WASHINGTON -- The commuter stood at the subway fare machine in his business suit, having discovered he had insufficient funds on his SmarTrip card to exit the D.C. Metro.
This was embarrassing for him, having borrowed the card from a friend, and frustrating for him, as he wanted to make sure he got to work on time.
Work in this case being Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the destination for T.J. Oshie's train ride Monday.
"I had a little mishap today," the Washington Capitals winger said.
Luckily, Metro employees recognized Oshie and led him through the turnstiles, and soon he was up the escalator and en route to the arena.
"I'm not gonna name him, but someone that [loaned] me one of their cards only had 35 cents on it. So Metro, I don't know how much that ride was, but I owe you," Oshie said.
Whose card was it?
"That's actually my fault," said Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who rode with Oshie on the Metro. "I gave him the card, and it didn't have enough funds on it. I'm a cheap-ass."
The Metro card snafu has already become the stuff of legend. Oshie was handed a card with sufficient funds by ESPN's Steve Levy during a SportsCenter appearance Monday after the Capitals defeated the Golden Knights in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
On Tuesday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced that it would create a commemorative SmarTrip card in Oshie's honor should the Capitals close out the series and win their first Stanley Cup:
Hey @tjoshie77! Congrats on an amazing win! Bring home the #StanleyCup and we're gonna make a commemorative smartrip card in your honor!— Metro (@wmata) June 5, 2018
-- ❤️ your favorite transit system#ALLCAPS @Capitals #wmata pic.twitter.com/xKFzVwJ5rC
Oshie and Niskanen also rode the Metro to Capital One Arena before Game 3.
"Nisky has done it a couple more times than me. That was actually my first one to the game. We heard it ... might be tough getting to the game," Oshie said after Game 3. "Some of the guys said it was actually the fastest they have ever gotten there, but we decided to take the train if there was going to be any traffic just to make it easier on us."
Niskanen said that when it came to peace of mind before a critical championship-round game, staying out of traffic was essential.
"I'm usually a pretty relaxed guy, but one of my pet peeves is a lot of cars. So, I thought maybe we found a loophole to beat it," he said. "Turns out the traffic wasn't that bad after all."
So Oshie and Niskanen boarded the train near their homes -- neither would pinpoint the location except to say their journeys began on the orange and silver lines in Virginia -- and rode it to the Gallery Place stop next to the arena, sitting among fans who were on their way downtown to watch them. Some of the fans were wearing T.J. Oshie sweaters.
"The fans were very excited, but were also very respectful and kind of just wished us luck along the way. The closer we got, the more fans got on, and it was cool. It was cool to see," Oshie said. "I think we actually got on some TV, or someone was doing some type of simulated Caps march and we happened to be walking right behind the march, so we might be in some type of pump-up video or something. But it was cool. It was fun."
The Capitals and their fans have an odd relationship with the Metro. It has become tradition at home games that extend late into the evening for fans to boo the public announcement that the subway closes at 11 p.m. on a Sunday or 11:30 p.m. on a weekday.
During the playoffs, different entities -- including Comcast and the government of Qatar -- have stepped up to pay for extended Metro service for Capitals fans who arrive for games via train. It costs $100,000 to keep the Metrorail system open for an additional 60 minutes past midnight.
But the railway now has an indelible place in the storybook run for this Capitals team, as Oshie and Niskanen acknowledged they might be tied to this burgeoning tradition if the series returns to Washington for Game 6.
"This team is pretty superstitious. Really superstitious. I'm sure you've noticed this," Niskanen said.
But beyond any good vibes they get from riding the train, does it help connect the players to their community in a way?
"That's not our intent. But sure, I think it does," Niskanen said. "I mean, small-town Minnesota guys are just normal dudes. We have the same problems with, say, getting enough cash on a Metro card."