Capital Loss

The Washington Capitals were the number one seed in this year’s NHL playoffs.  They were 54-14-13 with 121 points, securing the best record in the NHL and the President’s Trophy, awarded to the best team in the league.  Alexander Ovechkin was nominated for the league’s MVP award and has won the honor the previous two years.

Unfortunately, that means nothing when it comes to playoffs in the Spring.  The Capitals were upset this year by the Montreal Canadiens in seven games.  The Caps had a 3-1 series lead and failed to close out the series in three consecutive games, allowing the Canadiens to embarrass the best team in the league on their home ice.

The Capitals are now known as the best team in the regular season, but a team that cannot get it done in the postseason.  Since Bruce Boudreau became the head coach during the 2007-2008 season, the Capitals have won the Southeast Division all three years, and have made the playoffs each season.  In 2008, they were eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers in a heartbreaking seven game series.  In 2009, they were down 3 games to 1 against the New York Rangers but eventually came back in thrilling fashion to win the series 4-3.  They moved on and played the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The series was the most thrilling in recent years as the two teams traded games and the Alex Ovechkin-Sidney Crosby Rivalry reached an all time high.  However, in game 7, the Capitals failed to rise to the challenge losing spectacularly 6-2 on home ice. Then, this year the Caps were the best team in the league, and was picked as Stanley Cup favorites.  However, they lost again in a game 7, this time to a much inferior 8th seeded Canadien team.

There are many out there wondering if Boudreau and Ovechkin can get the job done in the playoffs.  One of my friends who is from Pittsburgh graciously told me this joke time after time after the Caps loss: “A guy walks into a bar and says ‘I’ll have an Ovechkin.’  the bartender says, ‘what’s that?’  The man replies, ‘It’s a white Russian without the Cup.'”

While many will blame the coach and captain, it should be noted that during the playoffs a superior goalie is more valuable to the team than offense.  That is exactly what the Canadiens have and that is exactly what the Capitals lack.


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