Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Season defining game defines Capitals

The Washington Capitals hosted the Buffalo Sabres last night with a chance to take full grasp of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

They failed, and they failed miserably.

The Capitals had several chances early to take control of the game, but were unable to get anything past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.

Jason Chimera had two chances in tight stopped by Miller, and a dash to the net by Alex Ovechkin was poked away by a Buffalo defender before he could get a shot off.

Cody McCormick scored at 8:45 of the first to give the Sabres a 1-0 and complete control of the game.

Goals by Drew Stafford at 18:05 of the first and Thomas Vanek at 2:31 gave the Sabres a 3-0 lead that the Verizon Center faithful knew was going to be too much to overcome.

The loss doesn't completely end any chance of the Capitals making the playoffs. But, a game that gave the Capitals a chance to control their own destiny ended up being the game that I feel completely defines the team's season.

There are times this season the Capitals have had a chance to take control of their season and have failed.

Two Friday's ago, the Capitals carried a four-game winning streak into Winnipeg with a chance to more or less end the Jets playoff chances and further solidify their playoff seeding.

They lost 3-2.

Last Friday, playing the Jets at Verizon Center, the Capitals built an early 3-0 lead and had the home crowd in a frenzy.

They lost 4-3 in overtime and blew a point they desperately needed.

They came back with a strong performance on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, but lets be honest. The Wild have been on a downward slide since December, so an impressive win that was not.

If you want to go back even further, the Capitals ended a three game losing streak on Feb. 17 with a 2-1 win on the road against the Panthers by scoring twice in the third period. They followed that with a another three-game skid.

After three straight wins Feb. 24-28, the Capitals, again, lost three straight games.

Some will blame injuries to Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom as reasons why the Capitals have been so inconsistent. But, blowing a 3-0 lead at home and getting blown out on that same ice sheet four days later has nothing to do with missing pieces.

All season long, the Capitals have failed to deliver when it matters most.

Why should any of us have thought last night would be any different?

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