Coming into Saturday’s matchup against the New York Islanders, the Washington Capitals, specifically embattled head coach Peter Laviolette, called the game huge due to its possible playoff implications. The Islanders are one of seven teams that are vying for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots.
“It’s a big one,” Laviolette said. “It’s a big game tonight. If we want to move up the standings, this is clearly one of the teams we have to catch and beat.”
Going into that night, MoneyPuck had the Capitals’ chances of making the playoffs at 2.7 percent. After destroying the Isles’ 5-1, the Capitals’ chances improved to (a very nice) 6.9 percent as of Monday morning.
Playoff odds as of Monday https://t.co/2nMPy5I9mv pic.twitter.com/cBfpkftbjD
— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) March 13, 2023
The Capitals, with their 71 standings points, sit five behind the Islanders (76) for the final playoff spot in the East.
They play the Islanders two more times this season and currently have one game in hand.
Among the seven teams in contention, the Caps are tied for the second-worst points percentage (.530) and the second-worst record in its last 10 games (4-5-1).
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan was recently asked on DC101’s Elliot in the Morning how many points he believed the Capitals would need to make the playoffs.
“I think we’re 95/96, around that area,” MacLellan said. “Could be higher depending how teams play down the stretch.”
Going by MacLellan’s estimate, the Capitals would need to go on a run like they did in December (11-2-2) and win at least 12 of their next 15 games to have a chance to play the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. The Caps probably cannot afford to cede a single game to teams in the race with them.
“We do (have some clawing to do),” MacLellan said. “It’s not going to be easy… Hopefully, we can pull it off.”
The Capitals’ record this season, if you slash out their hot December, is 21-26-5.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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