Caps say intensity of playoff chase will serve them well in postseason

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So THAT’S why the Washington Capitals haven’t made it past the second round in practically forever – they’ve been too good in the regular season.

We never even thought of that one.

Good thing they’re fighting tooth and nail to make the playoffs this time.

“The last two years we’ve been kind of cruising, waiting and seeing what everyone else is doing,” forward Mike Knuble told NHL.com. “I have to believe (battling for a playoff spot down the stretch) makes your team sharper from being on every night.”

Added Mathieu Perreault: “If you look at the last few years, we’re just sitting there wondering who we’re going to play in the first round. When the playoffs would start, maybe we wouldn’t be as sharp as we could. This year it’s going to be a battle to the end, so when the playoffs start we’ll be in the playoff mode and that’ll be a good thing for us.”

Hey, nothing wrong with looking on the bright side of life. But it should be noted the evidence doesn’t support the theory. Other than the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins, there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup winner that’s been under the gun late in the regular season since…um, not sure when, but it’s been a while.

Not to mention, the Caps beat the Rangers in the first round last year. Can’t really blame “wondering who we’re going to play in the first round” for losing in the second round, can you?

Typically the teams that win the Stanley Cup are the teams that, you know, are good enough to win it. And most good teams have good regular seasons…because they’re good.

Maybe the Caps are good enough this year – they’ve got a ton of talent and it’s looking like they could be fully healthy once the postseason begins.

Have to make the playoffs first though.