Somehow, the Washington Capitals had an eight-game losing streak in the middle of the season and got shutout about a dozen times, yet still finished first in the Eastern Conference. The post-trade deadline surge and a Philadelphia Flyers slump is the recent reasons. The Caps are an odd team, but one that changed from a “we set the agenda and the agenda is outscoring everyone else, never mind the defense” to “It’s a trap!” when it comes to the neutral zone. The result, lots of one goal wins of late. So, congratulations to Bruce Boudreau for going against his own style and implementing the system that is in theory better set up for playoff hockey. Oh and credit goes to Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the team for going along with it. Maybe even more credit goes to GM George McPhee for bringing in Jason Arnott at the deadline to center the second line and act as a BS detector (with a hair trigger) in the locker room.
Of course, all of these backslaps I am giving our Nation’s Capitals don’t mean a thing if they don’t take care of business over the next two weeks. The 8th-seeded New York Rangers gave the Caps all they could handle two years ago, forcing a game 7 that was tied at 1 late. The Blueshirts don’t have superstars other than goalie Henrik Lundqvist, but they are gritty and quite possibly dirty. That superstar goalie gives the Rags a solid shot at pulling the upset. I don’t think they will though, I’m taking the Caps in six.
Wednesday, April 13 at Washington, 7:30 p.m. CSN (local) TSN (Canada), VERSUS (joined in progres, nationally)
Friday, April 15 at Washington, 7:30 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
Sunday, April 17 at New York, 3:00 p.m. NBC (HD), TSN
Wednesday, April 20 at New York, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
*Saturday, April 23 at Washington, 3:00 p.m. TSN, NBC (HD)
*Monday, April 25 at New York, TBD TSN
*Wednesday, April 27 at Washington, TBD TSN