Our Caps are once again favorites to win the Stanly Cup, and I can confidently say that this is the best team in the NHL. In past seasons, there has been a lingering lack of confidence entering the playoffs. However, this season, I don’t think it’s fair to let our franchise’s history cloud reality. It’s true we have the burden of disappointing playoffs, but we are deep at every position and I strongly believe we are good enough to overcome it.
My (not-so-bold) prediction: The playoff disappointment streak ends, and in my opinion, it doesn’t matter if they finish first in the Metropolitan Division or not; they are too ready, and too deep. The Metropolitan Division is home to three out of the four best teams this season. As of now, the Caps hold the first place spot, followed by the Pens, and then the Blue Jackets. For those of you who are not familiar with the playoff format, the league will force the teams that finish second and third in the division to play each other in the first round. So, that means one of the NHL’s best teams will have to suffer and early playoff exit. Washington can secure the top seed in the East if they beat Toronto, and Pittsburgh loses to Columbus.
If the season ended today, and the Caps secured the top seed, we would face the Ottawa Senators. This season we went 2-1 vs Ottawa, with Philipp Grubauer in net for our one loss. Grubauer is a great goalkeeper, but he’s no HOLTBY. I like our odds in the first round for sure, but we all know the second round is what really ails the Caps. As I said previously, the Caps are too deep and too ready this season; I wholeheartedly believe they overcome their previous playoff woes.
The Caps have an 8-1-1 record, and that’s tied for best in the league through the last 10 games. Never-mind the March stumble and the Arizona Coyote’s game hiccup, because the Caps are catching their groove at the perfect time. They have the players, the numbers, the motivation and the momentum to bring the first ever NHL championship to DC.