Rockville, MD 5/8/2018 – Wayne Viener
20 years later, the Capitals are back in the conference championship. It gives credence to the hashtag #beforeidie (before I die).
I have waited. I have hoped. I have bought jerseys, hats, tickets, popcorn, beer, nachos, etc., and have indoctrinated many fans over that 20 years. And the Capitals have lost.
Last night was a mountaintop, not just a milestone. A 2-1 overtime victory in Pittsburgh, and an unlikely victory for a few reasons.
(1) The Caps always lose to Pittsburgh, except in 1994. The funny thing is that the Caps do better in elimination games in Pittsburgh than in Washington.
(2) The Caps have thinned their roster of stars, and in fact played 5 rookies on Monday night. No Backstrom, Tom Wilson or Andre Burakovsky. The Caps won despite those absences.
(3) The Caps always find a painful way to lose a series. Whether it was the Penguins or the NY Rangers, there was always a soul-searching, heart wrenching end in the 2nd round. Except for last night.
All of these trended to Washington’s favor over the past few days. It is a hockey miracle. (The Hanukkah of Hockey?)
Does it matter what happens next? Is the Tampa series also a litmus test for the Ovechkin era? I am not sure.
No matter what happens next, we will always have last night.
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