USA Today Images

Caps Headed To Final

They did it.

May 24, 2018 - 10:42 am

The Washington Capitals did the damn thing. They did it. It wasn’t easy, because there was no way that the Washington Capitals would make it easy, but after being counted out so many times in this postseason, they are on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.  

They lost the first two games of the first round at home to the Blue Jackets. They were down 0-2 going to Columbus and not only did it look like they weren’t going to reach the Stanley Cup Final, it didn’t even look like they were going to make it out of mid-April. Head coach Barry Trotz would likely be gone and they’d have to take a long hard look at their roster. 

But then they won Game 3 of that series in Columbus in overtime. And then ran off three more in a row. From down 0-2 to winning in 6. The Caps had momentum! And then they blew it in Game 1 of the Pittsburgh series by squandering a late lead. But they battled back to beat their playoff nemesis in 4 of the next five games. 

Then they steamrolled Tampa in the first two games of the Conference Finals and it looked like this team was finally on its way. They were making it look easy. But nothing for the Caps is ever easy. So they lost the next three games and were hanging by a thread going into Game 6. And all they did was win Game 6 3-0, setting up last night’s Game 7 in Tampa. 

When, be honest with me Caps fans, you were expecting them to no-show. You were expecting them to bring you this close, to within 60 minutes of a look at the Cup, and then fall apart. But they didn’t. Not only did they not fall apart, they came out on fire. 

62 seconds into the game and Alex Ovehchkin did this.

Holy crap. That is how you start a Game 7 on the road. With Tom Wilson decking a fool and Ovechkin lighting the lamp. That is Capitals hockey right now. Beat the crap out of you and then score on you. 

And if you didn’t know that was the plan, then your name is Braydon Coburn. Because after Coburn and Wilson were sent to the box for two minutes each in the first period. And as soon as their time was up, they came right out, dropped the gloves, and went right back at it. 

That was the kind of fight that you don’t see very often in the playoffs, especially in a Game 7, but you know Wilson wasn’t going to back down. And he wasn’t going to lose.

If Coburn was looking to get his team fired up, that backfired. Because he got his face mashed. And the Caps kept on rolling. Two more goals in the second to go up 3-0 and by that point, the only suspense was what would be the final score and whether Ovechkin would touch the Prince of Wales trophy. 

Final score: 4-0

And like that, you can write the Washington Capitals into the Stanley Cup Final and you can erase all your thoughts about “same old Caps.” Because this Caps crew had chance after chance after chance to “Same old Caps” it and they didn’t. They didn’t fold. They didn’t give up. And Barry Trotz pushed all the right buttons. An absolutely masterful job. 

And as for the trophy, not only did Ovechkin touch it, he picked it up, spun around, and then the whole team posed with it. 

And now we get Ovi v. Fleury. And now you can all come up with your wacky jokes about Stanley Cup Final that has in one corner: a city built on sex, money, corruption, greed and scandal. And in the other corner: Las Vegas. HEYYYYYYYOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Get those lame zingers out now because once this series starts, nobody’s going to be interested. Actually, they’re not interested now, but at least it makes you feel good.  

Vegas v. Washington. I mean, who could’ve predicted this. Well, actually, one guy did. Las Vegas native and Washington resident Bryce Harper, who tweeted weeks ago: 

Could you imagine a Golden Knights vs. Capitals Stanley Cup? #Epic

We couldn’t have imagined it then, Bryce, but we’re about to live it now. And it will be hashtag epic.