WASHINGTON – What is it about Washington sports teams?
It doesn’t matter the team, the arena, the players, the coaches.
I truly hate to say this, but they all gag in the playoffs.
Each has done it in their own unique, frustrating and crushing way.
In just the past year alone, we have seen the Nationals blow a six-run lead in the decisive game and the Redskins unable to hold on to a 14-point advantage and then lose their star quarterback.
However, those are just one-game disappointments for the Nats and ‘Skins.
The Capitals have made playoff failure an art form.
Over the past 30 years they have blown 2-0 and 3-1 series leads nine times, lost in overtime, double-overtime, triple-overtime and quadruple-overtime. They have seen their own superstars disappear and journeymen goaltenders have career games against them.
Ten times in team history, the Capitals have jumped out to a two-games-to-none lead only to lose that series six times.
All-time, they are just 3-9 in Game 7s.
Starting in 2008 – the current Alex Ovechkin era – the Caps are 2-5 in the decisive game. That includes going 1-4 at home.
What’s the point of busting your butt to gain home-ice advantage if you don’t take advantage of it?!!
The Capitals don’t show up when you would most expect them to show up.
How do you explain in 2009 getting blown out by the Penguins 6-2 in Game 7, or the next year dropping games 5 AND 7 to the Montreal Canadians, and laying an egg to the Rangers this time to the tune of 5-0?
ALL those games were played at Verizon Center.
New York usually doesn’t score five goals in a week. In fact, they had a total of just two the previous three trips to DC.
This is the third-time in six-years the Capitals have been knocked out of the first-round. They haven’t gotten past the second since their one-and-only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals 15 years ago.
Defenseman Mike Green and many other Capitals players felt this was the best- rounded, deepest team they’ve had in their six-straight trips to the playoffs.
And yet, it’s the same old song and dance.
You could almost explain a one-goal loss to an unlucky bounce, a hot goaltender, or a bad penalty call. That’s already happened to the Capitals.
But, no one saw a 5-0 spanking coming.
Are the Caps cursed or fundamentally flawed? I don’t want to believe the first and don’t believe the second.
What this current team needs is a killer instinct.
When you have a team down, take them out. No way should the Rangers have come back in this series. How could the Capitals go 0-for-3 in New York?
And, certainly there’s no way the Rangers win two games in two nights in two different buildings, both by shutouts. Well, by doing so, they manage to get the first road Game 7 victory in their 87-year history.
Otherwise, I thought the Capitals had a very good chance to go far in these playoffs.
Top-seed Pittsburgh had its porous goaltending and defense exposed in a tough series with the Islanders and Boston needed a frantic finish to get past Toronto in seven games.
Washington can definitely compete with the Bruins and Penguins.
But, we’ll never know for sure. Because, with the Capitals, it’s always wait till next year.