The Washington Capitals have had mediocre results in the playoffs in recent years, as the team has not made a Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1998 – a year in which Washington was defeated by the Detroit Red Wings, not winning a single game in the series. The 2017 Capitals seem increasingly likely to suffer yet another post season exit, this time, like last year, at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. After losing Game 1, Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals started out promising as the Capitals dominated puck possession and shots on goal between the two teams in the first period; Washington tallied thirty-five shot attempts to the Penguins eight, but came away from it all with zero goals. The Penguins weathered the storm and surged back to win the game by a final score of 6-2. This placing Washington in a 2-0 deficit going into Game 3 on Monday night in Pittsburgh. It is certain that if the Capitals are going to be successful and win the series against the Penguins, three main things need to happen:
- The Capitals must find a way to cope with the speed of the Penguins by playing physical and fighting for loose pucks along the boards.
- Limiting opportunities for the Penguin’s superstar Sidney Crosby is a must. Crosby finished the first game of the series with two goals and finished the second with two assists.
- The Capitals need more consistent play from the whole team, but especially goaltender Braden Holtby. Arguably the best goalie of last year, Holtby has struggled this year against the quick-strike offense of the Pittsburgh Penguins, giving up two inexcusable goals in the second period of last night’s contest.
While discouraged Capital’s fans may understandably assume the worst, there still is hope. One must remember that this playoff series is the best of seven games. Almost all champions have faced adversity, but somehow found a way to become victorious. It is important to believe that the Washington Capitals will be no different – this time in a good way.