In addition to the Capitals/Lightning game, there was lots of other on-ice action tonight with many games having some serious playoff implications. On the subject of playoffs, I have to give kudos to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who've made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Carolina's hot streak ended tonight at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-1 loss. And the Florida Panthers defeated the Thrashers by one goal. Things start getting wild and wacky in the last week of the regular season, especially for those clubs clawing for that #8 seed!
Back here in Washington, the Cinderella story has unfortunately come to an end as Bemidji State lost tonight against Miami University in the Frozen Four semi-finals. As Hockey Mom doesn't have a dog in the show, I'd kind of adopted Bemidji State Beavers as my team to cheer on.
As the Caps wait to see who they'll dance with in the first round, they played their second to last game of the regular season against a Lightning team decimated with injuries. Minus the dashing Vincent LeCavalier, the Bolts managed to get on the board fast and furious courtesy of Tampa's numero uno draft pick Steven Stamkos. Stamkos blew one past Theo at only 36 seconds into the first period. But in the second period and beyond, it was all Caps! Brooks Laich lit the lamp twice and David Steckel scored on an assist from Matt Bradley to give the boys a 3-1 advantage going into the third. The Lightning tightened the score to 3-2 late in the third with a fluky deflection goal. But Game Over Green rocketed a puck into the empty net to take the 4-2 win and clench the second spot in the East (loud cheers and applause from the crowds)!
You can definitely start to feel playoff fever - though it hasn't even begun to spike! On the way home from the gym today, I passed two cars (not including mine of course) that were flying their Capitals flags with pride. My friends like to call mine my "pizza man" flag as my red car with the red flag flying usually speeds by so fast, it can be easily confused for the Domino's delivery dude. You know us hockey moms have places to go and people to see!
So we wait to see who we're paired with: the Montreal Canadiens (who are not without Mathieu Schneider - playa was on the ice tonight against the Bruins)or the New York Rangers who have rallied under new coach John Tortorella. Time to start growing those playoff beards gents and let's get this party started!