“The team will make the playoffs, as I promised, ten to fifteen years in a row.”
– Ted Leonsis, 2011.
The Wings got a point and the Jackets beat the Stars, thereby officially eliminating the Washington Capitals from playoff contention. After six straight years of making the postseason, the Caps will be tearing down after their final game on Sunday. There will be no Capitals playoff games for me to write about. I don’t know what to do with my hands.
Summer beckons. Tee time. Watching someone else win the Cup. Watching Pittsburgh flame out in the first two rounds. Watching the Os and the Nats. Drinking frozen mai tais poolside. People getting fired. The draft. People getting hired. Free agency. Dev camp. Sunburns. And then we’ll do it all again in the fall.
We invite you to wail in grief below. Come join the GIF party.
Brouillette rides Oshie through the defensive zone. (Photo: Tom Gannam)
Put your knives away for one more night. The Washington Capitals played a tough road game against the St Louis Blues and came out victorious. Thanks to the novel concept of top-six forwards playing in the top six, the Caps survived an elimination game against a great opponent.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in the first period, a signature Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. The Blues, who dominated even-strength play, got one of their own off Maxim LaPierre’s stick early in the second period, but Mikhail Grabovski fired a slapshot from the faceoff dot to restore the Caps lead a bit later. Ovechkin served up Nick Backstrom for a rare even-strength goal late in the second period, creating a two-goal lead going into the third period. Uh oh.
Okay, relax. Backstrom unleashed a wrister from the circles early in the third.
We should not be surprised by this. The Capitals were never good at even strength. In week one we said, “These numbers do not describe a good even-strength team at all.” Almost eighty games later, and that has not changed. The only teams who do worse than the Caps during 5v5 (which is how about 75% of their season has been played), are the following: the Avalanche, Oilers, Leafs, Sabres. That is poor company.
So while this season is a foregone conclusion, the Caps must now decide who they will become in the future: a bottom-five team or not.
The Caps beat the Islanders 4-3 in the shootout, but if you were peeping at CSN Washington you might have got the wrong idea. An innocent mistake from the graphics department for sure, but imagine for a second how great that would’ve been.
It would’ve been the biggest blowout ever– tying with Montreal beating Quebec by the same score in 1920. Troy Brouwer and Nick Backstrom would have scored twin hat tricks. Jay Beagle would have scored two. Alex Ovechkin would, naturally, have done the Ovechtrick. All three goals against would have been scored while shorthanded.
With a 1.2 percent chance of a postseason, the Washington Capitals were basically playing for pride against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. I’m supposed to be analyzing these games in addition to just recapping them, but I’m having a hard time sussing out exactly what we just watched.
Are they thick and proud? Are they a mess? Is all coming together? Is there any urgency? Are they surging late? Have they given up?
I’m gonna go with contradictory yes across the board. The Caps went into a two-goal hole, and then climbed out, and I don’t know what to make of that.
Cal Clutterbuck struck first for the Isles, taking advantage of the Brouillette-Strachan defensive pairing. Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it up in the second period after a pass from Marcus Johansson that was either brilliant or dumb luck. The Isles struck back 90 seconds later, as a Caps opponent is wont to do. Frans Nielsen made it 3-1 for the Isles on an iffy goal, but Nicky Backstrom returned fire a little after the halfway mark by cleaning up a broken play. The third line (Mojo edition) continued to be insane-o with Joel Ward’s game-tying goal, his 23rd of the season.
The third period was quiet. Too quiet. Overtime too. So, here we go again…
This could not come at a better time. Once and future Caps forward Brooks Laich starred in a segment with Cabbie Richards of TSN called “Five Things Every Man Should Know.” Guest-starring Dustin Penner and Evgeny Kuznetsov– as girls, the video teaches you (not me) everything you (not me) need to know about how to be a manly man.
Brooks guides us (you mostly) through the vagaries of manly tasks we (you) so often get wrong. It’s indispensable viewing: instructive, entertaining, has nothing to do with the Caps’ season, and features D.P. and Kuzya as girls.
Ian and I were born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, which is the greatest city on the face of the Earth. This is relevant information, because now we’re inviting you to town.
Our hometown baseball team, the Frederick Keys, are having their hockey night on Saturday, April 12. We’ve missed the event two years in a row, but we’re definitely going this time– because Craig Laughlin and Alan May will be there! And we want you to come too.
We’ll eat peanuts, drink beers, talk hockey, watch baseball, and generally have a blast.