The offensive talent is ridiculous. The defensive core is as solid as any in the entire league. And there may not be another team in the NHL with more “role” players than the Washington Capitals.
So why haven’t they had more success of late in the NHL playoffs?
They have consistently been let down by their goaltending.
Tomas Vokoun is congratulated by his new teammates of the Washington Capitals. The veteran goaltender may be the missing piece the Caps have needed to bring the Cup to D.C.
Last year looked promising, but it is very hard to rely on such a young group of goaltenders to carry the team all the way through May and June. The three-headed goaltending monster that was comprised of Neuvirth, Varlamov, and Holtby seemed like they would be able to help the Capitals make a Stanley Cup run.
Unfortunately, their youth caught up with them in the end.
The Caps obviously liked their situation between the pipes, because they did not make a trade deadline move to bolster the position. And there was one name that was constantly mentioned in the Mid-Atlantic area at that time of year, Tomas Vokoun. Both the Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers seemed like they were crazy not to deal for the veteran and proven goalie.
Turn the clock forward to the off-season, and who scoops up Vokoun?
You guessed it, the Caps.
And now with the duo of Vokoun and a more experienced Neuvirth, expectations have grown even more inside the Beltway. Injuries have been an issue in the past for Vokoun, but the very talented Braden Holtby is still in the organization, just in case.
This appears as the season with very few excuses for the Capitals. They have arguably the best goal scorer in the league, and lethal power play, a very experienced and solid backline, and now a formidable pair in the nets.
It’s put up or shut up time, in a town where that tactic is rarely employed.
This article was written by Paul Dorn, Southeast Division writer for Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @pdorn10