Solid performance all around last night. It was playoff atmosphere. There was a lot more media there. The fans felt it and the players felt it with many saying that it was a more intense type of game. Obviously there is a rivalry amongst the teams but also the game pits the biggest stars against one another in Ovie vs. Crosby and Malkin. Also, despite being atop the Eastern conference and having a great year, they are still reeling from last year's playoff loss to the Penguins. The Caps have typically come out on the short end of the stick when facing the Penguins in the playoffs and there certainly is a history there.
Again, solid performance all around. Theo let in the cheapie goal early on but after that he had himself another good game. Still, I am looking forward to getting a healthy Varly back as I think he is the better goalie. What I loved about the game is that it just felt like the Caps believed they were the better team. You can feel the difference with this team. There is a cockiness and confidence about this team that makes you believe we can win the Cup. I said it all last year. As good as they were, I felt like this would be the year they made that push. Two years ago, once Boudreau took over, they went on their amazing run and captured the fans support. All of a sudden Caps games were selling out and "Unleash the Fury" and "Rock the Red" became great rallying slogans. We got a taste of the playoffs but we were still way too young. Last year, we had talent and confidence but we were still young and inexperienced. This year, we have even more talent, more confidence, but equally important, we have experience. We know what it takes to be successful. We know what it takes to be a champion.
Last year, I just felt like we weren't ready and I said it all year long. This year it feels different.
What I also love is the difference between Ovie and Crosby. The bigger the stage the better for Ovie. He wants to showcase his talents to the world. He also makes no apologies for the way he plays. People have complained about his goal celebrations and his physical hitting but he will not change and he will not apologize for his play. I love that he said about yesterday's game that it was a big game and that it was like Lebron going up against Kobe or Real Madrid against Arsenal. It's true. He won't shy away from that. I don't know what Crosby said about the game but he seems more they type of person that will downplay that type of game. Ovie also said about the fans jeering him every time he touched the puck, "It's great, I think the fans love me. They booed me because I'm not on their team." The guy is the ultimate superstar and the greatest player in the world. He has the rare combination of size, speed, skill, talent, and supreme confidence. Honestly, I cannot think of an athlete in any sport that has been like him. MJ was fantastic and is the greatest athlete I have ever seen and revolutionized basketball but he didn't have the size that Ovie has. Lebron has the size but he doesn't have the killer instinct that Ovie, Jordan, and Kobe have.
Whatever, I love this Caps team and feel like we have something special here and anything short of the Cup this year will be a big disappointment.