'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The Caps will have to go through a tougher division to make the playoffs and then to reach the East finals. They won the Southeast Division five of the past six seasons but went 8-10-2 against the Penguins, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Hurricanes this year.
Because the Washington Capitals were done before the final horn in Game 7 Monday night, those watching had some extra time to contemplate general manager George McPhee's work this offseason. But after the Caps became the only NHL team to make the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past six years and not reach at least the conference finals, don't expect much to look different when they open the 2013-14 season.
Scoring 23 goals in 23 games, he was the reason the Caps' season turned around. But totaling just a goal and an assist in seven games against the New York Rangers made him the focal point of yet another early playoff exit.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin knows full well that his playoff failures are adding up.
That the Rangers may be a smidge better is not arguable. Five-oh better? No way. That a tight series became a laugher in the finale can be, in part, blamed on the Caps' ugly playoff past. There's not an elephant in that room. There's a herd of them in there and it is not an easy thing to clear out.
Going into Monday night's deciding Game 7, Nash had just one assist amid plenty of speculation that he's playing through injury.
Given the tightness of the series, it was shocking that the Caps did not put up a fight in being eliminated. And the end unfolded in stunning fashion.
Against a team with a more functional power play, Washington would already be done. The Rangers are 2-for-26 with the man advantage (including 0-for-3 when up five-on-three) through six games.
He hadn't scored for the Washington Capitals since April 18 and he hadn't scored in the playoffs since April 27, 2008. Still, the playmaking No. 2 center didn't let shifts that went by without production shake him.
Joel Ward, Game 5 and the New York Rangers. That combination, before Friday night, was synonymous with missed opportunity and disappointment for the Washington Capitals. This year’s script was different, though. Friday night’s had a happy ending. As Ward glided toward his teammates to celebrate the Caps’ 2-1 overtime victory at Verizon Center, he was redeemed.
Even seeing Lundqvist in the postseason three of the past four years and enjoying some success against the 31-year-old didn't unlock too many secrets. What the Caps know is that it's not just about getting a lot of shots on net because he can shrug them off.
The Caps managed to right themselves and climb out of a two-goal hole, but an ill-timed penalty by Jason Chimera and breakdowns in the defensive zone proved disastrous.
Fehr isn't the Caps' best penalty-killing forward; he's one of eight Adam Oates is able to rotate through. But his presence makes a difference short-handed.
Fans at Verizon Center leapt to their feet as soon as the whistle blew. The Washington Capitals hadn't scored a goal all afternoon, but with the Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green-led power play about to take the ice, it felt automatic.
It's hard to believe Rule 63.2 would make the difference in a playoff game, actually in the Caps' favor. Though as they showed in Saturday's Game 2 overtime victory against the Rangers, they're well-positioned to take advantage of one of the few times officials can't swallow their whistles.
"I think he's a guy that can play on the first, second line," defenseman Karl Alzner said.
Washington defenseman Karl Alzner acknowledged in a quiet locker room Monday night that "it's hard to overcome" the kind of poor production Ovechkin had this postseason.