Friday, March 28, 2008

The Cardiac Caps, Team of Destiny

With less than four minutes to go in regulation last night, the Caps trailed the bottom-feeding Lightning 3-2. It was a game that included stretches of the Caps outplaying their opponent intertwined with stretches where they looked either disinterested or hemmed in. And for Caps fans, it didn't look like two points were going to happen.

With less than four minutes to go in regulation last night, Alexander Semin tied up the game.

With less than three minutes left in overtime last night...Tomas Fleischmann won it.

And so this game goes down as a microcosm of the Caps season. It's a metaphor whose bounds are as yet unknown - with everyone counting them out the Caps pulled even and then came out ahead thanks to the unlikeliest of heroes. But will that describe the season only up to the final games? Or will they be the first team in NHL history to go from being dead last in the league to earning a postseason berth?

The road to finding out is long and hard...or should we say short and hard. Four games left and the Caps sit two points out of third, two points out of seventh, and two points out of eighth. Each of the teams in those spots right now has a treasured game in hand on the Caps.

So to a certain extent they hold only part of their destiny in their own hands - win and you put pressure on the other teams to win. Win and you give yourself the best possible chance to make it. But should the others win, too...game over.

And for now that might have to be okay.

If the Caps give themselves every chance to make it, if they win as many games as they can and play the way we know they can play, the rest matters very little. A playoff berth would be fantastic - to see this team in the postseason led by their young superstar, it's beyond compare as fantasies go - but it's up to fate. It's up to other teams helping us out. It's up to some sort of cosmic force deciding that five years without a postseason is too long.

But it is the stuff of fairy tales that this team is even in this position right now...and you can bet everyone in that locker room is feeling the magic.

1 comment:

dmg said...

It'd be nice if destiny could help the Capitals a little by having the Bruins lose a game or two...