The Washington Capitals have 23 games remaining in their regular-season schedule. In other words, it’s time for the Caps to really get cracking if they want a shot at making the playoffs for seven years straight. Whether they’re able to do so is dependent on quite a few things–goaltending, defense, and secondary scoring. In other words, the Caps have to improve their overall game.
The situation is further complicated with the trade deadline fast approaching and the possibility of Evgeny Kuznetsov joining the team. With that being said, roster moves aren’t the only woe plaguing the Capitals–an extremely disappointing Sochi Olympics may have thrown some players into a funk, and understandably so.
Alex Ovechkin scored one goal, came under heavy fire for not helping Team Russia medal, and learned that his father had serious heart surgery. Nicklas Backstrom was denied the opportunity to play the biggest game of his career due to his controversial failed drug test. John Carlson lived Team USA’s costly breakdown–one that cost it a medal of any color. Marcus Johansson is the only Capital guaranteed a medal.
Needless to say, these players will be looking to leave these troubles behind. The Caps play their first post-Sochi game on Thursday against the Florida Panthers, a team they shouldn’t have trouble defeating. However, there is no margin for error: the Caps, despite being fifth in the Metropolitan Division, sit just four points out of a playoff spot. Each game–and the points that can be earned from a victory–matters.
Last season was mostly disastrous for the Capitals, who made the playoffs against all odds. Their chances aren’t looking quite as favorable this time around, and it will take another incredible turnaround to qualify for the postseason.
Will the Caps make the playoffs? Have your say below.