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Sammi’s Daily: State Of The Capitals, Stamkos’ Fight Reminiscent Of Ovechkin



Capitals Ovechkin and Backstrom

Back in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin found himself dropping the gloves and going toe-to-toe with young Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov. It was a rare fight for the 6-3, 238-pound captain, who knocked out Svechnikov in a matter of seconds.

Ovechkin had called Svechnikov after the game to check on Svechnikov, who recovered quickly and was back on the ice within 72 hours.

And, in an odd way, history repeated itself three years later on Thursday. In an odd Game 5 that saw Ondrej Palat come in clutch again, the final buzzer rang out at Madison Square Garden, but there was still unfinished business. Steven Stamkos and Alexis Lafreniere’s heated discussion turned into both of them fighting and Stamkos, the 2008 No. 1 selection, taking down the 2020 first-overall pick.

Still, as tensions flew, the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers at the Garden and are now one win away from their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Colorado Avalanche are waiting.

Here are the latest news and notes from across the NHL:

Capitals Links

  • With Tom Wilson out for 6-8 months, Washington will have a lot of work to do when it comes to filling his void. We discuss some options heading into the Capitals offseason.
  • Speaking of summer moves, Washington has plenty to ponder when it comes to the future of its blue line. NBCSW takes a closer look at how the blue line stacks up, contracts and what’s next.
  • How did Anthony Mantha stack up this past season? Japers’ Rink has more in their “Rink Wrap” for No. 39.

NHL Links

  • There’s a lot for the Capitals’ rival Pittsburgh Penguins to consider this offseason, including new contracts for Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Pittsburgh Hockey Now ponders the road ahead and potential “what-ifs” facing the Penguins this offseason.
  • Here’s more on that brawl between two No. 1 picks, as Stamkos and Lafreniere ended Game 5 with quite the fight.
  • As they head to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Does that success come with the Avalanche learning from past mistakes?

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Zach Bogosian told Bally Sports Sun postgame that the Stamkos fight was “awesome to see” and gave the Bolts a boost. This was Stamkos’ sixth career fight. Out of his six brawls, three have been against New York.
  • Speaking of that series, Jacob Trouba tried to deliver another questionable hit on Palat, but Palat ducked and avoided what could have been a serious injury. Leading with the elbow looks intentional, in my opinion. The lack of discipline from him through the year is something that’s a bit concerning to see, though.

  • Maybe just a gut feeling, but I can see Beck Malenstyn making a big push for a roster spot come training camp. He’s a gritty forward who brings a lot of physicality and ability to the bottom-6, and he could certainly help fill Wilson’s void.