The Washington Capitals ended their long losing streak at six games on Monday. Ovechkinless and saddled with a lineup that had only 17 skaters for a third straight game, the Capitals scored twice in the first 63 seconds and played one of their most complete games of the season against the New York Islanders.
The result was two standings points. For players in the locker room, the feeling must have been a combination of joy and relief. But for many cold, calculating fans at home or on social media, the feeling was reminiscent of that moment you pay a large car repair bill that you can’t really afford: UGHHHHHHHHH.
Or as one disappointed fan put it in a reply to the Capitals on Twitter celebrating the win: “You had one job. ONE JOB”.
Not only did the Capitals help the Pittsburgh Penguins in their race for one of the two wild-card spots in the East (gross), Washington also hurt themselves in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. Bedard is considered a generational talent and the consensus first pick for this year’s 2023 NHL Draft.
The Saskatoon Blades have eliminated the Regina Pats from the WHL playoffs.
Connor Bedard finishes his junior hockey career with:
🔹141 Games played
🔹83 Multi-point games
🔹12 Hat tricks
🔹795 Shots on goal pic.twitter.com/HbNg4O54T5
— 1929Hockey (@1929_hockey) April 11, 2023
Coming into the evening, the Capitals controlled their own destiny. Lose their final three games against the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, and New Jersey Devils and they’d finish the eighth-worst team in the NHL this season and own a 6 percent chance of winning the Draft Lottery. Instead, their victory combined with a clutch(?) 3-0 loss by the Vancouver Canucks to the LA Kings pushed the Capitals up a spot in the standings and brought them back to a crowd of similarly-awful teams.
The two standings points tied the Capitals with the lowly Canucks (who fired coach Bruce Boudreau midseason) at 79 standings points. If you look all the way to the right of the screenshot, you’ll see a column for regulation wins. That’s the first tiebreaker determining placement in the standings. Because the Capitals have four more regulation wins over the Canucks, they slide up to the ninth-worst team in the NHL. They also lost some lotto balls in the process and now hold only a five percent chance at winning the Draft Lottery.
Washington’s final two games against the historically good Boston Bruins and a very good New Jersey Devils team will be very important. The Detroit Red Wings (80) are one point ahead of the Capitals while the St. Louis Blues (81) lead by two. If the Capitals win out, they could find themselves the 11th-worst team by the end of the week and lose even more lotto balls.
As a reminder, the Capitals’ chances of winning the lottery are the following from each of those possible spots.
8th – 6.0%
9th – 5.0%
10th – 3.5%
11th – 3.0%
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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