Don’t look now but a new president may have sparked a resurgence in the Nation’s Capital in 2017. The Washington Capitals have staked a claim as the best team in NHL. However, the Caps have been in this position before during the regular season. It’s the playoffs where everything seems to go wrong.
We may be harping on the same sour subject for Washington Capitals fans but you can sense the hunger the players have this year. It sort of reminds me a lot of how the Chicago Blackhawks were built off failure. Their nemesis was the Quarter Finals. Until they could overcome their issue there, only then did they become a powerhouse. The same lies for the Caps. In 2014 they were favorites and the same expectations were given in 2015 however, they ran into teams that were just as explosive.
New year, same problems? No.
Alex Ovechkin is still dangerous as ever but teams can no longer isolate his scoring ability and expect the Caps to fold under pressure. The team is loaded with weapons such as the dynamic Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov but it’s more a balanced attack that has the Caps thinking Stanley Cup. Failure is supposed to build character and the Caps have plenty of it.
What they do from here on out till the end of the regular season means nothing. The Caps should have one focus, revenge on their minds. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers will be there waiting as they are the last two teams to put them out but there is that sense of mission that has these Caps ready for what’s ahead.
In the playoffs, records are reset, teams are all 0-0 and this suits Ovechkin just fine. 4-2 has been their trademark the last two seasons in both series wins and defeats.
If Braden Holtby can somehow forget his playoff experiences and continue his stellar play that he has this season, then the Cup will have a new home. Scoring for the Caps is a given, it’s the defense that must be shored up. For his career, Holtby has surrendered 90 goals in 46 playoff games. However, the 2016-17 season has been one of redemption. I understand that it’s two separate occasions but it goes back to the hunger I spoke of earlier. 94 goals in 50 games with eight shutouts. Yes, it’s safe to say he’s preparing himself for one heck of a comeback.
The Caps are ready to remove that cloud over their heads and that should have the rest of the league worried.