[Ed. Note: With overtime thrillers and unlikely heroes, the Washington Capitals first playoff series of the 2010-11 NHL Stanley Cup finals is surely one to remember. While we wait to find out the what lies ahead for the Caps, we here at Rock the Red took time to look back at some of our other favorite playoff moments, of series recent and past. Feel free to share your own in our comments section.]
April 25, 1990.
The Caps were playing the New York Rangers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after beating the New Jersey Devils in Round 1. My mom managed to get tickets to Game 4 of both the Devils' and Rangers' series, which were the first playoff games I ever attended. The Rangers had won Game 1, but the Caps had managed to win game 2 in NYC and game 3 at the Capital Centre. Game 4 was a close game and eventually went into OT. Then, (from the Washington Post, 4/26/90): Read on to find out!
Rod Langway, the heart, soul, brains and muscle of the Washington Capitals for the past seven years-precisely the length of The Cap Curse-took the game and perhaps the season on his stick and headed for the goal in overtime. The great defenseman hadn't scored a goal in more than a year. At Capital Centre, he does everything else. But he doesn't score. Not once this season.
This time, just 34 seconds into overtime, he did, to give the battered, undermanned and underdog Capitals a 4-3 victory and a three-games-to-one lead over the New York Rangers.
It was the last playoff goal Rod Langway would ever score and he would go on to score only once more in a Caps uniform. When the puck went in the net and everyone jumped toward the rafters, the guy behind me managed to throw his full, large beer into the air. It crash-landed on 12 year old me, in a cascade of Bud Lite-iness. My mom looked appalled. The guy behind me looked terrified. Seriously, it was as if I pulled a knife on him. He tried to apologize. My personal reaction was slightly different.
"WHO GIVES A S***!!! LANGWAY JUST SCORED!!!!!"
I high-fived the guy. He was stunned... he shook his head and started laughing. I think it was the first time my mom heard me swear and I don't remember getting in trouble for it. I did have to take a shower that night though, as going to school the next day smelling like a frat party didn't seem like an option.
That year, the Caps would beat the Rangers in 5 and go on to play in their first Conference Finals, losing to the Boston Bruins in 4 games. I went to game 4 of that series as well, a loss. But Rod Langway and a beer shower still made it a postseason to remember.