In the Alex Ovechkin era, this is the sixth game in which the team was up by at least two games in a playoff series. Out of those six, the Caps have only won once.
While those stats may be concerning, this Capitals team is different….very different. Which is why anything but a Stanley Cup win is unacceptable, and why these two straight losses is concerning.
Friday night’s loss was certainly not because the team didn’t try: the Capitals outshot Philly 44-11 and had many good scoring chances. The reason: phenomenal goaltending by former Capital Michal Neuvirth and a lucky deflection for the Flyers off the skate of Capitals defenseman Taylor Chorney. The Capitals did give the Flyers multiple power plays, including some careless infractions by veterans Justin Williams and Jason Chimera. But the Capitals had this series all-but locked up and two straight losses have many fans concerned; in part because of the team’s infamous first round collapse in 2010, when they finished the regular season with 121 points and 54 wins, only to be eliminated by the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens.
This year’s team finished with a franchise-best 56 wins, 120 points, and a Metropolitan Division championship. The team solidified their place as the odds-on Stanley Cup favorites by many, which is why another postseason collapse is simply not acceptable. Ovechkin is now 30-years old and the window for winning a Stanley Cup is closing even more. If the Caps want to prove any doubters wrong, they will have to advance past the second round and ultimately capture the Cup.
By Michael Fleetwood