By Rodger M. Wood
While many believe the Caps overachieved in the 2012 playoffs, if the truth was better recognized, destiny dealt the Caps and their fans a cruel fate. Like Ulysses, their ship was lured into a shipwreck on the rocks by beautiful beckoning Sirens.
Fate mistreated us when we came within 6 seconds of beating the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Gardens in the 5th game and stopped us from going home to the Verizon Center with a 3 games to 2 advantage.
A matter of inches beat the Caps in Game 5 when Joel Ward’s stick drew Hagelin’s blood and a double minor penalty, in the last faceoff , when Brooks Laich’s stick missed winning the face-off , and on Rangers Brad Richards tying goal, when John Carlson’s left arm didn’ block the shot.
Fate teased us again when the Caps took control of the 6th game when Ovie scored in the first two minutes of the game, and Chimera at the 10:59 mark of the second period. In this game and Rangers Marian Gaborik’s goal in the last minute didn’t tie and force them into overtime like in the 5th game.
Had fate gone differently, the harder working Caps would have won the series 4-2 in six games with the home win in Game 6, and gone onto play the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Finals.
The tone was set for a well deserved Caps series win in the 7th game at New York, but fate dealt us another cruel blow when Brad Richards scored a goal at 1:32 of the first period to set the tone for a Rangers 2-1 win.
It was a one goal game until 10:05 of the third period when Del Zotto knocked Ovie off the puck to score the Rangers’ winning goal.
Thirty-seven seconds later the Caps were teased again when Caps defenseman Roman Hamrlik scored to make it 2-1 at the 10:43 mark of the third period.
They were taunted with a man advantage at the 11:19 mark, when Rangers Fedotenko was waved off the ice for a two minute delay of the game penalty, but couldn’t organize their power play to even off the score..
It was a series of inches, and the Caps deserved better. They may not get a better chance fto win the Cup for several seasons.
When they look back on this year’s series, they’ll have to remember fate manifested on the sneering faces of Rangers coach John Tortorella, who probably sold his soul for another Cup win, and the celebrating Rangers fans who had last won a Stanley Cup in 1994.
Another long hot summer awaits Caps fans. It may take a life time for destiny to reward our long loyalty with a Stanley Cup, but all will feel right again when we do.
Lets hope our road to triumph includes a series win over Torotella and the Rangers so we can once and for all wipe clean those sneering faces of fate.