By: Jordan Cope, Sports Editor
After defeating a scrappy Philadelphia Flyers team in the first round of the playoffs, it is now or never for the Washington Capitals to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
In previous seasons, the Caps looked poised to make a run at the cup, but fans had their hearts broken.
However, this year could be a different story — one that ends with the Capitals finally capturing the trophy that has been eluding them for so long.
The Caps have a tremendous amount of depth throughout their lineup with the offseason acquisitions of wingers T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams.
In the regular season, Oshie and Williams combined for 48 goals, 55 assists and 103 points. The two also fit nicely into their respective lines and bring playoff experience and veteran leadership.
Washington also added a scrappy Daniel Winnik at the trade deadline.
In addition to a deep roster, the Capitals have a great special teams’ unit on both sides of the puck.
In the regular season, Washington’s power play unit ranked fifth and converted 28 percent of the time when it was a man to the good.
The Capitals also have a penalty kill unit that ranked first in the regular season and killed off 96.8 percent of penalties.
The final piece to Washington’s postseason puzzle of success is the play of goaltender Braden Holtby.
Holtby had a phenomenal year, allowing on average just 2.20 goals per-game and posting a stellar .922 save percentage. Holtby also tied future hall of famer Martin Brodeur’s regular season win record of 48.
Since moving on from their first round victory over the Flyers, the Penguins now stand in the Capitals way of winning the Stanley Cup, again.
In 2009, The Penguins defeated the Capitals in the Eastern Conference semi-finals and eventually went on to win the cup.
So the question remains. Will it be another postseason filled with déjà vu and heartbreak for Washington, or will the team be making the short trip to Pennsylvania Avenue to meet the president?
If the Capitals regular season success all falls into place in the postseason, there is no reason why the team shouldn’t be celebrating its first championship in franchise history.