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The Narrative: Ovechkin’s Leg, Justin’s Timing and Trotz’s Dark Side

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Three things we’re talking about today when we’re talking about the Caps

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals - Game Five Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

1. Late in the first period of last night’s Game 5 battle between the Capitals and Maple Leafs, Nazem Kadri took out Alex Ovechkin with this low-bridge hit:

Ovechkin went down hard, and stayed down, which was perhaps the most terrifying part... because Ovechkin very rarely stays down. Even more rare are the times he’s had to be helped off, but that was exactly the case after this hit, with very little weight being put on his left leg in the process.

So the initial thoughts after the hit are concern and maybe a little bit (or a lot) of panic. After that? Assessing the hit itself - was it dirty?

Unsurprisingly, Canada’s voice of reason was on the side of “no”, because hooray for bodily harm:

From most others, however (at least those not sporting a Maple Leafs jersey), it was at best a questionable hit and possibly much worse.

Look, hip checks are hard to do well, and injuries can happen - but there’s just no reason for Kadri to be getting as low as he does, and clearly targeting Ovechkin’s knee/leg the way he does. Because this is just gross:

The good news for all of us is that Ovechkin returned for the start of the third period, and appeared to be no worse for wear. He even leveled a huge hit on Jake Gardiner on his first shift back as if to show the world that he was fine, and both he and Matt Niskanen got a little bit of revenge on Kadri in the third.

An eye for an eye and all that nonsense - hopefully it’s all out of their systems now, because the focus next game needs to be on winning, not on trying to beat up Kadri.

As for the question of how he was after the hit, Ovechkin joked (?) about it after the game:

Yeah. Hilarious. We’ll be sending you our cardiologist’s bill.

At any rate, in the aftermath we had differing opinions on the hit from both locker rooms, and apparently a clean bill of health for the captain.

All’s well that end’s well. See you tomorrow, Nazem.

2. When Justin Williams was brought in on a two-year deal two summers ago, it was not for his regular-season performance (although there’s no question that he’s been very good for the Caps in that capacity). No, it was because of his veteran experience, his Cup rings, and his penchant for coming up big in big playoff moments.

Last night was yet another in a long list of those, as he scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Caps the 3-2 series lead. It was perhaps the least surprising outcome ever:

As for the hero himself, well... he was unsurprisingly modest. Or senile.

3. With his team one game away from the second round, Barry Trotz had this to say about the opportunity to finish off the series tomorrow night:

That’s...dark. Although it probably got him out of having to spend time bonding with one of the Leafs’ enforcers, so that’s a bonus:

As borderline scary as the language was, he’s not wrong. The Caps now have a chance to wrap up this series in six games, and they need to take it. Because his counterpart behind the Leafs bench is putting on quite the show about coming back to DC next week: