It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

That the Caps and Flyers played Game 2 of their Patrick Division semifinal series at the Capital Centre in Landover. Pete Peeters was in goal for the Caps and Ron Hextall for the Flyers.

The Caps grabbed an early lead on Kevin Hatcher’s goal at 47 seconds of the first, assisted by Bengt Gustafsson. Philly scored twice within 2:27 to take the lead with Mark Howe and Dave Brown lighting the lamp. Bobby Gould drew the Caps even at 2-2 with a goal at 18:36 of the first, Mike Gartner and Scott Stevens assisting.

Peter Zezel gave the Flyers a lead midway through the second period, but Washington’s Steve Leach answered back and evened the game at 3-3 just 21 seconds later. Michal Pivonka and Kelly Miller earned the helpers on the Leach goal.

With the game tied and less than two minutes remaining in the second, the Caps’ Peter Sundstrom scored the key goal of the game. With help from Hatcher and Gustafsson, Sundstrom beat Hextall while Washington was shorthanded to give the Caps a 4-3 lead going into the final period. It was one of three shorthanded goals the Caps scored in the series. All three came in Washington wins.

Having won Game 1 a night earlier, the Flyers were seeking to gain a chokehold on the series. Philadelphia outshot Washington 15-8 in the third, but Kelly Miller’s goal at 6:12 gave the Caps a two-goal lead, Leach and Pivonka assisting. Brian Propp — now the Flyers’ radio color analyst — scored with 4:05 remaining to draw Philly within a goal, but the Flyers could not get the equalizer. Peeters stopped 31 of 35 shots to earn the win, and the series went to Philly even up at 1-1.

Caps fans know the rest of the story. Philly won the next two games in its building to go up 3-1 in games, but the Caps roared back to win three straight and take the series. Caps captain Dale Hunter netted the clincher in Game 7, the famous overtime goal at the Capital Centre that beat Hextall through the five-hole.

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16 Comments on “It Was Twenty Years Ago Today”

  1. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    That Hunter goal is still one of my favorite Caps playoff moments but being reminded that it was twenty years ago really makes me feel old. That goal had everything, game 7 overtime series winner, but that it was against the Flyers and Hextall was the best. My buddies and I really hated Hextall and the Flyers back then.

  2. notfadeaway Says:

    That was the most exciting moment of my childhood, being at that game, and it makes my eyes all misty to recall it. When Huntsie scored, my big brother grabbed me and put me on his shoulders. That place was going crazy. I was 8 years old.

    I have a bunch of memories tied to the run in 98, too. So, we had what was considered to be the most exciting moment in Capitals history in 1988. 10 years later, in 1998, our first trip to the Finals. 10 years later… in 2008… with the Great 8… is the Cup coming to DC?

  3. Tom in FL Says:

    The most exciting moment of my childhood (sports wise) was watching Frank Robinson homer to beat the Dodgers in 1966. I lived in Detroit then, cheering on the Red Wings, but having moved from Baltimore, my nine-year-old baseball heart was firmly rooted with the Orioles. My father, having been a goalie for the Forest Park (HS) team in Baltimore, was the one to light my interest in hockey. He despises the Caps to this day, though, due to Abe Pollin having taken the Bullets to DC. I have explained over and over how Baltimore forced Pollin to move and how the city caused Pittsburgh to get what would have been Baltimore’s franchise in the expansion of ’67. He doesn’t care. Oh well. He’s a wonderful father, the world’s best, despite all that. I remember playing street hockey with my kids in Bel Air with my dad stopping by and going in goal and making a big kick save on my huge slapshot from the point. Hey – Bernie Parent has nothing on my dad.

    We moved back to Baltimore in ’68, after having lived through the race riots in Detroit. My mother says she could look to the east in the summer of ’67 and see the city glowing at night. Back in Maryland, I lost interest in hockey because it was never on TV. Then the Caps caught my attention in like 79 or 80. Gordie Howe was retiring, so I switched allegiances. That’s my story.

    I have been watching the TSN special on the Playoffs and I absolutely can’t believe Las Vegas has the Caps as the longshot at 50 to 1.

    Mike: “Alex, Las Vegas says the Caps are 50 to 1 odds to win the Cup. How do you respond to that?”

    Ovie: “Who is this Las Vegas guy? I never heard of him. Does he play for the Sharks? Let’s see him shut me down.”

    These guys in LV are idiots. The Caps have played as well as anyone since Boudreau came on board and since the trades. I’m not saying the Caps win win or even take the first round. Injuries to the blueline could derail them right off the bat. But to put the Caps 16th out of 16 teams in odds – 50 to 1 – is absurd. Surely the Caps MUST rate as a better chance than Ottawa and Nashville, at the least.

    Can the Caps win? Yes. Will they win? Highly doubtful. For one, there are three teams out West better than any team in the East. I will take Detroit, SJ or Anaheim over any team from the East. That said, I will stick to my pick of last week and take Joe Thornton and the Sharks over the Caps in five.

    Caps beat Philly. Montreal continues domination over Boston. Pitt in a walk over Ottawa. NJ – NYR irrelevant, but I take NJ. The Caps then defeat Montreal as Huet bests the inexperienced Price. A rested Pitt beats NJ, although it is 50-50 that Brodeur simply outplays Fleury. Then I say the Caps, absent too many injuries, behind Ovechkin, gets by either Pitt or NJ. I actually fear the Devils more than any othhr team in the East, perhaps because I’ve seen Brodeur win so many series over so many years.

    50 to 1 odds. How do you bet? I’d put 20 bucks on the Caps with a G as a payoff.

    One more thing: GMGM needs to re-up Huet even at three years, $16-18M. Huet is the real deal and really plays well with our club. I want Federov back, too, and maybe Cooke as well. All three guys are part of the identity of a winner. Once you’ve seen it, you know it, and I believe we’ve seen it. The next two weeks will tell us more.

    As Chuck Thompson always said, “Ain’t the beer cold!”

    Finally, when the TSN panel previewed Caps vs Flyers (Panger, McKenzie, Milbury and can’t recall the 4th person) it was 4-0 they picked the Caps. ONly the monkey (really, a monkey) they had on the set to spin the wheel for each series had the Flyers winning. I woudn’t give any credence at all to a stupid a$$ monkey except Charlton Heston just died and maybe the monkey knows more than we think.

    “Take your filthy hands off me you dirty ape!”

  4. AJD Says:

    Philly is going to be a tough matchup for our boys.

    I give the Caps the edge in the following areas:

    1. Goaltending
    2. 5 on 5 play
    3. Defense, IF Morrison and Schultz are healthy. But this is pretty close

    I give the Flyers the edge in the following categories:
    1. PP (second best in the league, based on percentage)
    2. PK (Caps are in the bottom of the league, Philly in the top 10)
    3. Offense, just based on depth – but very close, imo.

    Given the importance of specialty teams in the playoffs, Philly has a pretty nice advantage there.

    I also fear a letdown from the Caps. The last two games they have showed some signs of flagging concentration, and there’s a real possibility they come out flat on Friday, imo.

    I can’t see this series being a walk in the park for the Caps – if they win, it’s going to be a grind.

    But what the heck, I’m a flaming homer, so I’ll take the Caps in 6.

  5. jason Says:


    If the first way goes how you predicted, which it wont (NYR have DOMINATED NJ this year), then we would have pit in the 2nd round……..i firmly believe that this is the year we FINALLY beat pit in a playoff series. im only 22, dont remember beating the flyers

    my childhood memories include a run to the cup and losing EVERY OTHER TIME TO PIT!!! i hat the penguins more than anything. and it just seems fit for us to knock them out. and we can finally prove that backstrom and ovie is a much better combo than sid the baby girl and malkin

  6. MD Says:

    I agree that we should make every effort to keep Huet & Fedorov, and probably Cooke also. That new trio has really fit in well, and quickly too. The entire team has begun to gel quite nicely. I’ll echo AJD – – Caps in 6.

  7. Tom in FL Says:

    Jason: No, I believe my scenario is correct. After the first round, the Caps are no longer the #3 seed. The four remaining teams are re-seeded based on reg season record. Montreal would be 1; Pitt 2; NYR or NJ 3; and the Caps (or Philly) #4. The only way the Caps can’t be #4 going into Round 2 is if Ottawa or Boston were to upset the Habs or Penguins. The Caps can only have home ice in Round 2 if BOTH Ottawa and Boston win their series’.

    I just read Mike’s report above and I must say I’m concerned at the thought that Jurcina, Erskine, Eminger and Lepisto could be our #3-6 D-men vs the Flyers. In actual skill, I rate them as third and fourth pair defensemen. Poti and Green are good as a first pair, not as good as some first pairs, but good. I remember the Caps losing to the Rangers back in 94 I think when a number of our defensemen had gone down and we were bringing guys up from Portland. It works for a while and then at just the wrong time you get a breakdown. Or some overworked guy commits a penalty. Playing a Stanley Cup series without a second pair defense team will be tough.

  8. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    Tom- The Caps remain 3rd as long as Habs and Pens win, if one or both of those 2 were to lose in the 1st rnd the Caps would move up in the seeding but cannot move down. If habs win and Pens lose, the Caps would then be the 2nd seed for the next rnd(assuming they win over Philly of course). The Caps could become the bottom seed if they end up in the conference finals against either Habs or Pens. I probably didn’t explain that very well but if the top 4 seeds win rnd 1, then rnd 2 would be Mon vs NJ and Pitt vs Was. Hope that makes sense.

  9. dumpnchase Says:

    Great story, thanks for sharing. I’d love to get some of that 50-to-1 action. Maybe I will; my sis lives out there.

    I’m definitely worried about the Caps’ depleted D in a series against Philly’s deep and diverse scoring attack. But they’ve got a few days to heal yet.

  10. Tom in FL Says:

    Funky: Maybe Mike can weigh in and explain how the Playoffs work in the succeeding rounds. You and I have a different view. You believe Caps keep the #3 seed and stay ahead of NYR and NJ (for home ice advantage, and would play the #2 team next rather than #1) for the rest of the playoffs. I believe entering Round 2 that NJ and NYR get put back in front of the Caps based on they had more reg season points. It’s not putting the cart (with regard to Caps; I’m not assuming Philly loses) before the horse because it’s a procedural question that happens almost every year (both East and West this year) where the #3 seed actually has less points than one or more team behind it in the seedings. The rules are the rules; one of us is mistaken; it could easily be me; and I’m curious now what is the truth. With apologies to Jack Nicholson, I can handle it.

  11. jason Says:

    tom in like 10000% positive that the seeds do not change…. if nashville goes to the conf finals they will still be the 8 seed. if the top 4 seeds win, we get pit…if a seed above us loses we get NJ?NYR which i prefer so i can go see a game in ny. i will bet you a million theoretical internet dollars (south park joke) on this being the correct scenario

  12. jason Says:

    pulled from wikipedia…..which we all know is foolproof….haha ok i know its not but i think we can trust it here were not being graded or turning in a works cited page

    “The first round of the playoffs, or Conference Quarterfinals, consists of four matchups in each conference, based on the seedings (1–8, 2–7, 3–6, and 4–5). In the second round, or Conference Semifinals, the top remaining conference seed plays against the lowest remaining seed, and the other two remaining conference teams pair off (unlike the NBA, for example, where the 1–8 winner always plays the 4–5 winner, regardless of who wins). In the third round, the Conference Finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Finals.”

    nothing about reseeding anywhere

  13. Funkyglovefacewash Says:

    Tom-I know it seems unfair that we’re higher seed than teams with more points, but that’s the way the league rewards the division winners. I personally don’t have a problem with all division winners automatically making the playoffs, but I’ve always felt they should still be seeded purely by record from the start, meaning the Caps would be 5th seed instead of 3rd. This year the Caps benefit from this flawed system, however I still would like to see it changed. We won’t have home ice in the 2nd rnd unless Mon or Pitt lose in the 1st rnd and we won’t have it in the conference finals unless both fail to make it that far.

  14. Tom in FL Says:

    OK, everyone thinks I’m wrong, which is actually better for the Caps. I’ll be watching though when Round 2 starts to see exactly how it works. I thought I had paid attention before, in years past, but maybe not. Anyway, it’s Wednesday already, and we have to wait two more days. Hopefully this means some of the d-men can return.

  15. Mike L Says:

    The Hunter goal in 1988 in Game 7 vs. Philly was the biggest goal scored by the Caps in their history. It remained that way for 10 years until 1998, when Joe Juneau scored the goal up in Buffalo to send the Caps on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Well, whaddya know, it’s 10 years since that goal. Maybe it’s time for a new biggest goal in Franchise history…

    As for the series with Philly. Both teams score lots of goals, play defense well, but occasionally overcommit in the attack zone (Philly more than Washington actually) and both have excellent goaltenders with limited post-season experience.

    Where the Caps have the edge: certianly in even strength situations, and esp. in four-on-four play. There is a lot less of that in the post-season but there still is some. The Caps also have an edge by having Olie Kolzig to work with Cristobal Huet. Olie’s gone deep in the playoffs, Huet hasn’t.

    Where Philly has the edge: Powerplay. The Caps PK isn’t all that good and with Morrisonn out and Schultz hurting, it’s not going to get much better. I can’t wait until next year to see Karl Alzner out there killing penalties with Schultz or Morrisonn.

    Despite the big advantage Philly will have when they are a man up, I don’t think that powerplays will decide the series. What will is solid even strength play, and, of course, having Alex Ovechkin knocking Daniel Briere around can’t hurt. Caps win in 6, or maybe 5.

  16. jason Says:

    caps in 4 calling it now

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