- - Friday, May 6, 2016

Jason Chimera has played in all 61 of the Washington Capitals’ playoff games since 2010. He hopes that Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday is not his last.

“I was thinking a lot about that yesterday,” Chimera said after practice on Friday. “You don’t want to go down like this.”

Chimera turned 37 this week and is one three Capitals players who could become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The others — Mike Richards and Mike Weber — were midseason acquisitions. Chimera has been a fixture in the Capitals’ lineup since he was acquired for then-captain Chris Clark in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 28, 2009.

“If this is going to be the last time with these guys, you want to go out as a champion,” said Chimera, who has played 951 career regular-season games, but has never advanced past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“You don’t want to go with another playoff exit early. You want to put your best foot forward and get going from there. I’ve been through a lot with these guys and if this is the last stand, you don’t want it to end tomorrow.”

The Capitals trail the Penguins, 3-1, in their second-round series and barring three consecutive wins, Washington will see another Presidents’ Trophy-winning campaign reach a premature end. Pittsburgh hasn’t lost three in a row since Dec. 19.

“You’ve got to keep going, keep pushing forward, and we’ve got some good things left here,” Chimera said. “It’s a great bunch of guys, a great city and you want to win with these guys, so I will do everything in my power to do that tomorrow.”

Chimera matched his career-high with 20 goals in 82 games during the regular season, but has been limited to one goal in 10 games in the playoffs.

He has maintained throughout the season that this is the best team he’s ever been a part of and has acknowledged that it could be both his best and final chance to win the Stanley Cup.

That window is quickly closing, and given his uncertain future, Chimera can’t help but wonder if he’ll get this close again.

“You think about it a lot. It’s your last year here — you don’t know where you’re going to be next year. I’ve stressed that I want to be here, I don’t want to go anywhere else and hopefully it all works out for the best, but it does creep into your mind.

“There are no better people to win it with than the people in this dressing room, so we aim to do that. Still, there’s a long ways to go and by far we’re not even close to being done. I have no doubt that guys will lay it on the line tomorrow — we have a lot of pride, a lot of friends in here, guys who have been through a lot together, so it’s going to be a fun day tomorrow.”

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