As time dwindled down, it was the last of a captivating series, sort of like the one seen in the NBA. Celtics-Bulls have captivated the eyes of basketball devotees. But in hockey, a sport many in the States fail to anoint, finished an appealing series. The Capitals-Rangers was a perfect time to heed the sport, a series that displayed everything a rivalry is made of. In the span of seven games, there was evidence of a rivalry better than the one’s seen in the NBA. There were suspensions handed out by the league and an ill-tempered Rangers' coach John Tortorella, who chucked a water bottle at fans, which banned him from the luxurious bench to the press box.

So the fiercely episodes and physical battles between two brutal teams, anticipated a tense evening at the nation’s capital. It was anticipated that it was going to end in a bloody finish, and it was anticipated that the New York Rangers were attempting to escape with the improbable defeat over the favorable Washington Capitals. Thus, this was unexpected by any means, a seventh game in the first round of a hockey series, was a tangible event and a wonderful feel-good story that grasped our interest as the Rangers damn near surprised the nation at the right place.

A sport we don’t really care for turned into a thrilling festivity that was embraced heavily in part of the world’s greatest hockey player Alexander Ovechkin. That’s why it was a stunning series, when the Rangers controlled fate of the series in the midst of an improbable run that was hindered in Game 7 Tuesday night.

The Capitals celebrated as time expired, embracing a 2-1 victory, salvaged on a tense night in which fans erupted into a rowdy, noisy, red-clapping frenzy. The joyful celebration stopped the improbable, stopped the miracle and stopped the Rangers from advancing to the second round. It was a series that was worth everlasting, and surely the fans are begging for more in the next rounds. And it might come down to another thrilling series, when the Capitals play host to Pittsburgh, a rivalry becoming intense each time they skate the ice. It’s another treat of two young rivalries that’s emerging into a one-on-one duel, Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, the biggest celebrities skating on ice with hockey sticks bigger than the game. Both have magnetized the game, but of course as we know, the series that was breathtaking ended too soon, becoming the mainstream attraction.

And the Capitals finished off the fascinating series, when veteran Sergei Fedorov’s remarkable shot beat Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 4:59 left in the third period, to put the exclamation point on the greatest series by far in hockey. And too bad it might have being the last. Unless the same type of thriller occurs in Penguins-Capitals series. But until then, hockey isn’t the same sport we embraced this past week. I’m sorry, but it’s back to the NBA playoffs “where amazing happens”, a slogan that would have matched the kind of week witnessed in the NHL. But the masses only will watch to see Crosby vs. Ovechkin, or another ravishing series.

It turned out the Capitals pulled off the miracle, and saved their Stanley Cup chances. After all, they’re a liking to hoist the cup and after prevailing through a hard test of the unexpected Rangers, pretty much defined their toughness. Defying the moment and accomplishing it in the final minutes at a desperate and critical moment, with their speed and craftiness to pull it off when it mattered. And any team that came away with the victory was protected, as the venue beefed up security to avoid another fan-coach altercation. After serving a one-game suspension Tortorella returned back to the bench, to stare at the Rangers defensive-challenged. If there’s anything that prolonged the entertaining series, it was the Rangers in-your-face, hard-hitting, physical defense. And on this night none of it worked in their favor, but the last-minute offensive-challenged Capitals managed to capitalize to avoid a first round disappointment.

Still, it’s difficult to win without defense and they certainly stepped it up, protecting their goal and closed it off with the nifty 21-year old goaltender Simeon Varlamov. He shielded the nets and accumulated 139 saves, only giving up seven shots in the entire series. He handled it with calmness and self-assurance, after taken over for the veteran netminder Jose Theodore, who was removed as the starting goalie for his struggles. And the Capitals didn’t have to relay on the veteran goalie to clinch the first round.

With their tenacity and awareness, they found contributions from Milan Jurcina and Shaone Morrison. Each applied the reinforcements defensively, outshining the Rangers cocky and physical defensive-aid Sean Avery. In a contest where intensity was needed, Jurcina racked up a game-high seven hits and two blocks. Morrison finished with six hits and one blocked shot to forestall the Rangers unthinkable clincher.

Now the Capitals will see another series, and Ovechkin will likely win his second consecutive Hart Trophy. He’s the best team player in the league, and the greatest and attractive hockey star among the league. Yes, more attractive than Crosby, yet evidently we’ll see who the better well-rounded star is in the next round. But it was one of the greatest series, and now the league will lose consciousness after it all came to an end. Now you should beg for more breathtaking scenes in hockey, as it seems to be a savor.


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