The Washington Capitals became the first NHL team to clinch a spot in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs after they skated to a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. T.J Oshie dominated the stat sheet with three goals and an assist.
Okay, that’s great, the Caps are having another great regular season, but what about that King Kong sized monkey that’s been Super Glued to their backs for almost ten seasons.
This franchise has been on an impressive roll regarding having winning seasons. In fact, they’ve made the playoffs nine of the last ten seasons with six of those sitting at the top of their division.
With today’s win, the Caps improved their record to 46-17-8 with 100 points and own the best record in the NHL, sitting on top of the Eastern Conference and their Metropolitan Division.
But teams earn respect with championships and NHL’s Holy Grail has eluded team captain Ovechkin and his Capitals for far too long. In the NHL almost every team makes the playoffs and it’s anyone’s title once the puck is dropped in the postseason.
After the Capitals won the Presidents Trophy with the best record in the league last season, the Penguins eliminated them in six games in the Eastern Conference second round. BOOM! Just like that. Players were again cleaning out their lockers and setting up tee times.
With the Caps finding it so difficult to get over the final hump, makes you think of the Buffalo Bills when they lost four Super Bowl games in a row.
On the opposite end of the stick, the Detroit Red Wings will break their streak of making the playoffs 25 straight years. To add some salt into that wound, the team is also just three points from the bottom of the league. If that happened last season, there would be a nice reward in the form of a guaranteed super star draft pick, Toronto Maple Leafs’ rookie sensation Auston Matthews, who went No. 1 overall in the draft.
Getting back to the Capitals, time will tell if Ovechkin finally gets to hoist hockey’s Holy Grail. A player so talented and dedicated to one team his entire career sure deserves it. But first they’ll need to get past the King Kong sized monkey that’s sitting on their backs. Will this finally be the season that Alex Ovechkin has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup?