Now the only trick is to win one more, just ONE, or even just OTL while the Buffalos lose in reg. We play Montreal tonight, which should be a gimme win except for the Capitals there ARE no gimme wins. Every win is a struggle, even when it’s a desperation scenario. Buffalo is playing Toronto, which is pretty much free points for them, unless they’ve locked into “unbeatable when it no longer matters” mode already. (Spoiler alert!)
(Digression: Living the hectic jetsetting lifestyle that I do, I was in the car driving to Massachusetts while the Bruins game was on. You can only catch the radio stream in a very specific area around DC, and I totally forgot about it until about the last 3 minutes of the game, when we were up 2-0.
Advice: Never listen to the end of a Caps game while you’re driving. No one can squander a lead like our boys in red, and there’s nothing quite like feeling that good ol’ Capitals despair while behind the wheel.
Also: shootouts do not translate well to the radio, though in practical terms this just means the heart attack is more sudden.)
But! Tremendous news! The CSN news alert text messaging system works even in Western Mass, and I was greeted this snowy (?!) morn by the most beautiful words in the world:
Nicklas Backstrom confirms he will return to the Caps lineup tonight against Montreal!
Thanks, 43803! Sign up for text alerts for the Caps, and get gratuitous Wizards alerts as well!
Obviously I am overjoyed. I know I make a big deal about goalies around here, and nothing can capture my heart like a netminder, but Nicky Backs was my first love, and seeing (or at least imagining) his flowing blond mane take the ice tonight is the best unsolicited present I could ever receive. (Too bad I only brought my Ron Francis Whalers jersey with me to New England!)
I could say that tonight is a big game, but really, every game until mid-June is a big game. We need every win until the playoffs, and once in the playoffs (knock on wood!), obviously every game is crucial [insert NHL promo here].
In other news, Vokoun’s groin is acting up again, so that’s worrying. The Habs have just fired their GM, which I’m not sure has any real effect on the players, but will definitely be a factor when everyone else writes their game previews, so I might as well mention it.
AccuScore on my phone is telling me we have a 66.7% chance of winning, which tears me in half. The stat geek in me says “Good, that makes me feel better!” and the bleak, pessimistic fan of The Wire in me says “This will just make our inevitable loss taste much worse.”
The winner, of course, is the Toronto Maple Leafs fan in me, who is shouting drunkenly and making obscene gestures at the Canadiens.
NO HABS NO!