Before Friday's game against Winnipeg, I wrote the following in the comments section on an article about the Washington Capitals in the Washington post, which was entitled "Braden Holtby, Capitals shut out first place Jets". It was about the Thursday night game. The Capitals and Jets were in a strange (for the regular season) situation of playing back-to-back games on one team's rink - in this case, Winnipeg's.
"There's a scene in the movie "Patton", after the general and his aide have surveyed the field of battle, where Patton says, "Now I have precisely the right instrument at precisely the right moment of history and exactly the right place. ... This will change too, very quickly. Like a planet spinning off into the universe. A moment like this won't come again for years."
In this strange and short season, the Capitals suddenly find themselves in a similar situation of stellar alignment. Following an unbelievably atrocious start (still finding it hard to believe three 5-on-3 power plays in four games), they have clawed back to a semblance of respectability, with occasional forays into the land of the sublime - or at least the acceptable. The cavalry (Laich) & artillery (Green) are back.
Now, facing a strange Winnipeg team (that wins more on the road than at home) in back-to-back road games, and then the Rangers at MSG, the Caps could envision going into next Tuesday's home game against the beatable (at least they aren't Pittsburgh) Islanders with a chance to pass both NYR and CAR and find themselves in the unlikely Shangri-La of a playoff spot. NYR (32 pts) doesn't play again until they face WSH on Sunday. CAR (32 pts) doesn't play again until Tuesday, vs the better-on-the-road Jets. Good for health, not good for points. WSH has 27 points right now. Beating WIN again = 29. Beating NYR = 31 (and NYR stays at 32). Beating NYI on Tuesday = 33. If WIN beats CAR that night, the 'Caps move past the 'Canes. And NYI (29 pts) has to play PIT Friday, though one can't expect miracles from FLA again (or can we) on Sunday.
The saying goes "play it one game at a time". The players should, must focus on the immediate. Fans can look ahead and see tantalizing possibilities. Bu were I Adam Oates, I think I would make it very clear in that locker room tonight before the game that this is their time.
Unleash the fury & believe the system. Believe It Or Not, it's working."
What happened, you ask? Well, the Capitals won 6-1, setting up a hugely critical game against the Rangers tomorrow (Sunday, March 24). This will really serve to show whether or not this team has gotten over the horrendous start and is ready to finish the season strong -- and get into the NHL playoffs, which are madder than March Madness.
Not many response to what I wrote, but I think I did pretty good. And maybe the coach did give them the right pep talk before the game.