(photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
After finding themselves pushed to the brink of elimination for the second consecutive year, the Washington Capitals, led by the most talented Russian contingency in the NHL, battled back from three games to one to eliminate the New York Rangers 2-1.
How was Washington about to battle back, when historically only eight percent of teams that find themselves down 3-1 in a series can do so?
First it started with rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov, who has been sensational stabilizing the goaltending situation for the Caps. Then it was time for Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin to find their rhythm. And last, but certainly not least, there’s future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov, who came through when his team absolutely needed him.
Sergei’s game-winning shot with just under five minutes to play was vintage Fedorov. While “he might not be 21 anymore,” like Brooks Laich said last night after the win, Fedorov can still muster enough when it matters. Even though he’s looked tired and sometimes a step slow in this series, all is forgotten when you help a Capitals team on the brink of being categorized with the San Jose Sharks and Houston Rockets of the world as playoff choke artists.
The Caps now move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two of the playoffs, with game one scheduled for this Saturday.
Our only question moving forward is simply – if Blair Betts only missed one playoff game, then why did Donald Brashear get a six-game suspension? Doesn’t really seem like the punishment fit the crime, now does it?