It wasn’t pretty, but it was a typical Pens/Caps game…but with the Caps getting the better of the Western Pennsylvania foes with Alex Ovechkin tipping in his own rebound with 1:07 left in the game to give the Caps a 4-3 win and 2-1 series lead. Not without controversy, as Tom Wilson became more of a villain for the Penguins for a borderline hit on Zach Aston-Reese. However, on the upside– goals from the blueline was big with John Carlson and Matt Niskanen putting up goals for the Caps, while Chandler Stephenson had the other goal for the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom was a true playmaker with three helpers in the game.
Sixth win of the playoffs means it’s time for a famous– if not THE famous– #6 for the Caps.
When it come to the #6, there’s only one guy to look for and it’s Calle Johansson, who’s longevity leaves him at second all-time with most games played as a Capital at 983 games. Johansson also continued the sturdy defenseman role that was left when Rod Langway retired. Having spent two seasons learning from Langway, Johansson picked up the reigns to anchor the Caps defense for 15 years.
After being acquired from Buffalo in 1989, Johansson fit right into the everyday line-up and never looked back. While there was a drop-off, Johansson was good for between five to 10 goals a year and in the mid-30s in points. A major power play contributor and key in their transition game, Johansson hit the 40-point plateau four times, while being a key part in the Capitals’ only trips past the second round in 1990 and 1998.
Calle Jo was quite sturdy, as well, with a few hiccups here and there– the most notable coming in 2001-02 when he missed the bulk of the season with a rotator cuff injury. Johansson played one more season with the Capitals after the rotator cuff injury before he retired for a time, then came back to play eight games before retiring again. Johansson’s legacy is one of an under appreciated defenseman league-wide, but was a major contributor for the Caps from the blue line and could be one of the finest two-way defensemen of his era.