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Latest Southeast Division Items
With Otto Porter's return to practice, we look at how his draft classmates are faring including Victor Oladipo. Plus Cartier Martin visits D.C. on Saturday
Let's hope every player, coach, trainer, executive, equipment manager and anyone else associated with the Caps thought over and over and over again, "How cool would it be to do this at Verizon Center next year? We have to make this happen." Yes, they do.
A year ago, thanks to the lockout-condensed NHL season, the Capitals had played seven regular-season games by the time 18 days had passed from the opening of training camp.
The Caps will have to go through a tougher division to make the playoffs and then to reach the East finals. They won the Southeast Division five of the past six seasons but went 8-10-2 against the Penguins, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Hurricanes this year.
Perhaps the early struggles and late run to the playoffs should have been predictable for a rookie head coach, especially given the lockout and shortened training camp. In looking back at his first season running a team, Adam Oates might take all summer to hone his craft for next year and beyond.
Scoring 23 goals in 23 games, he was the reason the Caps' season turned around. But totaling just a goal and an assist in seven games against the New York Rangers made him the focal point of yet another early playoff exit.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin knows full well that his playoff failures are adding up.
Holtby proceeded to stop all 29 shots he faced the rest of the game, and the Capitals’ offense matched that production in Washington’s 3-1 win. It was a promising start to Holtby’s second career playoff appearance and an extension of how well he played during the Capitals’ late-season run to the Southeast Division championship.
After a victory late in the regular season that included two goals by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom was asked if it felt like the "good old days" when the franchise cornerstones powered a high-scoring team. "It depends how it is in the playoffs," he said. "And we weren't that successful in the playoffs in the past."