The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers battled in the opening round series, going the distance of seven games. The home team won every game, that is until New York went on the road on Monday and handled the Capitals with ease.
The Rangers defeated the Capitals 5-0 in game 7, the largest shutout win on the road in a game 7 in NHL history. The win was the first game7 road win for the Rangers. The Capitals have a tendency to making it to game 7’s, but ultimately fail.
2008 marked the first time the Capitals made the playoffs with the trio of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green. In that time, the Caps have played nine series. Of those nine, seven went the complete distance. Washington is just 2-5 in that span in game 7’s. The trio has never made it past the second round.
I am pointing the finger at one player: Alexander Ovechkin. Ovi has a tendency to disappear during the playoffs and this time was no different. After scoring a goal in game 1 and assisting on another in game 2, the Capitals’ franchise player went MIA, and did not record a point the rest of the series.
This is completely unacceptable for a former two-time MVP. He led the league with 32 goals in this shortened season and is a finalist for the Hart Trophy once again. He is lucky they base that off regular season numbers, because he would not be getting any hardware after being eliminated in the first round.
Ovechkin is one of the game’s best players, but only in the regular season. I compare him to a player like Peyton Manning, who is notorious for winning a ton of regular season games, before ultimately losing in the playoffs. The difference in the two players is the fact Manning has a ring, something Ovechkin is still searching for.
The Capitals failed to score a goal in games 6 and 7, due in large part to the spectacular play of Rangers’ net-minder, Henrik Lundqvist, who recorded 62 saves in the two games. Laying an egg on in front of your home crowd in the biggest game of the season is unacceptable, just like Ovechkin’s disappearance.
We see this almost each and every year with the Capitals. They have a good regular season, but fail to win when it counts, in the playoffs. It will be a very long offseason for No. 8 and company, but the majority of the blame goes to Ovechkin himself.