The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
Here we are, Game 5. The very words, “Game Five,” strike fear into the hearts of Caps fans of long standing. They know what it means…
1987, Round 1. The Caps, leading three games to one and trying to close out the New York Islanders, lose to the Islanders, 4-2. The Caps would go on to lose the series in seven games, the last of which was “The Easter Epic,” the four-overtime loss to New Yorkers that ended on Easter morning in 1987.
1988, Round 2. Caps fans would rather remember Round 1, in which they won Game 5 to stave off elimination, going on to win the series in Game 7 when Dale Hunter scored in overtime on the Philadelphia Flyers’ Ron Hextall. That is because in Round 2, the Caps had a chance to tak a 3-2 lead on the New Jersey Devils and did not, falling by a 3-1 score. The Caps tied things up again in Game 6 with a 7-2 pounding of the Devils, but lost in Game 7 by a 3-2 score.
1989, Round 1. The Caps again found themselves tied at 2-2 in a series, this time with the Flyers. But in Game 5 the Caps couldn’t stop pucks from flying into their own net, including one off the stick of goalie Ron Hextall into an open net to seal an 8-5 decision. The Caps then lost Game 6, 4-3, and the series.
1992, Round 1. This would be the first of many post-season tortures inflicted by the Pittsburgh Penguins on the Caps. Holding a 3-1 lead in games heading into Game 5, including a 7-2 thrashing of the Penguins in Game 4 in Pittsburgh, the Caps dropped a 5-2 decision at home to the Penguins. To add that touch of salt to the wound that always seems to happen when the Caps are involved, the game-winning goal was scored by former Caps defensemen Larry Murphy. The Caps lost Games 6 and 7, and the series.
1995, Round 1. Game 5 in the Caps’ opening round series against the Penguins signaled the beginning of the end for goalie Jim Carey. The Caps had this game and the series (leading three games to one) on their sticks by virtue of having a lead and a power play, having already scored two on power plays in the game. But Jaromir Jagr stole a puck, raced in on Carey, and scored shorthanded. The roof fell in on Carey and the Caps after that. The Penguins won this game in overtime, 6-5, then made short work of the Caps in Games 6 and 7 by 7-1 and 3-0 scores, respectively. Carey would never be the same.
1996, Round 1. The Penguins again. This time, the Caps took the first two games of the series, but dropped the next two, the Penguins winning Game 4 in the Caps’ second four-overtime game in franchise history. It set up a pivotal Game 5. Right… Penguins 4, Caps 1. The Caps dropped Game 6, and their season was over.
2001, Round 1. Yup…you guessed it. Pittsburgh. The Capitals got off to a good start in the series with a 1-0 win in Game 1, but the Penguins took the next two contests. Washington rallied to win Game 4 in overtime on a goal by Jeff Halpern. It set up another big Game 5. Pittsburgh scored two goals 41 seconds apart in the first period, then held on for dear life to escape with a 2-1 win. It was all the Caps had left; they lost Game 6 – and the series – in overtime, 4-3, on a breakaway goal by Martin Straka after Caps defensemen Sergei Gonchar lost the puck on some bad ice at his own blue line.
2003, Round 1. Finally, the Caps faced someone new in a big Game 5, but it didn’t have a different result. The Tampa Bay Lightning were the new foil, and it looked as if the Caps would find the Lightning more to their liking, winning Games 1 and 2 in Tampa. But the Caps lost Games 3 and 4 in Washington, setting up an important Game 5 in Tampa. The Lightning got a goal from Martin St. Louis mid-way through the third period for the difference in a 2-1 Lightning win. The Lighning would close out the series in Game 6 on another game-winning goal by St. Louis, this one coming in the third overtime on a power play that resulted from a too-many-men penalty on the Caps. St. Louis would take a special place in the annals of Caps heartbreakers. He had the game-winning goal in each of the last three games of the series.
2009, Round 2. Back to the Penguins. In the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Caps won Games 1 and 2 at home, the Penguins did likewise in Games 3 and 4 on their ice. In Game 5 in Washington the Caps could not hold a 2-1 lead they took into the third period, losing the lead on early goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke before Alex Ovechkin tied it up with less than five minutes left. Then, with Milan Jurcina in the penalty box for tripping in the first overtime, Evgeni Malkin took the puck wide on Caps defenseman Tom Poti. Malkin tried to slide the puck across to Sidney Crosby, but the puck struck the shaft of Poti’s stick, leaving goalie Semyon Varlamov helpless in watching the puck slide over the goal line for the 4-3 Penguins win. The Caps would return the favor with a 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh in Game 6, but would fall hard to the Penguins in Game 7, 6-2.
2010, Round 1. Perhaps the unkindest cut of all. The Caps were the Presidents Trophy winner as the team with the most standings points in the regular season. They lost Game 1 of their opening round series against the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, but that looked like a speed bump when the Caps peeled off three wins, the last two by a combined 11-4 margin, to take a 3-1 lead. Then came Game 5. Goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 of 38 shots in a 2-1 Canadiens win. It would be the first of three consecutive games in which Halak allowed but a single goal. He stopped 131 of 134 shots in those final three games, all Caps losses in an embarrassing “one-versus-eight-seed” loss to Montreal.
All-in-all, the Caps are 9-18 in Game 5’s in franchise history. In the nine wins, they went on to win the series seven times. In the 18 Game 5 losses, they went on to lose the series 15 times. Clearly, Game 5 in this opening round series against the Bruins means something if history means anything. So, we’re going to call on someone with far more inspirational talent than we have. General, if you could say a few words to the men…
Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a hockey game by giving up his body for his team. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard give up his body for his team.
Men, all this stuff you've heard about Capitals not wanting to win, wanting to go play golf when the weather gets warm, is a lot of horse dung. Washingtonians, traditionally, love to fight. All real Washingtonians love the sting of battle.
When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Washingtonians love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Well, at least not anymore. Washingtonians play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why the Capitals have never lost and will never lose a playoff series this year. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to the Capitals.
Now, a hockey club is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, shoots, checks, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the NBC Sports Network don't know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.
Now, we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by God, I actually pity those poor bastards we're going up against. By God, I do. We're not just going to beat the bastards. We're going to cut out their living guts and use them to tape the blades of our sticks. We're going to murder those lousy Bruin bastards by the bushel.
Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken-out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Bruins are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Check them into the boards. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face after a high stick, you'll know what to do.
Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Bruin do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything -- except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose, and we're gonna kick him in the ass. We're gonna kick the hell out of him all the time, and we're gonna go through him like crap through a penguin!
Now, there's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, "What did you do in the great 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs?" -- you won't have to say, "Well, I shoveled shit in Saskatchewan."
Alright now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel.
Oh, I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime…
Capitals 2 – Bruins 1