The Washington Capitals kept up a brave face during their eight game losing streak. They said all the right things and didn’t make any reckless personnel or front office moves, but judging from their raucous reaction to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, there’s no doubt that a weight’s been lifted off the team’s shoulders.
Katie Carrera of the Washington Post writes that the jubilant mood in the Caps’ locker room was in stark contrast to the tense environment during the skid.
People who love to beat up on the Capitals for being a team that thrives during the regular season but cannot win in the playoffs will use these quotes as bulletin board material. Here are some of the reactions from Washington players and coaches.
(One can only imagine that Boudreau’s post-game speech was littered with happy f-bombs last night.)
Mathieu Perreault: “It felt like we won a championship, it’s been so long since we’ve won. It’s a great feeling.”
Nicklas Backstrom: “It feels good to finally win again, I almost forgot how it was to win so it’s a good feeling. I missed it.”
Michal Neuvirth: “It’s unbelievable. It’s like my second-best game ever after the ones where I won the Calder Cup. This is the second-best feeling ever, it’s such a relief.”
Then there’s Coach Bruce Boudreau, just as happy as anyone that the streak is over, but he wasn’t slow to point out that one out of nine is just a start.
“In the sense that we’ll be able to sleep tonight, I think it was a big win,” Boudreau said. “As a coach just looking at the players’ faces and seeing them happy instead of grinding and everything, it’s a huge win. But in the end it’s one out of nine so it’s not like we’re out of the woods. I thought we competed really hard tonight, especially after getting down 2-0, but they can enjoy it for 10 minutes and then we’ve got another game on Tuesday.”
Some people might overreact to Washington’s overreaction, but let’s not forget that they’re all people anyway. It’s natural to react to the end of a losing streak in an ecstatic way, especially when you carry the burden of expectations like the Capitals.
Congrats to the Caps, but now it’s time for them to generate a winning streak.
They might need to do so without Alexander Semin for a bit, though. He’s out with a lower-body injury and while Carrera writes that the extent of the injury is unknown, he was scratched from the team’s games this weekend.