Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We're (Almost) #1

It’s become a series of (welcome) trends: the Capitals laugh at two-goal deficits; the Capitals absolutely refuse to go two games in a row without grabbing at least one standings point (two-plus months and counting); Alex Ovechkin, night after night, seems to be desperately seeking a 70-goal season while making ridiculous plays to carry the team. Not even cement-footed, Shaone Morrisonn-tripping Bill McCreary could ruin last night’s comeback.

The division deficit is back to one point. With a chance to finally make up one of those two games in hand over Atlanta and Carolina, first place is within the Caps’ grasp tonight. A win in Philadelphia (site of Bruce II’s first game with the team and one of his greatest triumphs) and first place is secure, making Friday’s contest with the Hurricanes an important pad-the-lead type of game.

How about Tom Poti? Throwing hits, blocking shots, scoring a tying goal so stunning it took a replay to confirm it, deftly playing cross-ice catch with Ovechkin on the overtime winner. There’s a reason he quietly eats up so much ice time every game, derisions about his very occasional defensive zone turnovers aside.

Yes, just like the season as a whole, last night looked really bad before it looked really good. Now, suddenly, as the Capitals found themselves needing just one goal for a win last night, they find themselves needing just one win for first place and a three-seed in the standings. We eagerly await seeing such standings. In addition, we eagerly await the debate with a new set of optimism haters who will poo-poo such a lofty status for the Caps and who will ridicule the weakness of the Southeast Division and declare the team somehow undeserving of a conference rank higher than Pittsburgh (likewise we await the detractors of imminent scoring champion Alex Ovechkin. Detractors who will wave the But Sidney Was Hurt flag. Their efforts will also fail).

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