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After Washington’s 3-0 loss to the lowly Florida Panthers, we can only sum up these past couple of weeks with one word:
It doesn’t matter that it’s not even half way through the season yet. It doesn’t matter that the Capitals are still atop the Southeast Division and near the top of the Eastern Conference. They’ve shown that what it takes to beat them is nothing more than the right amount of determination. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is surging and Sidney Crosby is playing much better than anyone else in the league, a scenario that should leave the Caps shaking in their skates as they head to a grand stage on New Year’s Day.
The fans and the Capitals’ front office expect a team that night in and night out comes out of the locker room with heads full of steam, clawing their way to victory no matter what it takes. Instead, we’re left with extremely talented players wondering why they couldn’t catch a break and have just one of those shots squeak through.
Though this is far from the end, at this point in the season it’s clear that something is not working. Even if the Caps turn it around – and they will – the team with the right amount of willpower – like the Canadiens last year – will be in their way when it really counts.