By Rodger M. Wood
The Caps choked last night losing a vital playoff race game to 9th place Buffalo 5-1.
They were in a prime position to take charge of the pennant race but fell on their faces against the hard skating, tough forechecking and outstanding goaltending of the rival Sabres.
In other important road challenges to Caps playoff hopes the past week and a half, they lost to the Black Hawks 5-2, beat an injury depleted Red Wings team 5-3, lost to the Flyers 2-1 in overtime, lost to Winnipeg 4-3, and at home, beat Minnesota 3-0.
Before the Buffalo game they were in 8th and the last Eastern Conference playoff position in control of their destiny with 6 games to go, one each against Buffalo, and Southeast Division leader Florida, who was only three points ahead of them in the standings.
It’s sad the 2011-2012 Caps didn’t measure up to the “good team” GM McPhee said they’d be at the trade deadline when he made no player acquisitions to help the Caps limp offensive attack.
It’s too bad the team didn’t measure up to the Stanley Cup winner, the Hockey News predicted at the beginning of the season.
With or without Niklaus Backstrom, it doesn’t appear the Caps will win a playoff position or should a miracle happen and they win a playoff berth, make any significant playoff mark.
Our only hope is for Caps management during the off season to make the necessary changes to the team’s toughness chemistry, let some of the talented non producers go, and look in the mirror themselves to see if they should follow the losers out on the road..
If those necessary changes occur, maybe Caps fans have something to look forward and pay big bucks to see. As those changes are made, they can wait and look forward more enthusiastically to next season.