The question has to be asked.
As a life long Washington Capitals fan, I have to say this team frustrates me as much or more than my beloved Washington Redskins. The Washington Capitals always seem to be a regular season team that just can not win in the playoffs. For thirty years the Caps have always failed to live up to expectations when it mattered most. The past years have been disappointing, but I think last night’s loss takes the cake. Losing 5-0 on home ice in front of your own fans is just pitiful. Especially after the fact that you bring up the blown 2-0 series lead.
The New York Ranger fans who attended the game at the Verizon Center last night heckled Braden Holtby early in the third period, which was flat out embarrassing. It was just the final punch in the gut to Holtby and the Capitals, their tribute to the Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who shut down the Capitals for most of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series’ seven games.
The Capitals took an early 2-0 series lead vs the New York Rangers, winning two close games at home. The Rangers then returned the favor holding serve on their home ice. After trading victories, the teams went into Verizon Center for another game 7 showdown. The Rangers showed up for last nights game, and frankly, the Capitals did not, losing 5-0 in Game 7 on home ice. This was just the latest chapter in the book of soul-crushing Capitals postseason collapses.
Holtby said it right when he said that the team did not put in the effort last night.
Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals starting left wing was basically non-existent during the series. He only managed two points, one goal and one assist. Ovechkin had a scoreless drought if 410-plus minutes, which was the longest of this season for him. Ovi played physically in last nights loss but still, he was held without a goal since scoring in the second period of Game 1 and that just is not acceptable for a player of his stature.
Back in February, the Capitals sat in last place in the conference and it didn’t look like Washington would get the opportunity to make the playoffs this year. Ovechkin went on a second half tear though on his way to leading the NHL in goals, which helped propel the Capitals on a late-season run that included an eight-game win streak and a Southeast Division Championship.
The sad part is that historically speaking the Capitals are more likely to lose a series than win it after opening 2-0.
This was the ninth time in Washington Capitals franchise history that they blew a two-game series lead.
As disconcerting as blowing two-game series leads is, the next stat might be even worse. Game 7 losses are becoming a sad regularity with this current group of Capitals. Since Ovechkin joined the team in 2005, the Capitals are 2-5 in Game 7s.
Legacies are made or broken in historic game 7s. The blown series leads and forgettable game seven showings point to the Ovechkin led Capitals teams as being a forgettable team that could only win consistently in the regular season.
So the question has to be asked: Will the Caps ever win a Stanley Cup?
It is starting to look more and more like this current regime won’t be able to get the job done.