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The Narrative: A Couple of Firsts, 8 vs. 88 and Bobby Orrpik

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Three things we’re talking about today when we’re talking about the Caps (... other than The Save, Kuzy’s health and Lars Eller, that is.)

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

1. On June 9, 1972, the NHL “grant[ed] Abe Pollin the right to bring an expansion franchise to Washington.” He did so, of course, and 16,791 days later, that franchise won its first Stanley Cup Final game. (By contrast, the Vegas Golden Knights’ timeline was 705 days.) Needless to say, the Caps and their fans had a moment.

Fittingly, the greatest player in franchise history potted his first Stanley Cup Final goal along the way, which had also been a long time coming:

So not a whole lot of “firsts” left, except... well... you know.

2. That goal, Alex Ovechkin’s 13th of the playoffs, came on the power play, but The Great Eight hasn’t been able to muster up much at five-on-five through two games, and that’s in large part due to Nate Schmidt. Having the last line change, Gerard Gallant has been able to match Schmidt against Ovechkin pretty aggressively - of Ovechkin’s 29:30 of five-on-five ice time so far in the series, Schmidt has been on the ice for 23:26, or roughly 80 percent of Ovi’s minutes at fives. And in that time, the Knights have out-shot (attempts) the Caps 27 to 17 (61.4%) and had 14 of the games’ 20 scoring changes (70%), per Natural Stat Trick. Washington has outscored Vegas 1-0 in this time, but Barry Trotz will probably want to try to get Ovechkin out against some other Knights defenders as the series shifts to Washington and the line-matching advantage is his.

3. As we all expected it would, the Caps’ first win in a Stanley Cup Final game featured a game-winning goal from Brooks Orpik.

How long had it been since Orpik’s last goal?

Again I’ll ask - how long had it been since Orpik’s last goal?

Orpik doesn’t score much, but when he does, he makes ‘em count - that’s his second playoff game-winner, of his three post-season tallies total.

And what did Orpik get for his efforts? Stitches, that’s what.

Alas, those were probably the best feeling stitches he’s ever gotten.