Saturday, June 29, 2013

Matchup 2: #2 Easter Epic vs. #3 Blowing a 3-1 lead to Pittsburgh (in '92)

The second matchup in this epic contest commences, as the Easter Epic takes on the Caps blowing their 3-1 series lead to Pittsburgh in 1992.

The Caps blew a 3-1 lead twice, but the one most longtime fans remember is the '92 version, because it was the second playoff installment between these two new rivals, and it quickly began their hatred between each other. It will be tough to decide between this and the Easter Epic, but that's what I'm here for!

So... let's begin.

The Easter Epic was a Game 7, which automatically makes it uber-important. Plus, it was an OT game, where the next goal equals next round.
The 3-1 lead was important, not in a very tangible aspect, but in a mental aspect. Without that, chances are we may never have been able to have this beautiful rivalry with Pittsburgh. Still, the Epic was more important physically, and that should give it an edge.
Advantage: Easter Epic

This is a lot closer than importance. For the Epic, the biggest impact was that the Caps were first known as playoff chokers, which is not really the impact you go for.
The Blown Lead's impact is a lot easier to recognize, as that lead truly began this amazing rivalry with the Penguins. That is more than enough of an impact for me.
Advantage: Blown 3-1

Shock Factor:
This is also really close. For the Epic, this was stunning because the Caps had thoroughly dominated the game, outshooting the Islanders 75-57. Isles goalie Kelly Hrudley had been sensational throughout, and considering the SOG, the Caps should have won easy.
Blowing a 3-1 lead is always stunning, and doing so when you have home ice against the defending champs (a team you would love to beat) makes it even more shocking. This is very, very close.
Advantage: Push

Grudge/Hate Factor:
This would have been an easy call if the Easter Epic was not against the Islanders. The Caps have played the Isles six times in the playoffs, and lost 5. They've played the Pens eight times and lost 7. I feel there is too much history on both sides to give this one decisively.
Advantage: Push

I didn't think one up. I didn't know it would be necessary.

But in the end, I guess I'm going to go with the Easter Epic. The main reason for this? They had beaten the Isles the year before. They had dominated the game. They were supposed to win. And, they now had a reputation as chokers. This was an extremely tough call, but because of all these reasons listed, as well as the awesome name it has in hockey lore, the Easter Epic will take on the 4OT loss to Pittsburgh in the semifinals.

Coming up next, the first round matches in the OV era. Stay tuned!

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