If you’re walking in Arlington this week, keep your eyes peeled; you never know which D.C. playoff hero you might encounter while waiting to cross the street. Jason Oringher was on his way to meet up with some friends in Clarendon after work last Tuesday when he saw Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nathan Walker walking together.
“I did a double-take because I probably watched the video of Kuzy’s goal about 100 times during the day,” Oringher, a 23-year-old Rockville native said of Kuznetsov’s overtime winner against the Penguins the night before, which advanced the Capitals to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 20 years.
Oringher said he was a little nervous to approach Kuznetsov and Walker at first, but he ultimately summoned the courage to ask the teammates for a photo.
“They were as nice as possible,” said Oringher, who tweeted a selfie with Kuznetsov that was retweeted and favorited so often Oringher had to turn off his notifications.
Could Kuznetsov possibly look any happier? That’s the glowing face of a man who not 24 hours earlier scored one of the biggest goals in Capitals history and, just a few seconds earlier, watched Oringher struggle and fail to fit the 5-foot-9 Walker in the frame. Kuznetsov is 6-2.
“Being in the middle and trying to get the three of us in the shot was kind of difficult,” Oringher said. “I started cracking up and made a joke about needing longer arms to take the selfie. That’s when Nathan said, ‘I need longer legs.’ That’s why Kuzy looks so happy in the picture.”
Oringher took a second selfie with Walker, who became the first Australian to score a point in an NHL playoff game with his assist on Alex Chiasson’s goal to open the scoring in Game 6.
Oringher watched Game 6 at his apartment in Arlington and said Kuznetsov’s overtime goal to beat the Penguins ranks among the greatest sports moments of his life.
“The only one I would compare it to was Werth’s homer in Game 4 [of the 2012 NLDS],” Oringher said. “I was at that game and it was definitely the greatest feeling I had at a game.”
Being a D.C. sports fan, Oringher has also experienced plenty of postseason disappointment in person. In addition to last year’s Game 7 loss to the Penguins, he attended all three of the Nationals’ losses in Game 5 of the NLDS, which fell on or one day before his birthday. Last week wasn’t his first chance encounter with a D.C. sports star. Two years ago, while on a trip to Chicago to see the Nationals play the Cubs, Oringher bumped into Bryce Harper after leaving the Under Armour store.