At the beginning of the evening I thought I would be removing Tampa from my "crap" list. I saw they were starting Smith, I read Tortorella saying they wanted to play the spoiler role and I believed. Shame on me. Tampa was never a factor as Carolina scored 30 seconds in and pretty much never looked back.
The final was 6-2 when Halpern added his 20th goal of the year. Thanks for nothing. Tonight the Caps can pay Tampa back and keep on trucking towards HOPEFULLY their first playoff birth since 2003.
The other news around the league was pretty good. Tim Thomas pulls a hudini and Shane Hnidy goes for an Oscar as Boston gets a cheapy point. Dainius Zubrus scored on Tim Thomas to give the Devils the lead but because of inconclusive evidence, they said no goal. Thomas knew it was goal even Zubrus walked over and told Timmy (paraphrasing) to "please tell the refs because we both know it's a goal."
In Pittsburgh it was a different story where the Pens took advantage of the powerplay to beat the Flyers 4-2. It was another chippy affair between these two teams. I'll be honest, it was torture watching these two teams that I hate so much. It was painful to cheer as the annoying high-pitched Steel Town horn would go off after the pens scored. But, I'm thankful.
So, here's the breakdown.
If Caps win out...
We need either Boston, Philly, Ottawa, or Carolina to lose one game in regulation. That's it. Out of 7 games, we only need one to go our way for the Caps to get in.
Keep in mind also that Friday night Boston plays Ottawa. If this game ends in regulation, that's all the Caps would need for a spot to open up. OTT and Boston both have 92 points. If Ott wins tomorrow night against Toronto they would have 94. If they lose Friday, they are done and the Caps would get the tiebreaker. If Ottawa wins tomorrow and wins Friday against Boston, they would have 96 BUT the max points Boston could get at that point is 94. The Caps would have the tiebreaker with Boston.
And of course if Toronto wins tonight over Ottawa, it's win and your in for the Caps.
Many scenarios available, some likely. But it all has to start with a Caps victory tonight.
No preview needed today. If the Caps play their game they will win. Simply put. Tampa played last night and we should see Ramo most likely. The key for the Caps is to stay grounded (enter Boudreau and Fedorov) and not get over confident.
Let's go Caps fans-Red Out Part 2.