Caps understand a low margin of error for the rest of the season originally appeared on NBC SportsWashington
WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders put together about as a hockey game as you can imagine Wednesday night.
Only two goals – one by each team in less than three minutes in the middle stages – were usually scored. Both sides had several great chances in extra time, but goalkeepers Darcy Kuemper and Ilya Sorokin took turns making impressive saves. 65 minutes of hockey wasn’t enough to determine a winner.
Still, it was the capitals that were on the wrong side of the shootout He lost a crucial point on Wednesday night as the team tried to make a final push for a ninth straight postseason finish.
“It’s tough that we lost a point,” said head coach Peter Laviolette after the game. “A point is a big thing at the moment. It’s frustrating. It was tight out there. We knew it was going to be like that.”
With just seven games left in the regular season, the Capitals (77 points) need every point they can get. Washington is currently five points behind Pittsburgh, who have a game in hand for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals are also chasing Florida (81 points). Like Washington, Buffalo and Ottawa also have 77 points.
The harsh reality is that if the Capitals are to make the postseason, they’ll likely have to win at least six of their last seven contests and need some help along the way.
“We know how it looks. We can count,” said defender Trevor van Riemsdyk after the game. “We know where we are. It’s going to take a bloody April here. We’ve done it before.”
The Capitals have been on the wrong end of two hard breaks in their last two contests. On Saturday in Pittsburgh, the group made an exciting three-goal comeback only to allow the Penguins to score 1:20 in the third period. On Wednesday, the Capitals played 65 minutes of strong defensive hockey but failed to prevail for two points in the shootout.
The frustration was evident in the dressing room after Wednesday’s contest, but the group remain confident heading into the final seven-game stretch.
“We had a damn good December in which we lined up a few,” said van Riemsdyk. “We’re healthy right now, we’ve got everyone back. There’s no reason why we can’t do it again. We will focus on what we can control and win the games in front of us. If that’s enough — we hope it is — but that’s all we can control.”
The Capitals also don’t have time to reflect on the last two losses. The team flew to Tampa after Wednesday’s game and will play Lightning Thursday night (7 p.m. NBC Sports Washington).
“We have [an] Opportunity to recover and get two points,” said Nicklas Backstrom. “That has to be our mindset. … to be able to play again [Thursday] night, yes, we look forward to it.”
“We have to win a game,” added Laviolette. “We’re going down there to win a hockey game. We need to get over this, come down and get ready for this game.”
Source : sports.yahoo.com