We came. We saw. We conquered. The Washington Capitals, written off by most 'experts', beat the defending champions, the Boston Bruins, in seven games in the first round.
Following the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils' victories in the remaining first round ties, the Caps have landed with New York in the second round. Here is an example of how terrifying and good at hockey they are:
THIS IS HOW THE TERRIFYING TEAM DRINKS
And we beat them the last two times we faced them in the playoffs. This will be easy, right?
It won't be as easy as before. This is the first time since the lockout we've been the regular season underdogs facing them. They've added Brad Richards, a legit first line center since our last encounter, and are generally a more competitive side. Plus, Gaborik scored 41 goals this season, good for third in the league. (By comparison, Ovi came in at 5th with 38 goals.)
There's a key to winning this series. I don't know if you're familiar with this phrase over in the US of A, but we often say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Nothing could be more true of these Caps. Their defence oriented play allowed them to shut down one of the league's best and deep offense in the Bruins. Braden Holtby came into the playoffs at the last minute, and played like a true veteran. The guy's been the best goalie in the playoffs this year, period. It's easily been the best playoff performance I've seen out of the Caps (I've been a fan since 2007). The offense seemed to take a back seat, but was still positive. Shooting on one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, everyone except Perreault and Schultz who played a game got at least one point. If Ovi hits 2008 form, Green comes back to his old ways.... let's just say I don't want to jinx it.
Prediction? Caps in Six.