Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A tough draw

Tonight, the Caps look to rage against the dying of their playoff light against the Calgary Flames. And with Calgary coming in (wait for it, wait for it) on fire, taking points in 9 of their last 10 and winning 7 of those games outright, the Caps had better bring their "A" game.

For Calgary, the formula for victory is simple. Trap the hell out of the Caps and fire everything at the net in the offensive zone. Calgary is one of the better teams in the league at clogging the neutral zone, and the post-lockout Capitals have been frustrated by the trap time and time again. And while it seems counterintuitive for the Flames to play a plodding, counterstrike oriented, utterly boring style of play with lightning quick forwards Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay up front and Dion "I kill people for fun, man" Phaneuf patrolling the back line, one certainly can't argue with the results it has produced.

Throw in the fact that Mikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla (fresh off his milestone goal earlier this week) are both stepping up their game as the playoffs draw near, and the Caps hopes for a win tonight seem slim.

Which is exactly what this team needs. Like most young teams, the Caps play their best hockey when they are considered the underdogs. While there is certainly still pressure to produce points and eke into the final playoff spot, most now view the Caps as a team that will be on the outside looking in come the end of the season. Much like a boxer who gets knocked down early in a fight, the Caps are now free to swing for the fences and play with reckless abandon, knowing that they have to score a knockout (or in this case a series of knockouts) to win.

The Caps know that they've been bloodied by the losses this past weekend. They've been knocked down, hurt, and their pride bruised. Now, as the toughest opponent left on their schedule looms in front of them, the question is this: Will they reach deep within themselves and find the strength to rise up and continue the fight?

1 comment:

OrderedChaos said...

The answer, happily enough, was yes! The fight continues.

Great game, and seeing Olie's 300th was a blast.