The Washington Capitals figured that if hockey’s equivalent to the Super Bowl was the Winter Classic, there should be an event similar to the Puppy Bowl as well. That’s where the Caps Canines puppy playoffs come in.
The Washington Capitals’ Caps Canines Puppy Playoffs are roughly equivalent to Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, with the first contest taking place on YouTube before the actual Stanley Cup playoffs began last week.
Held at one of the three Olde Towne Pet Resort locations – in either Dulles or Springfield, Virginia, or North Bethesda, Maryland – the puppy playoffs saw an intralitter matchup as ten puppies from Homeward Trail Animal Rescue faced off on the ice for the Stanley Pup Cup.
Washington broadcasters John Walton and Craig Laughlin called the game, which featured the Red team facing off against the Blue team.
The rink was packed with human and canine hockey fans, as well as the Capitals Spirit Squad.
For the Blue team, their roster featured skaters Mutt Niskanen, Nicholas Barkstrom, Lars Yeller, Dmitry Furlov and goalie Braden Howltby.
The Red team’s roster featured skaters Alex Ofetchkin, PB (Peanut Butter) Oshie, Evgeny Furznetsov, Barks Oprik and goalie Phoenix Puppley.
Like the Puppy Bowl, the rules are fairly loose – any pucks, toys or bones in the net equals a goal, and there are only two periods instead of the more typical three.
Ofetchkin lived up to his namesake, charging past Furznetsov to score the first goal of the game, putting Red up 1-0. But Blue’s Yeller then got past Ofetchkin to tie it up at a goal apiece.
Unhappy, Ofetchkin then was sent to the penalty box for biting, though his team was able to kill off the pawer play. The action continued as Oshie stole Howltby’s mask and dashed off several goals, but they were called off due to goalie interfurrence.
The penalties continued as Ofetchkin was called for ruffing at the same time Barkstrom was called for biting.
In the second period, Ofetchkin found the net again to give Red the 2-1 advantage, but then Barkstrom spin away from two defenders to tie it again.
Puppley put Red ahead with their team’s third goal, only to have Blue answer back when Furlov muscled his way through the crease.
In the game’s final minute, Furznetsov dashed up the middle on a breakaway to give Red the 4-3 edge, Blue’s Niskanen was sent to the penalty box for chewing on the goalpost.
Once he got out, Niskanen took advantage of a napping Puppley to retie the game yet again, while Furznetsov was called for ruffing after removing his Red teammate Orpik’s bandanna.
After several near-misses were exchanged, Furznetzov got a breakaway and stuffed the toy cleanly into the net for the winning goal, as the Red team triumphed in the first-ever Caps Canines Puppy Playoffs by a 5-4 score.
Winning Third Star honors was Blue’s Nicholas Barkstrom, Second Star went to Red’s Alex Ofetchkin, and First Star of the Game went to Red’s Evgeny Furznetzov.
In real life hockey action, the Capitals are leading the Carolina Hurricanes two games to one in their best-of-seven first-round matchup.
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