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For the celebrating Caps, the Nationals provided ‘goosebumps,’ ‘shivers’ and an excuse to party

This looked familiar. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Stop us if you have heard this before: Alex Ovechkin and teammates from the Washington Capitals raucously — and boozily — celebrated a breakthrough championship. This time, though, it wasn’t their Stanley Cup title the Caps were cheering but rather the Washington Nationals’ World Series win.

As fate would have it, Wednesday not only brought Game 7 between the Nationals and Houston Astros but also the Capitals’ annual Halloween party, so the 2018 NHL champs were already in a festive mood well before Daniel Hudson got the final out at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

But that magical moment brought the Capitals’ revelry to a new level. Champagne was sprayed, Ovechkin sang “Baby Shark” at the top of his lungs, and “We Are The Champions” was blasted through the speakers as the team again found itself jumping around an Arlington bar. Even a replica of the World Series trophy made its way into Ovechkin’s hands.

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“The song and the champagne, I don’t know, I guess we thought we were back there, too, spraying the champagne,” forward Tom Wilson said at the Capitals’ Thursday practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. “But we are really happy for them. We are excited for them to have a good couple days here — or more."

The night brought flashbacks of the Capitals’ own Stanley Cup achievements in 2018, memories that Wilson and T.J. Oshie said provided more inspiration to win another championship. Oshie praised the Nationals’ character in the clubhouse, saying he “got goose bumps” watching them through their postseason run.

“I think it is contagious,” Wilson said. “It’s addicting. You want to get back there. You see how much fun they are having, you know how much fun it was, but it is very hard and we have to put in the work. But seeing them do it definitely brings back some memories from the best times of our lives, so we are going to try to do everything we can to get back there.”

Multiple Capitals players said watching Game 7 was nerve-racking. Goaltender Braden Holtby said it was definitely harder to sit back and watch the game instead of being a participant. Holtby said watching the Nationals’ win makes him “proud to be part of the city,” and it gave him “shivers” to watch the celebration unfold.

“Holts I don’t think moved the whole night,” Wilson said. “He was just sitting in his seat, watching every pitch. It was pretty fun when they got it [done] and you definitely got that fan feeling for sure.”

Of course, having survived a 19-31 start to the season, seemingly countless elimination games and a 3-2 series deficit heading back to Houston, the Nationals face their greatest challenge: living up the standard the Capitals set for title celebrations.

Ovechkin and Co. memorably went on an epic bender after toppling the Vegas Golden Knights, beginning their celebration in Las Vegas and continuing it well after they arrived back in Washington.

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Perhaps the most iconic episode during that marathon session of revelry came at the Georgetown waterfront, where joyous Capitals frolicked in a fountain. On Twitter, both the Capitals and Oshie made sure to refer to that aquatic bacchanal. Oshie tweeted an image of a map of nearby Washington fountains.

On Thursday at Capitals practice, Oshie apologized if he “left any fountains out,” saying it was “just from Yelp” and that his phone was dying because he was texting so many people about the Nationals.

“I’m sure those guys are going to have a good time,” Oshie said. “And if they happen to jump into a fountain, I hope I get the call.

“Those guys seem like really awesome guys, awesome people. The city is going to be wild. I think the city is already wild, but you know this is just such a great sports town and they are going to feel that. They are going to feel the love from everyone. I’m sure they gained a lot of fans from this run, whether they are bandwagon fans or not.”

Asked amid the Nats’ on-field celebration in Houston about his hockey-playing counterparts, Adam Eaton made it clear he is aware of the standard set.

“Those guys partied as well as anybody could have,” he said in a slightly hoarse voice. “They set the bar really high, so we’re excited to be able to have a similar situation. Thanks to those guys for kind of paving the way for us. You know, we’ve been so close to the Capitals since I’ve been here.

“I’m just glad there’s two titles — three titles — now in D.C. Pretty doggone cool.”

Meanwhile, Oshie wasn’t the only Capitals player to tweet out his congratulations, with Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and others chiming in from the rowdy Capitals’ party that went late into the night.

“We were ready for them to win,” Wilson said. “It was a pretty cool feeling. They supported us so much and I think it’s a pretty genuine, mutual support and we are so happy for them. It is a great time to be in D.C. right now.”

The Nationals’ World Series parade is scheduled for Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. at Constitution Avenue and 15th Street. It is still unclear if any members of the Capitals will attend — they play at home Friday night and are off Saturday — but they’ll likely be happy to pitch in if the Nats want to try to incorporate the World Series trophy into a keg stand.

Oshie didn’t seem opposed to joining in on Saturday’s fun. The team has an 11:30 a.m. practice scheduled.

“I’m sure the team will find a way to get there or somewhere, whatever it is. We just got back from a long road trip so it’s nice to see the family, but they did something special,” Oshie said. “You hope they do it again, but you never know, so you want to be there to experience it. Especially the way our team got behind them and watched what they were able to do, you know you want to cap it off with a little parade and see the opposite side of it.”

Read more:

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