So much nonsense happened between them on Wednesday that you could have fooled anyone into thinking it was a Game 7. And we should have seen it coming. It was the logical result of the league's most respected, talented team running headlong into the league's hottest, scrappiest bunch of playoff hopefuls who don't give a damn about a Presidents' Trophy.
It was fun.
Steve Mason rose to the level of his counterpart and likely Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby. And when it became clear that goals would be hard to come by, the frustration gave way to nastiness.
You know, like finding out what happens when you mix a Ghost Bear with a Chimera.
Chimera on Gostisbehere pic.twitter.com/jYfSlCiW15— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 31, 2016
Turns out, that leads to more bad things.
god this game is a trainwreck pic.twitter.com/nzdVQvFqkc— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 31, 2016
But scrums and physical disagreements are only one part of a terrific playoff series. You need excellent hockey and drama, as well, and the Flyers and Capitals brought plenty.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin combined for one of the prettier "awesome pass and even better goal" combos you'll see.
a very Ovechkin goal pic.twitter.com/WzzmC2aBUq— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 31, 2016
Throw in Brayden Schenn's late game-tying goal, a killed off 4-on-3 overtime power play and Steve Mason's shootout heroics and you have a recipe for one of the best potential playoff series we'll get this spring.
So, flood Gary's inbox.
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3 things we learned
1. Concussions remained at the forefront of hockey well into the night
We spent the day reading nearly 300 emails from the NHL about concussions and how it wants to keep illegal hits to the head out of the game. And then an OHL player goes and does this.
Knowing the OHL's level of tolerance for these plays, Max Jones might be done for the rest of the playoffs. If it were an NHL player, is it so hard to believe he'd only miss a few games?
2. No, they aren't
Flames? Are you okay? pic.twitter.com/TtcGsXxz1R— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) March 31, 2016
3. Seriously, though, Steve Mason can flash the glove
I know we just linked to it above, but you should watch Mason track Kuznetsov's shootout move all the way into his glove over and over. It's beautiful.
Steve Mason my god pic.twitter.com/sDXYZpHLrn— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 31, 2016
Dustin Byfuglien hits like a freight train. You probably already knew this, but you got confirmation Wednesday when he barreled into Mark Stone and sent the Senators forward to the hospital.
Stat of the Night