went wrong from the beginning. Despite the mad statistics that shows a hockey player from season to season, Washington since 1998, did not go to the Stanley Cup finals.
When Ovechkin just joined the “capitals”, it was below average. “Capital” has remained permanent outsiders of the tournament so far in the history of the club is not the era of Alexander Ovechkin. In his debut season he scored 106 points, beating on this indicator of Sidney Crosby “Pittsburgh penguins”, became his principal rival for many years. Then Alexander called “the great eight” (Ovechkin plays at number 8). The sports world was alarmed started talking that with such a striker “Washington” will soon enter the elite of the Eastern conference. But “capitals” is a long time to meet those expectations.
the 2006-07 Season was a failure. The team has scored 28 victories in 82 matches of the regular championship, and the main hope of the club, Ovechkin lowered the performance (96 points versus 106 in the first season). This was followed by a change of coach, which proved to be effective in the next season “Washington” has played in the playoffs. It happened for the first time in the last five years and, of course, not without the help of Ovechkin. In the 2007/08 season, Alexander scored 65 goals and updated the sniper record for the winger. However, in the first round of the playoffs the NHL, “capitals” lost “Philadelphia”.
In the next year began the famous story of the confrontation “Pittsburgh” — “Washington”, where “the penguins” up until this season have always been stronger. The 2009-10 season ended for the “capital” defeat from “the Dynamo” in the second round. At the same stage of “capitals” concluded and one year later, having lost “Tampa”.
After two consecutive unsuccessful years, the team went through a severe crisis. “Washington” has again stopped in the playoffs, and productive game Ovechkin was needed only to improve his personal statistics. From year to year, he entered the top five snipers in the NHL, but the Stanley Cup remained out of reach. The hockey player admitted that it was a painful period in his career.
the time of Troubles came to an end in 2014, when Washington reached the semifinals of the conference, losing to “new York Rangers” (3-4). Alexander the Great, as a hockey player now called the fans, then took first place in the ranking snipers, scoring 53 goals for the season.
But the following season, the capitals again failed — the defeat of the “Dynamo” in the second round. Pittsburgh, led all the same Crosby and Russia’s Evgeni Malkin won the series with the score 4:2. Last year, Pittsburgh has once again become a stumbling block for “capital”, not allowing them to go beyond the second round.
year after Year the second round of the playoffs was Washington’s irresistible trait, although in the last two seasons and was the best assembled in the history of the “capitals” part. Louder sounded the conversations that Ovechkin never gets to the coveted trophy.
After the defeat of last season Alexander has admitted that the team has done everything in her power. It sounded like a death sentence. In response to Russian former NHL player Barry Melrose spoke very firmly: “Alex Ovechkin has not fulfilled its task. In “Washington” to win it did not work. Theoretically, he would benefit a move to another club, change of scenery.”
“Change of scenery”, however, is not required. “Washington” is not only not abandoned his captain, but took the installation to win next season.
Washington went to the playoffs in good form, winning twelve of the last fifteen games of the regular season. The playoffs this season for the capitals team began with a series of “Columbus blue Jackets”.
the Confrontation ended with the victory of “Washington” in six matches. “Columbus” became “capitals” difficult opponent, and in four of the six matches the teams had to identify the winner in overtime, while Washington was considered a favorite.
“Columbus” for the last five seasons has not passed on the first round and twice in the next five years did not come out in the playoffs. As the series progresses, “Washington” lost 0-2 and risked unpleasant confirm the statistics: teams who lose their first two games at home, pass on only 21.3 percent of the cases.
In the ill-fated second round of the “capitals” traditionally waited for “Pittsburgh”. But this time city have overcome the psychological barrier and six matches still won archrivals (4-2). In this series, Ovechkin showed an outstanding result: he have only three goals. Low for themselves the performance of Alexander did not comment, but said on the other: “Everything that has happened to us in the past, doesn’t matter. We knew that can overcome this barrier if we fight with all our might. We’re going on, and it’s an incredible feeling,” — reports the website of the NHL.
a Victory over “Dynamo” in the playoffs has become “capitals” of the second (the first was in 1994). Since 1995, the penguins have won seven series in a row. All the teams met in the playoffs eleven times, through struggles now 9-2 in favor of “Pittsburgh”.
On “Washington” waited “Tampa”. The first two games in the series was for “capitals” winning away and at the same time. But then it was followed by two consecutive home defeats and one away. Washington was one step away from relegation, but in the next match at home literally blew rivals (3:0). “It’s probably the most important match in my career. Two steps between you and the Stanley Cup finals. We need to show the best game. You can’t lose, — said before the game Ovechkin, but the match effective action was not observed. After this game the question arose, what the balance of forces at the last meeting.
“Because none of you probably didn’t think we get here. You all were sure that this time we’re going to be on vacation, right?” — said Ovechkin for the decisive match in an interview with NHL.
Indeed, few people was waiting for “capitals” such a breakthrough, but talk about what Ovechkin can remain without a Stanley Cup, was unnerving and the player. So the last game with “Tampa” was so important: there is no guarantee that Washington if Ovechkin ever gets a chance to reach the final of the main draw of the NHL.
In the seventh match of a series with “Tampa”, “Washington” was playing the last time. “Capital” scored four unanswered goals, and the goalkeeper of rivals of the Russian Andrew Wasilewski despite a good game during the match, helping the team couldn’t. Scored a double Andre Burakovsky, another goal was scored by Bäckström and Ovechkin (Evgeny Kuznetsov). The game of the Russian striker, “Tampa” Nikita Kucherov and his partners did not happen. In the final quarter of the match, they were constantly defensive mistakes and could have conceded a couple of goals.
did Not have time to sound the final siren, and the captain “capital” has already begun to celebrate. “I’m happy. For our team, for the city, for all of our fans,” said Ovechkin after the game. During the traditional handshake with opponents the Russians “Tampa” Vasilevskiy and Kucherov congratulated compatriot: “Youngster, Alex, come on.”
In the final of the “capitals” waiting for the newcomer to the NHL, “Vegas”, sensationally won “Winnipeg” (4-1). This will be a tough series, but I want to believe that Ovechkin dreaming of a home victory in club career, no one can stop it: “Stanley Cup Final means everything to me. We’re going to fight”.