Sunday, March 9, 2008

One Streak Ends. Another About to Begin

Well, that was fun. Forty-eight games without back-to-back losses that put the Caps onto the fringe of the playoff picture (and, for a few wonderful days, into that #3 seed) was a fantastic ride. Now that the streak is over, though, it’s time to look to the next streak: the ones that will put the Capitals firmly into the playoffs.

It’s a potentially dark time for the team, seven points out of the division lead and six points out of the eighth seed. These potentially dark, playoff-threatening times were of course brought about by this weekend of nearly indescribably maddening hockey. Whether it was a whistle happy native Bostonian referee or a crease-clearing attempt gone horribly wrong, it apparently just wasn’t the weekend for standings point collecting.

However, we see some similarities here to another team’s playoff-threatening loss. Back when the Redskins lost to the Bills they were 5-7 and not in anyone’s conversation regarding the postseason. That, of course, turned out great, what with the 4-game winning-streak and wild-card berth and all.

It can happen with the Caps, too. Nick Backstrom knocking the puck into his own net with less than thirty seconds left in the third period to give the Penguins a win (and set off the avalanche of Sid Is Better Than Alex, Again headlines)? Why that’s just Joe Gibbs calling double timeouts with a similarly limited amount of time left in the fourth quarter to hand the Bills a victory. ‘Skins players stayed with and defended Gibbs, much as the Caps will rally around Backstrom as he gets back on track for the Calder starting Wednesday.

Time for a Redskins-like streak into the playoffs. It can start with a three-game tear at home this week and continue until the Capitals have either the third or eighth playoff seed. Here’s kind of hoping for #8, with Pittsburgh as the opponent, and a chance to put all this Sid-fawning to rest, at least until next fall.

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