Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin took a page out of Joe Namath and Mark Messier’s book after his team lost to the New York Rangers on Sunday. He guaranteed the Capitals will win in Game 7 on Wednesday and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“We’re going to come back and win the series,” Ovechkin exclaimed after the game. “We’re going to play our game, and we’re going to come back and we’re going to play Montreal or Tampa.”
The Capitals had a 3-1 series lead over the Rangers, the best team during the regular season, and appeared to be on their way to the Conference Finals. However, the Rangers from the regular season finally showed up in Games 5 and 6.
It’s déjà vu for the Rangers. Last year the team came back from a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Semifinals to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins. They ended up in the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Los Angeles Kings.
Ovechkin sounds like Messier, who was captain of the 1994 New York Rangers. The Rangers, like the 2015 Rangers, were the best team in the league, but found themselves down in the conference finals against the New Jersey Devils. Before Game 6, Messier spoke to the media at practice.
“I know we are going to go in there and win Game 6, and bring it back here [Madison Square Garden] for a Game 7,” he proclaimed. “We know we have to win it. We feel we can win it, and we are going to win it.”
He was right. He led the team to domination in Games 6 and 7 to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks to end their 54-year drought without a Stanley Cup.
Messier was the captain, just like Ovechkin. Players are captains for a reason. If Ovechkin wants to keep his promise he needs to step up in Game 7. He only has two goals in this series without any points in the last four games. The Capitals were down 4-1 in Game 6 and managed to rally back to make it 4-3. However, Ovechkin was nowhere to be seen. If he wants to keep his promise he needs to show up and figure out a way to defeat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The Capitals outshoot the Rangers in games, including 45 to 28 in Game 6.
Game 7 is Wednesday at 7:30PM on NBC Sports Network.