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Why the Capitals can win the Cup

Wednesday, 04.29.2009 / 12:59 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With enough firepower to fill up the nets and now the experience of how to win under some intense pressure, the Washington Capitals are looking more and more like a true Stanley Cup contender.

A year ago, the Capitals were the darlings of the playoffs after their historic run from worst to first in the Southeast Division. They fell behind to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, but wound up forcing a Game 7 where they lost in overtime.

This year, they paced themselves and rolled to a division title, but again fell behind in the first round. The New York Rangers jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, but the Caps won Games 5 and 6 by a combined score of 9-3 to force a Game 7.

They won in regulation. See what we mean by experience?

"We have been in that situation before and we knew not what to do," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said.

The Pittsburgh Penguins definitely know what to do. You could argue that they're a year ahead of the Capitals because they went to the Stanley Cup Final last year after losing in the first round the year before, their first year in the playoffs with Sidney Crosby.

If that's the case, you could also argue that this year's Capitals could be last year's Penguins. Hey, they also lost in the first round the first year they made the playoffs with Alex Ovechkin.

But it's going to take more than just some logical thinking for the Caps to win.

They need to get their power play revved up again (it was 6-for-33 against the New York Rangers), and they'll probably need more than three goals from Ovechkin to beat the Penguins in a seven-game series.

That being said, after witnessing them rally from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Rangers in seven games, it's fair to ask the age-old question:

Why not?

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com
Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets