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In what the Post this morning says “will likely go down as one of the best playoff games in Capitals franchise history,” D.C.’s scrappy hockey team went up 2 games to none in their playoff series against Pittsburgh. That means they’ve won their last five playoff games, their longest post-season streak to date. It took the Verizon Center staff three minutes to clear the ice of another sort of caps—-the hats kept coming after Alex Ovechkin‘s third goal of the night, his first hat trick in in the playoffs. The Pens’ Crosby got one of those, too (and a lone hat thrown onto the ice), but in this chapter of the “showdown for the ages,” Sidney went home a loser. Final score: 4-3. Money quote from Ovechkin: “If I was a Capitals fan, I’d be really happy right now.”

Crosby, of course, not a Caps fan. What a player. But what a whiner. Last night it was about the hats: “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop,” Crosby said of the fans. “I mean, the first wave came, and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming.” Earlier this season, he piled on the chastisement for Ovechkin’s 50-goal celebration/failed joke. And even this pro-Pens blog thinks Crosby’s bellyaching about a hit he took from Ovechkin in January is just a bit much. But trust a CBCer for a measured response: Let’s not debate who’s a better player. Let’s like them both! Whatever, Elliotte Friedman with your extra letters in your name.

The must-read, as McKenna pointed out in this space yesterday, is Mike Wise‘s A1 Sunday profile on Caps enforcer Donald Brashear. Does his sad life excuse breaking a guy’s orbital bone? No. But is it sad? Oof.

Lest one think Ovechkin and Brashear are the only Caps worth writing about, Canada’s National Post has a rundown on the rationale to give goaltender Simeon Varlamov his shot after Jose Theodore‘s implosion. Seems like a no-brainer now, but Bruce Boudreau says he “lost hair” over the decision. Who knew hockey coaches could be so funny? But can you sportswriter-types please stop writing about how to pronounce Varlamov’s name? Yeah, we get it. Sim-YON Var-LAHM-ov.

Game 3’s in Pittsburgh tomorrow. The Philadelphia Inquirer says, “historians of the Pittsburgh-Washington rivalry will say the Penguins have the Capitals right where they want them.”

Flickr photo by Wyfurasko.