On Sunday, Brad Gould and Joe Rogers took the ultimate leap of faith.
Early in the morning they jumped in the car and set out from Ellicott City, Md., to New York, but not before placing a bid on eBay for two tickets right behind the glass to see the Caps take on the Rangers in Game 3 at the Garden.
For the two friends, it wasn’t such a leap of faith, but a sure thing.
“It wasn’t a question of whether we would get the tickets,” explained Brad. “We were going to win that auction. The question was at what price.”
That price was $400 a ticket to sit on the glass directly behind the goal. In just the few short minutes we spent sitting with them, we can confirm that it was well worth the price.
If there was a question as to whose house it was, the blue and white party busses cruising down 7th Avenue with hundreds of Rangers fans hanging out the window chanting, "Let's Go Rangers!" made it quite clear. But that didn’t stop other faithful Caps fans from making their presence known.
Jim and Mary Boomgard of Bethesda, Md., got off the train from D.C. minutes before the gates opened. Caps fans for 10 years, they traveled solely for the game and planned on heading home right after.
Nearby we found 10-year-old fan Daniel Petrenko standing in line at the gate with his parents, jumping around nervously. The excitement of seeing his favorite player, Alex Semin, was almost too much to bear and certainly worth the long drive from Bristow, Va.
Not all members of the Red Nation we talked to hailed from the DMV. Buddies Tommy Rhodes and Jack Crowley took the train from nearby Mendham, N.J., to help cheer on Ovi and crew.
“My first ever hockey game was a Caps game, and I’ve loved them ever since,” said Tommy. “I love being a Caps fan.”
“I wasn’t a Capitals fan before, but Tommy really got me into them,” explained Jack. “Now I really like them.”
We ran into another pair of buddies, David Block and Dave Tabachnik, whose friendship has stood up against even the toughest conditions.
Dave is a Rangers fan.
“This is the first time in two days we’ve been on speaking terms,” jokes David, who grew up in Olney.
The two went to college together, and look forward to the rivalry the series will bring.
“We’re going to be chanting ‘1994’ for a long, long time,” predicted David.
Caps fan Brian Kettmer and Rangers fan Evan Richards also share a similar dynamic, although their secret to making it work is a little different.
“I bought the tickets, that’s how we make it work,” deadpanned Evan.
We think that almost makes up for being a Rangers fan.