WASHINGTON, D.C. – Imitation, they say, is the highest form of flattery.
As it grew more apparent that the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals were destined to meet in the Stanley Cup Final, Jonathan Marchessault began mimicking one of Alex Ovechkin’s morning skate routines.
The infamous hot lap — popularized by Ovechkin and reaching peak fun with coach Barry Trotz — has sprung a new Capitals road tradition this post-season.
Now the other guys are doing it, too.
Marchessault spun a hot lap around Capital One Arena Saturday in advance of Game 3 at the Knights’ morning skate.
"I saw Ovi doing it against Tampa, and the next day I did it in Winnipeg, Game 2," Marchessault explained. Vegas won that game, that series, and haven’t lost away from Nevada since.
"I’ve done it Game 2 in Winnipeg, Game 5 in Winnipeg, and I’ve done it yesterday. You can check it out in Winnipeg, it’s the same thing. Guys liked it. So, we’ll keep it going on the road."
It’s a copycat league. (And judging by reaction to this news on Twitter, Caps fans are none too flattered.)
The hot lap binds the playoffs’ best two road squads.
For all the hype over the Golden Knights’ home-ice advantage, Vegas is 6-2 away from T-Mobile. The Capitals are a pedestrian 4-5 at home, and Capital One has taken criticism for going quiet when the local boys fall behind early.
Marchessault believes the Knights underperformed through the final’s first two games and expects a, um, hotter performance Saturday.
"We’re lucky enough to be 1-1 in this series," he said. "Every night it’s just one or two lines that show up. Like our line last game, we weren’t there. I think that’s not good for our group. We definitely need better from everybody.”
But, Marchessault, you alone fired
“I don’t even recall having a good shot on net out of the nine. I don’t care how many shots I take, I just want to take quality shots and definitely they weren’t quality shots," said Marchessault, citing a need for an improved neutral-zone plan.
"That’s the only thing we’ve got to come back to — play our game, be good in the neutral zone managing the puck well. If we do that tonight, we’re going to win.”
Hot take. Lap it up.