- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

District commuter and world-class hockey player T.J. Oshie had a problem Monday that a lot of Metro riders can relate to: his fare card only had 35 cents left on it. 

Luckily for him — he had to get to work at Capital One Arena later that night, after all — Metro workers at Gallery Place cut him a break: they let Oshie pass through for free.

“Metro, I’m not sure exactly how much that ride was, but I owe ya,” said Oshie, who has now taken the train to two straight games after admitting he had never ridden Metro previously. 

Probably not something the 31-year-old Capitals forward needs to worry about.

After Monday night’s heroics in his team’s 6-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, there are thousands of Capitals fans and fellow Metro riders who’d jump at the chance to pay Oshie’s fare.

If the Capitals go on to clinch the Stanley Cup — they’re one win away — he may not have to pay to climb on a train in the District ever again. 

Oshie, who scored the Capitals’ first goal in Monday’s win, has been an essential part of the team’s playoff run, scoring eight goals and recording 13 assists.

It’s precisely the kind of production the team hoped for after signing him to an eight-year, $46 million deal last offseason to remain with the Capitals.

“He never quits on pucks,” teammate Brett Connolly said. “His second efforts are one of the best I’ve ever seen. He’s so good at stripping pucks. He just competes and that’s why he’s so good. He’s obviously got a ton of skill, but he works for his chances, those second efforts. He really led the way tonight.”

Oshie’s effort was apparent on his goal, which came 9:54 into the first period on a power play. He crashed the net as Evgeny Kuznetsov fired a puck at Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, putting himself in perfect position for the rebound.

But it took an exceptional amount of skill for Oshie to not lose the puck.

The Capitals winger used his skate to kick the puck right to his stick and then shot on a wide-open net.

Asked how he mastered that ability, Oshie wasn’t sure, guessing his days “in the backyard” were a factor.

“Rollerblades, stickhandling through the leaves, maybe,” Oshie said. “I don’t know. It’s just something I sometimes find ways to do. Half the time, I don’t even know what’s going on and it just ends up on my stick. … I played soccer before the last two games, so maybe that’s helped me.”

Elsewhere, Oshie made an impact — racking up two secondary assists, each coming on a power play. He also won four of his five faceoffs.

Oshie is willing to dish out big hits, breaking the nose of Vegas defenseman Colin Miller with a check in the third period. The Golden Knights didn’t appreciate the hit and drew Oshie into a confrontation that resulted in the Capitals forward receiving a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

Vegas forward Ryan Reaves and defenseman Deryk Engelland also were given 10-minute conduct penalties for the incident.

Oshie said he’s just trying to do his job and “make whatever difference I can.”

“From shift-to-shift, I just want to go out there and, whatever the task is at hand, get the job done,” Oshie said. “I don’t think you ever hope someone has a broken nose or a broken bone, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. … You kind of have to battle for it.”

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