Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sens Veto Caps

At the outset of tonight's game, it looked like we were in for a repeat of the last Caps-Sens barnburner. Neither team was skating particularly well, the Caps were falling prey to some bad bounces, and they went into the locker room trailing at intermission.

Give the Caps credit for coming out and really playing a courageous game during those last 40 minutes. They were outplaying or at the very least matching Ottawa at every step and managed to cut the lead down to 1, making a strong push to tie it up right to the last second.

In the end the Caps' rally wasn't quite enough - maybe guys were squeezing the sticks a bit too hard, maybe they were trying to do too much, maybe opting for the fancy pass when a simpler play would have sufficed. Martin Gerber certainly made his case for being among the stars of tonight's game (no, you're not seeing things...Martin Gerber), playing like he did a season ago to propel the Hurricanes into the postseason and avoiding the performance that got him thrown out of the postseason.

Whatever the reason, all the effort by the Caps tonight just wasn't enough for those two points.

I know that some people will look at a game like this and say that a courageous game does not a playoff team make. That's true, but at this point I think the Caps should be happy with their performance tonight and use it as a building block, whatever may come to pass in April. They're not out of the race by any stretch, but with every loss it gets harder to climb out of the hole, and that's okay.

For me, a loss like this one is frustrating but promising. A lot of very good performances by various players tonight, especially the young guys like Schultz and Fehr, give us a glimpse of a future that may not be so far away.

And we'll leave it at that - the Caps can take a lot of things away from this game and hopefully apply it towards a little revenge on the Cats come Thursday night. Florida fell to the Penguins tonight (a Catch-22 for me; I was kind of hoping they both would lose) and remain one point behind the good guys. For now, we can sleep well knowing that through at least two periods the Caps played with that same effort we've grown accustomed to seeing - tonight it just wasn't meant to be.

In the end, I think Scarlett O'Hara said it best: "Tomorrow is another day!"

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