Nick Bonino Sealed A Penguins Win With An Acting Job For The Ages, But The Capitals Don't Deserve Better
I'm not going to lie. I instinctually felt bad for the Capitals when T.J. Oshie was getting led off the ice with under two minutes to play in a one goal game for waving his stick within a five foot radius of his opponent's face. Maybe it's because I wanted to see overtime, or maybe it's because it just felt like a crappy way to end a close playoff game. Regardless, I was immediately disappointed when the replay showed nothing more than Nick Bonino's acting chops....
....then I thought better of it. What the hell was I doing temporarily sympathizing with a team that's now down 3-1 despite everything else working in their favor this series? The Penguins entered the playoffs without the luxury of one of the best two-way defenseman in hockey. They quickly - and by "quickly" I mean the puck didn't even drop on Game 1 of the opening round yet - lost the starting goaltender that they rode to a Stanley Cup. They played Game 4 without the best player in the world because the "victims" of this bogus high sticking call scrambled his brains - albeit intentionally - two nights earlier. The Penguins luck got so bad that they accidentally started self inflicting injuries to their first liners via friendly fire.
So yeah, the timing may have been shitty because the clock was running out on what was basically a must-win game, but you'd think that the back-to-back President's Trophy winners could overcome just one set of unfortunate circumstances. You'd think the most high powered offense and well-rounded defense in the sport would be able to bury a few more chances when doubling up their opponent's shot total. You'd think they would have the talent advantage to turn an own-goal off the skate of their defenseman into a footnote. You'd think they would actually have a late lead against a rival whose lineup basically limped on to the ice. You'd think one bullshit call wouldn't push them to the brink of another long ass summer. You'd think that the Washington Capitals would actually be able to take advantage when it appeared that fate was dropping them off in the all-too-elusive conference finals. You'd think that they wouldn't end up appearing lucky to avoid a sweep.
After a quick moment of reflection I became happy that Nick Bonino said "fuck it" and threw his head back like he got shot between the eyes. It's about about goddamn time that the Capitals were forced to prove their worth as a charity case that was gifted every opportunity to succeed, and it's downright pathetic that one little act of embellishment has rendered that time all-but-up.