Capitals 2 (OT)
Three Stars: Marc Staal, Brad Richards, Braden Holtby
If I could accurately portray in words the urge to hurl my television over a cliff after what I saw last night I would. Sadly, you'll have to be content with my just saying it.
Can you call it a collapse? I don't even know what to call what happened in the game's dying minutes. Perhaps this would best describe it all.
Six seconds. The Washington Capitals were six seconds away from being one win away from the Conference Final--a place they have been in 14 years. There's heartbreak and then there's this...right now I can't tell you which is worse because I've felt both. Well that's not true because while it seems there's no tomorrow in the playoffs, there is always next season.
Being a Capitals fan for as long as I have I've seen some playoff disasters in my time. I'm not going to go into the roll call of it here, there's no need. But let's just say Joel Ward's last minute double minor will forever go down as one of THE playoff meltdowns of all time. They say winning cures everything, so there's a chance, slim as it is, that this can all be erased and remembered fondly as another bump in the playoff road.
But I doubt it.
Looking at the game itself, at first you had to wonder if the Caps were ever in it at all. They were horribly outshot 17 to 4 in the first period alone. Not surprisingly, they found themselves trailing by a goal by period's end. I don't really have to tell what happened for the rest of the game---Brooks Laich tied it and then John Carlson put them ahead with his now patented blast from the power play point. All seemed right with the world until about 22 seconds left. That's when Joel Ward decided he wanted to be Carl Hagelin's dentist.
Then Brad Richards (you kinda knew it would be him) got that goal near the end of regulation. And it was the beginning of the end. One penalty killed. And they almost killed the other. Almost. Until Marc Staal's shot from the power play point ended it.
It's cruel when you think about it. Joel Ward was the hero in the last series and he figured to be the goat in last night's game. But those are the fortunes you deal with in hockey sometimes. You're a hero one minute and a bum the next.
Yes there's at least one game left and it's in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center. And we're still very much alive in the playoffs which means anything can happen. But you have to wonder, with all the resilience the Caps have shown--can they get past this? Will this be the last rally before the Rangers go in for the knockout blow? There's only one way to find out. And I'm not really anywhere near as confident about our chances as I was a while ago. But there's still a chance, and sometimes that's all you need.