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If the Washington Capitals somehow end up winning a Stanley Cup this year, they will look back on one play that occurred on Wednesday night, May 30, 2018, and say "that's the one that did it."
This area has seen some iconic plays over the years: John Riggins running 70-Chip for the winning touchdown and the Washington Redskins’ first Super Bowl win; Jayson Werth hitting a walkoff, game winning home run in Game 4 of the National League Division Series in 2012, maybe Darrell Green’s punt return for a touchdown in 1988 in the playoffs against the Chicago Bears.
But if you’re carving out the Mount Rushmore of DC iconic plays, it may be time to move a mountain and add Braden Holtby’s save of a point-blank, wide open net shot by Alex Tuch that was the difference in the Capitals’ 3-2 win Wednesday night. It was also the Caps first win in a Stanley Cup Finals series in the history of mankind.
As you can see in the video, there’s just no way Tuch could have missed scoring a goal. He hit it firmly and low, but Holtby stretched out with his stick as far as he could, and somehow fate saw to it that puck and wood collided.
The challenge now is if you’re going to have a play that is this iconic, it has to have a name. Announcers called it “The Save” for the rest of the game, but that’s kind of boring and predictable. I instead prefer the “Immaculate Extension” because (A) I’m still not sure how he was able to extend himself that far to his right and (B) His play provoked tens of thousands of people in the Virginia-DC-Maryland to call out the name of the Almighty after he stopped the puck. All at once.
Whatever you call it, it was the greatest save I’ve seen in the history of the franchise. And it may be the difference maker this year in deciding who takes home Lord Stanley’s Cup.