Mar 19, 2014, 1:07 AM EDT
The odds remain stacked against the Washington Capitals, but maybe they traded for the goalie who can help them overcome such a burden.
Jaroslav Halak is shaping up to be a workhorse for Washington, as he stopped 43 out of 45 shots to help the Caps grab a key 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Capitals head coach Adam Oates said that his team needs to win all three games in a grueling California road trip, so they got the first one out of the way.
Alex Ovechkin was the other difference-maker for Washington, as his league-leading 46th goal also represented the game-winner:
That’s Ovechkin’s ninth game-winning tally of the season, which ties him with Ducks forward Corey Perry for the league lead.
This certainly stands as a big win for Washington, but they’re definitely not out of the woods. The two other bubble teams in the running for the East’s final wild card spot have games in hand, so they might end up needing a little help along the way (they don’t play against Columbus or Detroit again this season).
They also face a rough closing schedule. Consider the following:
- They finish this three-game California trip against Los Angeles and then San Jose.
- Their reward is another game against the Kings and a match against the wrecking ball Bruins at home. Then they play five of six on the road after that.
- With games remaining against other strong teams like Chicago and St. Louis, they don’t have many “layups” left. Playoff hopes-wise, the weakest teams they face are Nashville, Carolina and the Islanders (teams that could be a problem on the right/wrong nights). In other words, Capitals fans might want to buckle up for a roller coaster finish.
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