By: Jordan Cope, Staff Writer
On the ice and on the hardwood, the Washington Capitals and Wizards both look poised to make a serious playoff run for the first time in a long while.
The prospect of the Capitals and Wizards making a deep playoff run has brought a wave of energy and excitement to the D.C. Metro Area and even to the greater Baltimore area.
The Wizards kicked off the playoff excitement in our nation’s capital by sweeping the Toronto Raptors, 4-0, in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
This was the first time in franchise history that the Wizards completed a postseason sweep.
Led by John Wall, Bradley Beal and the grizzled veteran Paul Pierce, the Wizards look as though they could give any team a run for their money this postseason.
Along with a strong play from Wall, Beal and Pierce, the Wizards big men and defense played extraordinarily well in the series with the Raptors, making the team a well-rounded group.
After a bit of a downward spiral toward the end of the regular season, it is great to see the Wizards playing their best in the postseason.
So, four wins down and just 12 more to go for the Wizards to capture their first NBA title since the 1978-79 Washington Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics.
In their next series, the Wizards are playing the Atlanta Hawks, who beat them three out of four times in the regular season.
While the numbers against the Hawks weren’t pretty in the regular season, the Wizards could easily beat them if they played like they did against the Raptors.
After the Wizards completed their sweep of the Raptors, the Capitals made some noise of their own in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
Evgeny Kuznetsov collected the puck near the boards on the right wing, skated through an area of open ice and fired a shot top shelf past Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 game seven win, and a series clinching victory over the New York Islanders.
In a series that went back and forth, the Capitals showed their resilience by earning a hard-fought 4-3 victory in game two without their number one goalie, Braden Holtby, in net.
In game four of the series, the Capitals pulled out another difficult win in overtime by a final score of 2-1 on Long Island in front of a rowdy Nassau County Coliseum crowd.
If the Capitals want to keep their hopes for the Stanley Cup alive this year, they will have to get through the defending Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers.
The Rangers are arguably one of the best teams in the league this year and were able to finish the Pittsburgh Penguins in just five games in the first round.
Led by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and superstars Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Carl Hagelin, the Rangers will be a tough team to beat.
If the Capitals are going to be able to take a bite out of the Big Apple this series, the team’s star and captain, Alex Ovechkin, will need to be fully present.
In the series with the Islanders, the Capitals won three out of four games that Ovechkin recorded a point.
The Capitals will also need their young net-minder, Braden Holtby, to be on top of his game.
In the series with the Islanders, the Capitals won three out of four games when Holtby allowed only one goal.
Without a doubt, Ovechkin and Holtby will be the X-factors for the Capitals in their series with the Rangers.
With the Capitals and Wizards peaking at the right time of the season, both teams have serious potential to capture a coveted championship.
The fact that both teams have been performing so well at the most exciting point of the season has and will continue to bring a wave of energy and excitement to the D.C. Metro area and even the greater Baltimore area.