SNIDER: Caps know anything can happen

Rick Snider
April 11, 2019 - 11:24 am

You want Ovie drinking on that keg stand. You need a two-month playoff beard. You plan another summer victory parade.
But who knows what will happen when the Washington Capitals begin their Stanley Cup defense Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Just look at the opening night of the playoffs on Wednesday. Tampa Bay, overwhelming favorites after a record-tying 62 wins during the regular season, lost to Columbus 4-3. What? The Lightning are supposed to zap their way to the Eastern Conference finals, not resemble the top-seeded Caps who lost to eighth-seeded Montreal in the 2010 first round that forever makes Washington fans skeptical.
The New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. The winner of this series would be the Caps’ second-round opponent assuming Washington wins its first series. Watching the Islanders-Pens is like seeing two people you hate fight each other. You grab your popcorn rather than break it up, but the Pens really should win this series even if the Islanders had a better regular season. The Pens are built for playoffs.
And the Vegas Knights, fresh off a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in their first year, are already down 1-0 to San Jose. Sophomore slump?
Bottom line – there’s no way to know what the Caps will do. After sweeping the Hurricanes 4-0 in the regular season, it would seem four more wins would be easy. Why, Alexander Ovechkin should lift another Cup with one hand behind his back, right?
And yet, Washington knows last year means nothing when it comes to the Stanley Cup. The Caps could play in June or they may be done by Easter.
And that’s what makes it so interesting.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.