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‘Hell yeah!’ Max Scherzer and the Nats remain all-in on the Capitals

(Via @Nationals)
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While speaking with reporters inside the Nationals’ clubhouse after improving to 6-1 and driving in a run in Washington’s 12-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, Max Scherzer was informed the Capitals had just defeated the Penguins in Pittsburgh on a late goal by Alex Ovechkin to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven second-round Stanley Cup playoff series. Scherzer’s thoughts?

“Hell yeah!”

During his weekly interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan on Wednesday, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said he “high-tailed it down to the clubhouse” to watch the end of the Caps game after the Nationals finished off the Pirates.

“It’s really important to these guys,” Rizzo said. “They really want to support the Caps and D.C., and I think it’s pretty fun. I think it’s pretty cool. There was a big shout out when Ovi knocked that one in and they kind of clinched the win with a couple seconds left.”

The Nationals trolled Pittsburgh fans at Nationals Park and on social media Monday by highlighting the controversial no-goal call that helped pave the way for Washington’s Game 2 win Sunday. On Tuesday, the Nationals showed more love for the crosstown Capitals, who were scheduled to drop the puck for Game 3 in Pittsburgh about a half-hour after first pitch. As Scherzer prepared to face the Pirates, Nationals players sported #ALLCAPS caps with the Capitals’ logo. At Wednesday’s game, the Nationals should just show an endless loop of Ovechkin’s game-winning goal on the main scoreboard between innings.

Several Nationals players, including Scherzer, attended Game 1 of the Capitals-Penguins series at Capital One Arena on their day off Thursday, and Nationals Manager Dave Martinez led the “Let’s Go Caps!” chant before puck drop in that game. Howie Kendrick is among the Nationals players who have sported Capitals gear in batting practice during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

There was at least one notable Nationals player who apparently opted for a different cap Tuesday. MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reported that Bryce Harper, who hit a three-run home run while batting leadoff for the first time since 2013, wore a black Nationals cap.

Harper once started a postgame interview at Nationals Park with a “Let’s Go Caps!” chant and was an avid supporter of D.C.’s hockey team, but that was before his beloved home town of Las Vegas was awarded an expansion team before this season. Harper is now a die-hard Vegas Golden Knights fan, and with Vegas also in the second round of the playoffs after the greatest regular season by an expansion team in sports history, this is apparently no time to split his allegiances. It’s an understandable move.

Harper, who watched Vegas’s Game 1 win over the San Jose Sharks last week from the comfort of his own couch while rocking a Golden Knights hoodie and hockey helmet, has used a Vegas Golden Knights logo on his bat knob and taken batting practice in a Golden Knights T-shirt this season. He wore a Golden Knights cap to Game 1 of the Capitals-Penguins series in D.C. Before Tuesday’s game, Harper imagined the possibility of the Golden Knights and Capitals meeting in the Stanley Cup finals.

Epic wouldn’t even begin to describe it. Just be thankful Harper isn’t from Pittsburgh.

This post has been updated.

Read more on the Nationals and Capitals:

It’s May 1. Now is it time to start worrying about the Nats’ division hopes?

When workload gets too heavy, Ryan Madson vows to save himself from himself

For the Nationals, there’s no ill communication, just positivity run amok

Capitals-Penguins Game 3 analysis and live updates

No suspension for Caps’ Tom Wilson after hit on Brian Dumoulin

With a bit of luck — and a lot of Braden Holtby — the Capitals tie up the series