April 6, 2011
There was a lot of celebrating going on in Gallery Place Saturday night, as Caps fans emptied the Verizon Center still cheering their team on. The Caps topped the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in overtime. The win put the team in that familiar No. 1 spot atop the Eastern Conference. Caps leader Alex Ovechkin, back on the ice after taking time off to heal an undisclosed injury, was the hero of the night. He scored 3:19 minutes into overtime and celebrated with an impromptu ice dance.
The OT victory put the Caps at 103 points, one ahead of the Flyers. Philly has four games left this season, while Washington has only three, which leaves room for the Flyers to reclaim No. 1. That is, if they can get out of their three game slump and if the Caps should suddenly stop winning. While the Caps surely want to end the season on a high note, there’s no doubt the team is in playoff mode, ready to take their overtime wins all the way to the Stanley Cup.
Elsewhere in the city, VCU fans left bars without much to cheer about. The Rams electrified the region, as they knocked out big name schools like Purdue and Kansas University (even Georgetown) on their spectacular title run. Their run ended on Saturday in their Final Four meeting with Butler. While the game was close, Butler led at half-time and outscored VCU 36-34 in the second half. The Bulldogs were also able to stop the Rams on defense and had 26 free throw attempts to VCU’s 13. The Bulldogs pulled away in the final minutes, winning 70-62. They will face No. 3 seed UCONN in the title game this evening.
If the opening 3-game series against the Braves was any indication, the Nats have a lot of work to do. The revamped team took the field on Thursday, hoping for an Opening Day win against their division rivals. Instead, they got shut out, 0-2. They fared much better on Saturday, despite the rain delays and threats of postponement. Rick Ankiel’s two-run shot in the third inning proved to be the deciding factor, helping the Nats to their first win of the season. Alex Gonzalez went 3 for 3 with a homer of his own, pushing the Nats to 6-3. With the series tied at one apiece, the Nats took the field with hopes of coming out on top Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Braves embarrassed the home team once again, highlighted by a six-run eighth inning. The Nats were only able to put runs against the Braves’ 11. It’s only three games into the season, but the Nats are already in that familiar last place.
With six games left in the season, the Wizards are certainly trying to end on a high note. They’ve had back-to-back wins against the Cavaliers and Bobcats and seem to be doing well despite the loss of some of their best players. John Wall served a one-game suspension and sat out the match against the Cavs–which the team won, 115-107. Hamady Ndiaye was on the bench for the 97-91 win against the Bobcats, having injured himself during pre-game warm-ups. Aside from his one-game suspension — caused by an altercation with a Miami Heat player during last week’s match-up — Wall, along with Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans have been playing almost the entire game, due to injuries and absences of other players such as Josh Howard, Rashard Lewis and Nick Young. Despite a limited roster, the Wizards have broken the 20-win mark and have the appearance of ending the season strong.