Apr 8, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT
The Washington Capitals need to win out and enjoy a staggering array of breaks to make the playoffs, but they at least did their part on Tuesday, handling the St. Louis Blues to a tune of a 4-1 win.
It was the kind of victory that left many Capitals fans and writers wondering, “Where has this team been all this time?”
… And left St. Louis fans booing a team that is now on its first three-game losing streak of the season:
Oh yeah, if that’s not enough for Blues fans, it appears that David Backes might have a foot injury. Updates were scarce on Tuesday, so that might be something we learn more about it later on.
Circling back to the Capitals’ desperate playoff run, the good news is that they won; the bad news is that the teams ahead of them also almost uniformly improved their leads (most notably the wild card teams). The Detroit Red Wings handled the Buffalo Sabres while the Columbus Blue Jackets managed a spirited overtime win against the even-more-desperate Phoenix Coyotes. Washington basically needs to win out and have at least one of these teams more or less collapse to make it to the playoffs.
See for yourself:
There are now only four teams who can mathematically end up with the two final East spots: Detroit, Columbus, Washington and the New Jersey Devils (who are hanging on by even less of a thread).
The Capitals can top out at 91 standings points, 39 wins and 29 regulation/overtime wins. Want an idea of how likely that may be? Here are the four teams’ closing schedules:
Detroit: Wednesday – at Pittsburgh, Friday – vs. Carolina and Sunday – at St. Louis
Columbus: Wednesday – at Dallas, Friday – at Tampa Bay, Saturday – at Florida
Washington: Thursday – at Carolina, Friday – vs. Chicago, Sunday – vs. Tampa Bay
New Jersey: Thursday – at Ottawa, Friday – vs. NY Islanders, Sunday – vs. Boston
Could Washington finish ahead of at least two of those teams when it’s all over? It’s not impossible, it’s just improbable. They at least kept that door open on Tuesday night, though.
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 2
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 12
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 63
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 31
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 54
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 13
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 10
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (67)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)