Balls. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
It’s been awhile since you’ve added a tally to your wins list, eh?
The Washington Capitals hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning to another night of hockey in the old Verizon Center barn. And it pretty much went just like the first one.
During a late first-period powerplay, Vincent Lecavalier deflated the crowd with a high dart to the back of the net. Brooks Laich crashed the net to tie it up, but Martin St. Louis’s deflection off Mike Green’s skate gave Tampa a 2-1 lead. With Neuvirth pulled, the Capitals fought the Battle of Roloson’s Crease to victory– with Captain Alex Ovechkin pitching in the puck from zero distance. In the biggest overtime of the season, the Caps started strong. But Teddy Purcell fed Vinny Lecavalier a puck right in front of Michal Neuvirth. Game over. Bolts beat Caps 3-2 (OT), but here’s the real kick in the teeth:
Bolts lead the series 2-0.
There’s a bunch of dire stats about how often teams with 2-0 leads win series. You’ve probably seen them; we’re not gonna repeat them. Here’s the truth: the Caps need to take both games in Tampa or else they’re just prolonging the inevitable.
It looks grim. The Lightning’s victories have been thanks to strategic superiority, or at least a superior effort in sticking to the coach’s strategy. The Capitals stars disappear for long stretches.
But they’ve still got heroes on the ice. Check out those wizardly shifts by Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, and Marco Sturm. No players rendered Roloson dyspeptic better than the “energy” line. If the rest of the squad can play with the same offensive fervor that this trio has, there is still hope.
So here’s the party line: just come back to us, boys. Steal one or two games on the road, and come back to Washington in style. No one said the road to the Cup was gonna be easy, and now they need to prove their mettle. In Florida. Which is America’s dong.
Still believe. Go Caps. Eff terrorists.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland and Neil Greenberg.
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