That sound you hear is self-doubt creeping in, crawling around, and setting itself on fire inside the Capitals and their fans.
I present to you Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, a site with so many horrific pop-ups that it makes CSN Philly look like a stark white effort in minimalism:
If the Capitals have to come back to play a Game 7 here, the only humane thing to do is to close the building — no one gets in. Black it out on television as well. Just announce the score when it’s over.
If they were giving away bracelets at Verizon Center on Friday like they did in Philadelphia two days earlier, Capitals fans wouldn’t have been throwing them on the ice like Flyers fans did.
They would have been finding ways to wrap them around their necks.
The Capitals are opening the door to yet a brand new version of their traditional postseason collapse.
“Everyone talks about the past, the past, the past,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said after the game.
This one, though, this is a new one. They’ve blown 3-1 lead and 2-0 leads in 10 playoff series in their painful franchise history — but 3-0?
They are reaching into new depths of pain.
All this, for a team with a 3-2 lead in a series in which they are clearly the better squad.
— PhilaSportsFix (@PhilaSportsFix) April 23, 2016
And Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post, whose Jeff Bezos-owned site, not surprisingly, provides a much better user experience:
For a franchise that has a long and painful history of struggling in these moments, this was a torturous way to apply pressure. It’s one thing to choke. It’s another to be tagged by bad luck. After a star-crossed 2-0 loss to the Flyers in Game 5, what was a 3-0 series lead has melted down to 3-2. A potential short series is now a long and taxing one. On Sunday, the Flyers return to Philadelphia for Game 6 with a chance to tie the series and extend it to a full seven games. You can feel Washington’s pressure swelling.
If you could attach words to bewildered expressions, they would be terse and emotional.
And, of course, the nail-gnawer: Uh-oh.
During Alex Ovechkin’s 11 seasons in D.C., the Capitals have had six postseason series leads of at least two games. They’ve gone on to win the series just once so far.
Yeah, this series just got real.
Now the Caps have to come back to Philly, where the Ghost of Ed Snider is -1.5 in most sports books. And if the Flyers win, the Caps will have to face three days of questions, at home, about blowing yet another postseason lead.