Stop when you have heard this before. The Washington Capitals are finding ways to lose in the playoffs. They have now squandered an opportunity to even the series at two apiece against the Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Conor Sheary, and Matt Murray-less Penguins. To add insult to injury, they are losing the way they have in the past: dominating in shot attempts, but not being able to score. By this point, it is the scripted ending most fans know and are tired of hearing, although some people have called that the predicted outcome may change.
The stats nerds? Their charts are dictating this would be one of the most lopsided losses for a team. The Caps are leading the playoffs in CorsiFor and the Pens are dead last.
The columnists? Tired of hearing the same quotes and excuses from players that they have heard in years prior. Heck, it is not hard to argue that most of DC’s columnists have given up hope completely.
So, is there any reason to be optimistic? History dictates that getting one’s hopes up is a futile effort. However, if the Caps want to even stick around, they need to turn things around, and fast.
Braden Holtby might win back-to-back Vezina Trophies. He cannot seem to put together a good start in these playoffs though.
So the first order of business needs to be Holtby turning into the HoltBeast Caps fans know and love. Marc-Andre Fleury is outplaying him, plain and simple. Holtby stated before Game Three that he talked with his sports psychologist. He better get in touch for the rest of the series, if the Caps want to stay afloat.
Next, the Caps have to get production somewhere. The top guys have converted a few chances, but the third line needs to fix their lackluster efforts, and quickly.
We're ten games into the playoffs and the Caps' only bottom-six forward with a goal is Tom Wilson. That's as surprising as it is bad.
— Japers' Brink 🦅 (@JapersRink) May 4, 2017
We have discussed ad nauseum that the Capitals take too many penalties. In nearly every single recap from the playoffs, we have stated that a change has to happen. Apparently the Capitals cannot be bothered. They took six offensive zone penalties in Game Four. Some might have been considered dives or acting, but it should not matter. If the Capitals keep getting in their own way, this series will be over painfully and quickly.
The only advice that might really sink in for the next game, and possibly more if Washington gets it together, is that they have to come out flying.
The feeling out period? It is over. Washington has to start playing like they care. Not when they are down by two goals. Not after 10 or 20 or 30 minutes have elapsed. Starting Saturday, Washington has to commit itself to changing the narrative that has plagued them since they drafted Alex Ovechkin. No one believes in them. Not the commentators, nor the fans. Well, some fans believe.
Maybe they can do it. They have already won three consecutive games in these playoffs.
They are getting the chances they need. PenBC has commented on how Pittsburgh has looked completely outmatched. The only people who can change the narrative of the Capitals being choking dogs are the players.
Buckle up for Saturday folks.
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