- Kerry warns of ‘very serious’ response to Crimea-Russia alliance
- Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson’s wife drops restraining order against him
- McDonald’s lawsuits filed over wages ‘stolen’ like Hamburglar steals Big Macs
- HUMPHRIES: Fight like a Democrat – An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell
- Florida board member shocks with ‘Heil Hitler’ salute at town meeting
- Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews inducted into Irish America Hall of Fame
- Military given ‘execute order’ by Obama for secret cyber mission in June
- College group’s diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald’s
- Drug charges against husband of Va. daycare owner
Capitals’ playoff chances dim with each loss
Monday’s defeat ‘a terrible game’
RALEIGH, N.C. — Talk, talk, talk. What the Washington Capitals have said, over and over, is that every game is important right now. Every point means something.
And as much as players want to avoid the standings and focus, Troy Brouwer and others pointed out that self-awareness is essential this time of year. It might only be February, but scoreboard-watching time is here in ear-nest.
Watching the out-of-town scores has been a favorable endeavor for the Caps, as two teams they’re chasing, the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs, have struggled. And that’s what makes this rough road trip even rougher.
“We keep getting breaks, and other teams are helping us,” right wing Mike Knuble said after an embarrassing 5-0 loss Monday to the Eastern Conference cellar-dwelling Carolina Hurricanes. “You watch the standings, and it’s like nobody wants it. And that’s what’s frustrating. Because it’s right there for us, and it’s in our control, and somebody’s got to take it.”
It’s a tight race, with Washington always seemingly one big victory away from gaining confidence and a playoff spot. Yet the Capitals haven’t managed to win consecutive games in more than a month.
“There are chances, but with [the] effort like we have [Monday], we have no chance no matter who we play or what the standings say,” goaltender Tomas Vokoun said. “Just a terrible game. It’s hard to explain. It was just a bad game.”
The defeat at Carolina was tough to take because of two early goals and the obviously attainable points at stake.
“We can’t let teams like that get a good start on us, especially when we need these points. They’re so crucial,” Brouwer said. “Florida lost [Sunday], we were looking good, we were excited about today and then we come out and just flat. Just terrible.”
The Caps now will look to prevent a three-game losing skid Wednesday night at Ottawa.
According to coach Dale Hunter, the Caps will have left wing Alex Ovechkin in the lineup againstt the Senators. The captain played just 15:43 at Carolina, missed six minutes of the second period and could be seen limping around the locker room Monday night.
Ovechkin was given off Tuesday’s practice with what was called a “maintenance day.”
“He had an equipment problem, and we just give him a maintenance day today, so he should be good tomorrow,” Hunter said Tuesday.
The Caps certainly could use their leading scorer in what is virtually a must-win game game, especially with the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaching. A Senators victory would put them nine points head of Washington for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, and a Caps loss would put them in quicksand in their push to make the playoffs.
Regardless of the Panthers‘ situation, the Caps’ inability to excel in important games is an issue.
“We’re not in a playoff spot. Of course there’s concern,” forward Jeff Halpern said. “We still have confidence, but of course there’s concern.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald's
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- Details on ships, planes searching for missing jet
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again