Defeated. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington Capitals. Season on the line.
Malone from the backdoor on the PP. Marco Sturm up front on the PP. Bergenheim puts it high. Bergenheim on the rebound. Erskine from an impossible angle. Martin St. Louis all alone up front. John Carlson off the faceoff. Bolts beat Caps 5-3.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have swept the Washington Capitals.
That does it for the 2010-2011 Caps season. It was one of the most tumultuous in franchise history with nosebleed highs and gastrointestinal lows. Stars faded and new stars were born. Unforeseen complications tripped the team in mid-stride.
Towards the mean the Caps regressed. They hit it and kept on falling. From an offensive lean to a defensive pose, the Capitals transformed themselves because they had to. And then they hit the postseason at full speed. Into a wall of Lightning.
The Caps didn’t do a bad job against the 1-3-1 Tampa defense. The alternate formation– an aggressive two-man forecheck– was what really gave them trouble. That and the surprising depth of the Lightning. Sean Bergenheim has a free pina colada waiting for him somewhere right now.
Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. Vanished.
Alex Ovechkin. Furious and fruitless.
Michal Neuvirth. Stoic and overwhelmed.
So here we are. I’m gonna hit Publish on this bad boy and shave off this pathetic beard while you guys unleash the fury in the comments. There’s a lot to talk about, and it’s going to be ugly but we’re going to get to it all.
But please, keep this in mind: you are fans of this team. I know you’ve got criticism; we all do. But temper your words with appreciation and admiration. Say something nice somewhere within your seething tirade.
And now: summertime. A desolate and humorless stretch. Don’t be a stranger.
Crash the net.