There’s no way the Capitals make it easy for themselves. With all three of their games going to extra time, which they had lost two of them– the Caps finally got some “puck luck” in their win over the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 thanks to Lars Eller being in the right place at the right time. A wild puck thrown at the net bounced off Eller, than Zach Werenski, then Eller again to give the Caps their first win. They are down in the series two games to one, however.
But– now we get to the gimmick for this playoffs to honor Capitals of the past and their jersey number with each Caps win. You have to start at #1.
There are a lot of goalies who could have gotten this slot– Pete Peeters, Semyon Varlamov, Rastislav Stana– but the guy who gets this slot is the guy who help lead the Caps past the second round of the playoffs for the first time. That man is Mike Liut.
Of course, the reason Liut was acquired in the 1989-90 season was simple in that the Caps needed a better back-up goaltending option than they had. Bob Mason wasn’t cutting it and the other options of Jim Hrivnak and Olaf Kolzig were too young in the eyes of the Caps. So, the Caps got rid of Yvon Corriveau (who only had 15 points in 50 games) to get the former NHLPA MVP winner.
It would prove to be a good move because he would be thrown into the fray after Don Beaupre went down in Game Three of the second round and was able to shake off a rough start to his playoffs to help the Caps get past the Rangers and onto the Conference Finals…though they got swept by the Bruins.
Liut would come back for the next two season with the Caps, going an even 23-23-5 in those last two seasons before calling it a career and going into a life as a player agent. He may not have been in Landover for a long time, but he was there for a decent time in the history of the Caps playoff history.