NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in overtime against Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals as Matt Hendricks #26 of the Washington Capitals slides to the ice after Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 7, 2012 in New York City. The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals in overtime 2-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Entering Monday, the Washington Nationals were in first place in the NL East; Bryce Harper had made an immediate impact in his first week-plus in the majors; Robert Griffin III had officially been named the starter for the Washington Redskins; the Washington Capitals were overachieving when considering the expectations levied upon them when the postseason began, tied with the top-seeded New York Rangers after four games in the second round.
Things were going too well in Washington. D.C. has suffered through way too much heartbreak over the last two decades and seemed overdue for some more. Monday evening, the Caps unfortunately obliged.
Just 6.6 seconds away from returning to Verizon Center with a chance to close out the series Wednesday, the Caps failed to do so as the Rangers stole a 3-2 overtime victory and a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
The Rangers' power play, which had been held shotless in its three previous attempts, scored twice in less than two minutes as Brad Richards tied the game with time running out in the third period and Marc Staal won it just 1:35 into overtime, sending the Caps home with a loss and at a loss for words.
“It’s tough," Matt Hendricks said after the game. 'It’s hard to swallow. But it’s a hockey game. I don’t have a lot to say about [it]. But it’s a tough loss. We need to regroup. They won at home, now we need to win at home.”
Easier said than done. The Caps have lost seven of 12 Game 6's all-time when tralling a series 3-2. They were able to reverse history last month when they won a Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, but can they do the same against the Rangers Wednesday?
If the Caps don't, chalk it up to another D.C. disappointment. We're used to it by now.