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It’s Officially Washington’s Time

Vegas no longer looks like the team of destiny. The Caps do.

June 05, 2018 - 9:27 am

Despite what Braden Holtby said after Game 2, his save with two minutes left in Game 2 was big. It was big then and it is even bigger now. Because in the two games plus two minutes since then, the Washington Capitals have been a juggernaut. And in the two games plus two minutes since then, the Vegas Golden Knights have not been the Vegas Golden Knights.

And there was no greater example of that than James Neal having a wide open net in the first period and then this happening.

Give him that look 100 times and he buries it 100 times. But somehow, that one didn’t go in, when Vegas needed it to go in worse than they ever have. Not just because they were down 2-1 in the series, or because they were on the road, but because suddenly, these guys just can’t find the back of the net. 

And not only did it not go in, it hit the opposite post. Unreal. Afterwards, Neal said: "It probably changes the game. It's probably a different game after that I had a wide-open net, and then I just hit the post."

No probably about it. It is a completely different game if they come out 1-0 in the first few minutes on the road in a must-win game. And if they find a way to score there, get one past Holtby and the whole game has a different feeling and a different vibe. Then your offense gets into a flow, confidence starts pumping, and everything changes. And if it’s a different game if that goes in, then it’s probably a different series. But it didn’t.  And suddenly nothing will. Because the Caps are outplaying the Golden Knights and they’re out-lucking them. Vegas has hit the post 7 times in the last two games alone. 

And as always, if you don’t cash in your opportunities at one end, your opponent will do it at the other. And the Washington Capitals did just that.

BAM. BAM. BAM. Three goals in less than ten minutes and instead of being up 1-0, the Golden Knights were suddenly down 3-0. 

Then John Carlson tacked on a fourth in the second period. And it got so bad at one point that the Golden Knights twitter account posted:

Yo hockey gods, we do something to upset you or what?

And then Vegas scored and @goldenknights tweeted: HEY HEY WE GOT ONE!

And then they scored again and @goldenknight was at it again: 4-2 comeback time

But Washington scored 73 seconds later to make it 5-2 and that was the game. And then came the chant. The chant that Caps fans have been looking to break out for years and have never had a chance, until now. “WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!” That’s how good Caps fans are feeling. 

Doc Emrick talked about it on the show yesterday, Capitals fans are feeling it. In the past, they’ve always been prepared for the worst to happen, because it usually does. But they aren’t now. They have a ton of confidence, because their team has a ton of confidence.  And they have that confidence because they’re the better team right now. And they’re getting all the breaks and bounces while Vegas is getting none at all. Again, if Neal doesn’t miss that open net to start the game, we could beat looking at a totally different game. And if we are, we’re looking at a totally different series. But instead of possibly tying the series at 2 games apiece, they’re now facing elimination down 3-1. And while I did say yesterday, there are no true locks in sports; you go up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, you’re essentially a lock. The last 31 teams to do that went on to finish and cash it in. And it looks like the Caps will too because Marc-Andre Fleury suddenly looks mortal between the pipes. Nor are the guys in front of him giving him much help either.

Look, I love the Golden Knights. I think they’re one of the best stories ever. I could even argue you go ahead and throw dirt on these guys, but I can’t.

Sure it looks bad, but remember, these guys should have never even been here in the first place. I could also point out that everyone left them for dead after Winnipeg smacked them in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. And we all know what happened then; they ripped off four straight to advance.

No, it doesn’t look good. In fact, it looks horrible. But this crew is different. Not dead, can’t quit. NOT DEAD. CAN’T QUIT. 

And I can’t officially bury these guys until they are dead. I could easily make that argument. I could make that argument but I’m not going to. Because the fact is, they just look like they’ve lost that premium fuel and juice they were running on. They’ve lost that swag. Fact is, they no longer look like the team of destiny. The Caps do. And while choking away a 3-1 lead it the final would be the most Caps things ever, it says here, that’s just not going to happen. This is a different crew. And it’s officially their time.  Finally.