Fedorov Saves the Capitals From a Case of Stage Fright

The Washington Post's Mike Wise takes you behind the column during the Capitals' 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Video by Atkinson & Co.
By Mike Wise
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So many playoff games, so many seminal shifts -- so many momentous goals for Sergei Fedorov over the years. Couldn't the original Russian Rocket find it in him one more time? When he came here, all he wanted was a new lease on an old champion's life. Couldn't the only player on the Capitals to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup turn back time, to a moment when he was Alex Ovechkin and all the possibilities of speed and deception were in front of him, just a laser of a shot away?

"Sir-GAAY! Sir-GA-AY!"

In this ever-maddening Game 7, in the middle of that recurring nightmare where the Capitals' players seem to be going in slow motion and the other guys somehow ruin the season with an implausible ricochet in front of the net -- when everyone on the ice looks old and tired -- they chanted the name of the ageless one.

"For all the years I played the game, I recognize the situation, I recognize that I can shoot the puck and it went through," he said, matter-of-factly. "And it was a big goal."

Big goal?

With 4 minutes 59 seconds left, Fedorov, the going-on-40 legend who hadn't scored a goal in 395 minutes of playoff hockey this April, froze Rangers defenseman Wade Redden with a hesitation move, waited for Henrik Lundqvist to drop to his knees, recoiled his stick and fired.

A wrister.


Glove side -- because he said his experience told him Lundqvist would go low.

When that puck pierced the net, from Verizon Center boomed a cacophonous roar unheard in this building since it opened more than a decade ago.



CONTINUED     1           >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company