As the old saying goes, hope springs eternal. For the Washington Capitals, hope in a playoff spot may seem like an eternal shot in the dark right now. Yes, it was great for the Caps to honor captain Alex Ovechkin this past weekend with a tribute for passing “Mr. Hockey” Gordie How and rightly so – Ovechkin is the face of this franchise and has given his entire career to bringing success to this organization. However, honors aside, the time is now to win out every last remaining game or the only playoff seat the Caps will have will be in their own living room recliners.
Is there any playoff hope at all?
The answer to this question is of course there is. The Washington Capitals could make the playoffs and actually win the Stanley Cup this season. Just don’t bet on it. The Caps are looking to make their ninth consecutive playoff run and with time ticking, each loss is mounting up and points are slipping away.
The Washington Capitals sit currently at 33-31-8 which is a winning record but right now, multiple other teams in the Eastern Conference have winning records too. With 74 total points, the Caps sit not one but two spots away from a wild card run right now. The Caps have fallen relatively flat in the last ten games with a 4-4-2 record which isn’t horrible but the Florida Panthers have moved ahead of the Caps with 79 points including a 7-2-1 run the last ten games. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders have 80 and 82 points, respectively and baring a last-second collaps, these two teams should have the Eastern Conference wild card lock.
That being said, a collapse by either team with the last stretch of the season upon us means that other teams such as the Panthers could be ready to pounce on an open wild card spot. Where does this leave the Caps? With ten games left in the season, the Caps could pull off a last-second wild card run and if they can finish the season with a near-perfect effort, they still are in the wild card race mathematically.
Blueliner John Carlson is back in the linup finally after taking a puck to his face just before Christmas and fellow defeneman Rasmus Sandin has been a value trade asset since joining the Caps with a goal and 10 assists in just eight games with his new club. Hope does spring eternal and as the trees and flowers start blooming again here in early spring, the NHL isn’t quite over yet. The Caps still have a chance to make the Stanley Cup playoffs but time is ticking.