Caps Fans Make it Personal – Invoke Karl Alzner’s Dogs for the Win

Posted May 9, 2012

Just this past Saturday, Karl Alzner was talking about how much he would love seeing a two-goal lead.  Tonight, facing elimination before a Game-7 for the first time this playoffs, the Capitals finally acquired such a lead for longer than 3 minutes.  In fact, when a mid-second-period goal by Jason Chimera (10:59) pushed them to 2-0 (adding to Alex Ovechkin‘s tally just 1:28 into the game), they managed to close out the period with the lead intact.  Imagine that!

They then proceeded to hold the lead for a full 20 minutes – something that is bordering on miraculous for this club in the 2012 post-season.  Even though Marian Gaborik spoiled the shutout, they still walked away with a 2-1 victory for goaltender Braden Holtby.

So what changed for the Caps?  Was it the fear of elimination? The desire to atone for the jaw-droppingly unsettling loss on Monday night?  Another Dale Hunter coaching miracle?  Sheer competitive nature?

No. Here at Caps Outsider, we believe that it was something far more effective (and insidious).  In a stroke of sheer genius, the fans brought Alzner’s dogs into it.

Player Pets - Always Effective Motivation (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)

In case you missed out on the drama, the Alzner canines were given a rare night out of their kennels last Wednesday.  “We got bit, because we let ’em out the one time, thought that it would be a nice change for them.  It’s funny, because they’re great dogs – they never do it.  But sure enough, the one time [we let them out].”  You can’t really blame the dogs for getting bored and destructively creative – the game that night ran to triple over-time, and the results when the defenseman arrived home were unfortunate-at-best.

Given that the Caps managed to hold their 2-0 lead for 28:11, earning the eventual win, it’s safe to say that the approach worked.  Having forced a Game 7, the Caps will face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at 7:30 PM.

Credit to the Foe: This man deserves a medal for his work tonight.  Didn’t log the win, but Henrik Lundqvist was even more stand-out than usual.

Henrik Lundqvist gave his teammates every opportunity to tie things up. They failed to capitalize.