Part of the pain of being a lifelong fan of the Washington Capitals has been the “tease” factor and the dalliances with greatness. It’s a franchise that has had a long history of tragic, Game 7 losses in April and early May.
Tonight, with a rabid crowd and the greatest player on the planet registering a hat trick and a kid in goal who is playing electrifyingly exciting between the pipes, this team seems on the verge of doing some special things this May.
Despite a few retaliation penalties in the early going before righting their ship, the Caps played the part of a gritty, determined team — the kind that holds serve in their own rink and now must go to Pittsburgh with a chance to exterminate the Penguins in the Igloo on Wednesday and Friday.
No doubt the folks at the Verizon Center tonight will be telling people for years about the night that Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby both scored three goals and the Caps won 4-3 in the most exciting local sporting event of 2009. The building sounded like the roof was about to explode.
I went to the game on Saturday, which was a great event. But, tonight, I’m embarrassed that I missed out on the fun in person. That said, it was a pretty wild night just watching on TV. (I even got to watch the Orioles beat the Rays in between periods and the hockey game ended in the 8th inning, right on cue)
Sure, there’s a ton of hockey left to be played but these are the kinds of games and momentum builders that win championships. Simeon Varlamov clearly is unfazed — if not inspired — by the pressure of a sold out, singing crowd and the constant attack of the Penguins offense. And all of this comes after being woefully down 3-1 in the New York Rangers series and finding a way to come back and win.
The Caps are onto something good. It’s not a bad time to get on the bandwagon. There’s a lot of fun to be had watching the Caps this spring.
Hope to see you at Silver Spring Mining Company in Perry Hall on Wednesday night rocking your red. We promise $2 Michelob Ultras and plenty of noise in the room.
There’s nothing better than Stanley Cup hockey.