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Caps playoff scenarios

With nothing but pride on the line in these last two regular season games, many on the top-seeded Washington Capitals have turned their attention to their first-round opponent and the chase for the Eastern Conference's 8th playoff spot.

If you haven't noticed (and I'm guessing you have), there's a logjam at the bottom of the playoff standings with sixth-place Montreal just three points ahead of ninth-place New York after the Rangers defeated Toronto last night. One person who's been driving himself crazy trying to keep track of everything is Coach Bruce Boudreau, who has been staying up late every night watching each game that could determine playoff seeding.

"I look at the computer every day so many times, thinking the scores will change during the day and if you ask me who I think we're playing, I have no idea," said Boudreau. "I thought it would be clear a little bit but I keep saying every day, 'Tonight, it will be clear.'"

Chances are, though, the Capitals' playoff opponent won't be decided until Sunday, the final day of the NHL regular season. Here's how the standings look right now:

6 Montreal: 87 points; Remaining Games: Tonight at Carolina, Saturday vs. Toronto
7 Philadelphia: 86 points; Remaining Games: Fri. at New York, Sun. vs. New York
8 Boston: 85 points; Remaining Games: Tonight vs. Buffalo, Sat. vs. Carolina, Sun. at Washington
9 New York: 84 points; Remaining Games: Fri. vs. Philadelphia; Sun. at Philadelphia


There are literally dozens of scenarios that could play out these last few days of the regular season because of the overtime point system utilized by the NHL and the fact that the first tiebreaker for playoffs spots is number of wins, not head-to-head matchups. According to sportsclubstats.com, heading into tonight's NHL action there's a 47 percent chance the Capitals face the Bruins, a 22 percent chance they face the Flyers, a 20 percent chance they face the Rangers and an 11 percent chance they face the Canadiens.

"It's fun to watch to see these teams playing for their lives like we were two years ago," said defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. "We're interested to see who we're gonna play. It's tight, it's probably gonna come down to the last game like it has every year, so props to the schedulers. That three-point system makes it really tight."

Here's what I could surmise from all this bedlam at the bottom of the playoff standings:

Despite being on the outside looking in, the Rangers control their own destiny with two games against Philadelphia left. If they win both in regulation, they're in. If they win both in overtime or a shootout, however, Philadelphia wins the tiebreaker by virtue of having more wins than New York. If Boston loses its last three games, the Rangers and Flyers would be the seventh and eighth seeds in this scenario. But one Boston win would give the Bruins the seventh seed and the Rangers or Philadelphia the eight seed.

If New York gets three points in its final two games, the Rangers and Flyers would be tied with 87 points and Philadelphia would finish ahead of New York based on having more wins this season. Whether the Flyers would be the seventh or eighth seed in this scenario would depend on Boston's performance in its last three games. So obviously, all Philadelphia must do to make it into the playoffs is win once against New York. If the Rangers get just two points in their final two games, the only way New York would get in would be for Boston to lose its last three games in regulation.

With one game in hand compared to the rest of its competition, Boston has the most opportunities to lock up a playoff spot. But the Bruins' seeding scenario gets a little tricky because they have the least amount of wins (36) amongst the four teams jockeying for the postseason. So even though 87 points would likely put Boston in at least a tie for the final playoff spot, if those two points come courtesy of overtime losses, the Bruins would probably lose a tiebreaker to both Philadelphia and New York.

Montreal is the easiest scenario to figure out. With one point in its final two games, Montreal clinches a playoff spot. With one win, the Canadiens would not face the Capitals in the first round. If the Canadiens lose out, well, then everything gets even crazier.

"I'm paying attention, not to the point where I care who we play, (but) honestly it's just kind of exciting to see how it will play out," said defenseman Joe Corvo. "Just the drama of the whole thing is what interests me."

So if you're a Caps fan - or a player or coach for that matter - chances are you're going to head home (or to your favorite sports bar) from Sunday's noon season finale against Boston to watch New York and Philadelphia face off at 3 p.m.

By Mark Giannotto  |  April 8, 2010; 4:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Who's between the pipes?

Comments

@Easy
Thank you very much for the link where ‘Stars fan evaluating the refs’.
http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=19456944&postcount=517
Absolutely tremendous work!!!
My advice to everybody who love the game of hockey (doesn’t matter which team you support) to read it.

I feel very sorry, for Pittsburgh fans. Yes, I want Washington to win Stanley cup, but I don’t want them to win in the same way like Pittsburgh did last year.

Posted by: michaelnonna | April 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Please....."Canadiens," not "Canadians."

Posted by: 1995hoo | April 8, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Sunday's game is not at 3:00, last I checked.

Posted by: apa67 | April 8, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

apa67: read the last paragraph again..

I don't want the CanadiEns because they have a great PP and Halak and our PK's still pretty bad. At this point I'm kinda hoping for the Bruins... or the Flyers

Tomorrow's game is a "pad your stats" game! How about 2 goals and 2 assists, Ovie? Is that too much to ask for? ;)

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

This should have been said forever ago, but for some reason I forgot to post it:

Does anyone remember two years ago when the Caps were making their big run and the refs absolutely screwed them over in Boston (I remember a penalty on Erskine that was ridiculous that gave Boston a 5 on 3)? Anyways, if you remember the game you know what I am talking about, the Caps ended up losing 2-1.

It's weird how things come full circle, and how the refs screwed the Bruins over a little bit the other night in the Caps/Bruins game when Boston is now clawing for a playoff spot. The missed high stick call which would have been a 4 minute penalty, the first goal still being very debatable about actually crossing the line, etc.

Anyways, I just think it's weird how the roles were reversed two years later. That's all.

Posted by: Aldred15 | April 8, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Aldred15: That Boston loss two years ago was the same game where Brash got a six-minute penalty late in the game (triple minor) and then there was another penalty along the way to make it 5 on 3. And it was the same weekend as we lost to the Pens I think in OT. Almost ruined playoff chances.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 8, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I feel very sorry, for Pittsburgh fans. Yes, I want Washington to win Stanley cup, but I don’t want them to win in the same way like Pittsburgh did last year.

Posted by: michaelnonna | April 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I really don't care how they win it... as long as they win it, who gives a darn how???

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Root for the Habs to win. To me, that's the clearest.

Otherwise, I'll be rooting for the Rags to lose one.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

no fan ever remembers the "bad" calls by the refs when their team benefits from them... all they ever remember is the calls that screwed their team

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@joek443, exactly right. Everyone B*tchs about the Pens PP advantage the other night, when we were fortunate there wasn't even a review on the quick whistle as the puck was pretty close to crossing the line or the fact that we got a whistle at all.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

And it was the same weekend as we lost to the Pens I think in OT. Almost ruined playoff chances.

Posted by: tominfl1

It was the game on Sunday where we were tied at 2 with them and Nick accidently scored on Huet... those were two crushing blows and I remember people saying the Caps were done after that weekend.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

There has been enough statistical and analytic information on the web recently about the Pens-Caps games that I have to believe that someone (Ted?)will force the NHL to look into it. Given the NBA officiating scandal, I don't think the NHL can afford to just look the other way. I don't believe there are secret meetings where the refs are given instruction on which team to favor. But there appear to be strong subconscious biases at play here. A lot has been written about such factors in the racial discrimination area involving subtle, rather than overt, bias.

Posted by: zmega | April 8, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

good to see Gary Thorne doing hockey on espn even if it's just college hockey... read something on yahoo a couple weeks that Bettman has been telling the owners that he can more than double the TV revenue when it's up for a new deal after next year.

he apparently believes that fox and/or espn will get in on it.

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Toronto looked awful against the Rangers yesterday, so I would think Montreal would be a cinch to win the game against the Leafs, fwiw.

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 8, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

@joek443, exactly right. Everyone B*tchs about the Pens PP advantage the other night, when we were fortunate there wasn't even a review on the quick whistle as the puck was pretty close to crossing the line or the fact that we got a whistle at all.

Posted by: Sonyask
-------------
They don't review plays to determine when the whistle was blown, because all that matters is intent to whistle. The ref could have intended to blow the whistle a full second before it was blown.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | April 8, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected. We still caught a heckuva break. The league just wants the Caps to win, I guess.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

joek443: If the TV revenue goes way up, the salary cap will likewise. That will make it easier to sign guys like Semin, Laich and Green who are the next group to re-up once the group of Backie, Flash, Schultz and Fehr are taken care of this offseason.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 8, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

One of the players agents I heard interviewed the other day said he expects based on this seasons revenues the salary cap will go up about $900000 in 2010/11. Its probably bottomed out with the economy last year so onward and upward.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 8, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, we'll see how Boston does tonight in order to partially determine the playoff scenarios.

Nothing like home and home between the Rangers and Flyers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 8, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I do hope the NHL does get a better tv contract or two so the Cap's cap is high enough to resign Backis, Flash, Fehr, and Theo -- yes, Theo. He has been pretty darn good this year and Varly a bit shaky since the injuries.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 8, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I know this is from the previous thread (or two) but I've noticed that it's our fourth line guys (like Stecks and Bradley) who keep getting dinged up and need a rest. Walker, who's also done our fourth line, is finally recovered from his injury.

I hope a rest for Knuble will do him good for the playoffs. Even if he's out for a game (for a rest), we have able replacements for right wing. Semin has functioned effectively on the 1st line. And Fehr has functioned effectively on the 2nd line.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 8, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

the new tv deal is still a year away and Theo is an UFA at the end of this year so it won't have any effect on that situation.

right now each team gets 2.5 mil/year from versus. even if they double the money, heck even triple the money, I don't think it will be enough to make a huge difference.

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I would take the Flyers. There is no way, Brian Boucher could win four games in a seven game series against the Caps. I know its about the team, but it starts with the goalie. The Caps would exploit him in a seven game series.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 8, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

The NHL has already announced the Salary Cap will go up 900k next season.

Posted by: robostop10 | April 8, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I've voiced the same concerns about the Flyers as others have; I'd rather not face the blatant efforts to rough up our players in advance of the next round.

Then again, if they are the ones that's fine too. It'll get us in a physical mode.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Corvo had an interesting take considering he's played against and with Green this season.

"Any time you're successful, it's kind of boring and people try to pick out your flaws as you're going along. It'd be easy to pick out for him just because he's not the most physical defenseman, but he's plus-I-don't-know-how-much and I think his numbers just speak for themselves. ... He's got my vote."

------------

who is corvo to talk about Green not being the most physical dman. Ridiculous. Go crawl back into your powder room Joe.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 8, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Dude...anyone watching the Isles - Pens debacle and see the Dupois interference non call on Cindys goal. Dude...even the Pitt announcer was joking about the interference call. Exhibit A of why the NHL will never expand...what a shame.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

That was a pretty sick shot by Crosby for #49.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

nothing will improve this team's character more than having to persevere through a round with the Flyers, or a Flyer-like team. If you can't beat a team despite having a significant skill advantage over them, you don't deserve to advance. Because it means you mentally caved in to a meaner team.

And if we lose to them, then its more proof that McPhee's vision is unbalanced. He'll need to address the grit issue if we lose to a team like the Flyers.

that being said, bring on the Flyers. It'll either toughen up the team heading into round 2, or it will expose weaknesses that will have to be addressed in the offseason. Either way, its a good thing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 8, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with that post wholeheartedly, cstanton1.

I think the biggest question for this team is whether they have the nasty and grit to make a deep playoff run.

We aren't perfect but we have enough talent.

Even a team like Pittsburgh, who the casual fan thinks of as a skill team, gives us trouble because of their gritty, physical role players.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1, I think we will be able to handle them well, but I can see the benefits to an early physical contest.

Stamkos gets another one too tonight, in addition to Crosby. I'm going to the last 2 of the season and hoping to see great things here.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Cindy did get a nice block on that goal.

Maybe Ovie will get a few screen passes tomorrow night!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 8, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh has been one of the grittiest teams in the league for the last 3 yrs. But its overshadowed by their skill.

If I had to nail down the Caps' "personality" type, its somewhere between gritty and soft. I think the only time we really play with any kind of true grit is when we're backed against the wall. I think if the Flyers went up 2 zip on us here at home, we would go into Philly and play 2 very hardnosed competitive games. While that's a good attribute to have, its not a good thing to only respond when you're behind. Sometimes the hole gets too big to dig out of. We don't initiate, but we do respond. The Flyers always initiate. That's how they overcome their skill gaps.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 8, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

One of the best things about having a franchise player like Ovechkin is that he is naturally wired for playoff hockey.

Some will say "but he hasn't won anything" and my response would be that it's not his fault.

You don't very often in this day and age find cornerstone players that have the mix of skill and physical play that Ovechkin brings to the table.

Despite his flaws and his present day lack of postseason success, he is by defintion built for the playoffs.

This team would be softer than butter without a player like him in the mix. I just hope that enough of the other players step up their mental and physcial intensity in about a week.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

@wtf fehr

Yeah...not saying that Crosby's shot wasn't good, just that there was a NFL grade A tackle right in front of him. A NFL dman would be proud :)

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

LMAO @ philly winning the first two playoff games at VC should they meet...

I bet most philly fans don't even think that would be possible

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

the only way a team like philly can beat the Caps is the same way the Rangers beat the Caps in '86 when Vanbiesbrouck played outta his mind...

Is Brian Bouchet capable of playing like that? I seriously doubt it

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Agreed again, cstanton.

Like Philly, Pittsburgh and several other teams also intitiate the physical, gritty play. They don't sit back and react to the physical play of their opponents. Defensively and on the forecheck, you can expect both Philly and the Rangers to bring it from the drop of the puck in game 1.

Are the Caps going to meet that push and push back?

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Isles SUCK...anyone on this board can line up to score now

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

50

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

The 50th in question def. changed direction off of Guerin...even the Pitt announcers are saying that...even Crosby thought it hit him...will be curious if anything changes...

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

there is no friggin' way on earth any of these teams - philly, boston, rangers or montreal - can beat the caps unless their goalie is by far the best player of the series

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

in fact that's the ONLY way they can beat the Caps

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Crosby with 2 goals and 3 points and he still has a period in hand on Ovechkin.

If he has a big 3rd period, he may be going for the Richard and the Ross.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the Bruins got themselves a big win.

In theory, they'd probably be the easiest opponent in the first round but theories are just theories and upsets are called upsets for a reason.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

As fans, we can debate all we want about which team we want to play first. As far as the team goes BB needs to (IMO, mind you) just get the team focused on their game and just go out there with the old Green Bay Packers mentality (THIS is what we are going to do and damned if you're going to stop us...).

Posted by: TimDz | April 8, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

If Ovechkin is multiple goals and points back of Crosby and Sedin after tonight's games, I would hope that Boudreau seriously limits his ice time in the last 2 games.

I wouldn't even be surprised if Backstrom would be more concerned with resting up and staying healthy than getting 100 points.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

it's kinda amusing why some of you would think that everyone else will be able to raise their game in the playoffs but the Caps will just stay stagnant or even get worse...

this team has been thru playoff battles last two years and you can't simply underestimate that experience just because they didn't go all the way.

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Why did I want to watch this Pitt-Isles game...feel like vomiting now

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Seriously...this is a joke...7 goals now....thanks Scott Holbrooke

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Freakin' Islanders!!

I hope Ovie feasts on the Thrashers tomorrow night.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

i do agree their playoff experience combined with raised expectations should result in a more consistent effort.

But if you look at the way the Caps generally play, their personality isn't to come out hard every game and keep that effort going. They also have a lull right after a goal. Its a credit to their skill level that they can win many games despite uneven efforts. That kind of style is just harder to win with in the playoffs, teams do revert to their tendencies. I think they'll play harder but I don't think they can just shed all their tendencies. Its a legit ?mark imo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 8, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

We gotta score 10 goals tomorrow.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The Cavaliers are resting Lebron James tonight because they've already locked up the best record.

I know that there are people on both sides of the fence on whether or not to rest players but my opinion is that the risks outweigh the benefits when you are in the Caps' position.

Imagine Backstrom blocking a shot on the PK and getting hurt or Ovechkin tweaking something trying to hard rip a shot.

I can understand both arguments but I'd rest as many key players as possible in the last two games if it were up to me.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Classic quote by the Pitt announcers on the o'so obvious (and called) boarding call on Ponikarovsky:

Just a big boy.

Yeah...sure they would say the same thing about Ovi

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 8, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be better than your opponent and quitely frankly none of these teams in the East scare me...

the pens aren't as good as they were last year, the caps are certainly better than they were last year and the series went to 7 games... should they meet again I don't think it will be that close, I say the Caps in 6

and none of these other teams can score enough goals to keep up with the Caps

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Stamkos has #48 so he's tied with Ovie. ;(

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

and none of these other teams can score enough goals to keep up with the Caps

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

you never seen high flying offensive teams get shut down in the playoffs by a good defensive team? I don't mean shut out, just shut down to where you're lucky to get 3 in a game. I've seen very skilled reg season teams get a rude awakening. Now what we have in our favor is we also play a nice blend of skill and crash-bang hockey by our forwards. That's playoff hockey so thats good. Lets hope they don't get overly cute and end up turning the puck over because of overhandling or overpassing it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 8, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Not looking good for Ovie. Sure wish he had those suspension games back. He'd be the one in the points lead and probably the goal lead. He may not get either now, not mention it will make me sick if Crosby wins either.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | April 8, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps are clearly the deepest most talented team in the East. But they aren't the most focused. Nor are they the toughest. And they don't have the best goaltending. To me, they have a lot to prove when the stakes are higher. Can they be focused when their backs aren't against the wall? That will be a true test for them.

Posted by: zyvo23 | April 8, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

they don't get "shut down" by good defense, they get shut down by a hot goalie..

if that were the case, the Caps would have won the Cup in the 80's because NOBODY had a better group of d-men than the Caps

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

wait..what?

A good defense and a hot goalie are two different things. Both can factor in.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

it's NEVER a one thing that wins you a championship, it's always a combination of things... this team can win games in many more ways than any of these teams in the east

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

The Islanders have certainly not played well during the second half of this year. Nor have the Bolts. Both of those teams looked like big surprises early this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 8, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a hot goalie over a good defense any say... the Caps had the best defense in the 80's but they never had a hot goalie

we all saw what happened

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Well yeah, that's my point. Your post made it seem like good defense doesn't matter at all.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I WISH WE HAD A CROSBY!!

Oh wait a minute, guess what, we DO have a Crosby on our team.

He wear's #19, and IMOP, brings more to the table then #87, it just hasn't been tapped yet.

This team needs to evolve to fully utilize #19's potential. You see how well he carries the puck, sees the ice, how durable he is, absorb hits. He's almost at 100 points, and over 30 goals.

Back's mental state right has alwasy been 'to support' the best player on the planet, as he's stated himself before when asked why he doesn't shoot more often. Yet when he does shoot, you see he can bring it.

#87 makes those around him better, as does #19. But #19 is superior at handling the puck. When the puck is on his stick, he makes the game slow down.

The argument can still be made that Crosby is better, but what we can all agree on I hope is that Back's full potential is to be as important to ANY line as a Crosby / Malkin is.

What would the Caps be like if Nicky could anchor a line w/o #8, and therefore was tasked with shooting more? Skies the limit.

Maybe, just maybe -
- Laich, Backs, Semin
- OVi, Morrison (or better replacement), Flash?

Backs is a super star, and doesn't need #8, and vice versa. I predict next year is the year BB lets Backs prove that.

Posted by: floms | April 8, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

you can win with average defense if you have great offense and good goaltending... that's how the pens won their first two cups in the early 90's

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

And I don't know where you're getting this idea that the Caps had the best defense back then. Did they ever lead the league in least amount of goals against?

Sure, they put up some defensive scoring records and were collectively a very good defense, but it's not like we were the Devils in the 90s.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

@joek

It just seemed like the Caps could never quite put everything together.

We would hit hot goalies in the playoffs during the 80's. And then we finally got a good goalie but still couldn't win it.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I WISH THE CAPS HAD A CROSBY!!

Oh wait a minute, guess what, we DO have a Crosby on our team.

He wear's #19, and IMOP, brings more to the table then #87, it just hasn't been tapped yet.

This team needs to evolve to fully utilize #19's potential. You see how well he carries the puck, sees the ice, how durable he is, absorb hits. He's almost at 100 points, and over 30 goals.

Back's mental state right has alwasy been 'to support' the best player on the planet, as he's stated himself before when asked why he doesn't shoot more often. Yet when he does shoot, you see he can bring it.

#87 makes those around him better, as does #19. But #19 is superior at handling the puck. When the puck is on his stick, he makes the game slow down.

The argument can still be made that Crosby is better, but what we can all agree on I hope is that Back's full potential is to be as important to ANY line as a Crosby / Malkin is.

What would the Caps be like if Nicky could anchor a line w/o #8, and therefore was tasked with shooting more? Skies the limit.

Maybe, just maybe -
- OVi, Morrison (or better replacement), Flash?
- Laich, Backs, Semin
- Chimera, Belenger, Fehr


Backs is a super star, and doesn't need #8, and vice versa. I predict next year is the year BB lets Backs prove that.

Posted by: floms | April 8, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying you can't. You can win the Cup a lot of ways.

Your post implied that whenever a good defensive team won anything, it was only because of a goalie..which isn't true.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

pardon the spelling / grammer.

Posted by: floms | April 8, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

the caps won the jennings trophy given to team with the fewest goals allowed one year with Pat Riggin and Al Jensen as their goalies.. two really average goalies

they had three future HOFers on defense - Stevens, Langway and Murphy... two of the all time great defensive d-men

the Caps didn't have Marty Brodeur

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

And you can point to many examples of teams with mediocre goalies, but won because of their good defense.

It goes all three ways..offense, defense, and goaltending. Again, all I am saying is that your initial post implied that good defense could be chalked up to a goaltender every single time.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@CAPSHOCKEY2

I know what you mean. Here, Ovi had not lost any ground in the goal (and points) scoring race during his most recent suspension but it seemed that he was just not the same player afterwards.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 8, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like one of Crosby's goal had been credited to Guerin. Only 49 for him.

I'm sure getting that 50th taken away stung a little bit. He'll get it though.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

to floms
What are you talking? Ov makes everybody look good because of he gets most attention and teamates gets chance. You don't know how Back will perform without OV.

Posted by: dugza | April 8, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I would actually expect Crosby to be the type to push for the right player to get credit for the goal.

I was actually hoping that it would stick so it might encourage Boudreau to cut back on Ovechkin's ice time or even rest him for a game.

I want our guys to win all the individual awards but I am of the opinion that you rest your stars as much as possible when you have earned that right.

The last thing I want to see is Backstrom or Ovechkin or any other key player get hurt in a relatively meaningless game.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Sweet. Crosby's at 49. They *did* review number "50" and credit it to Guerin.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2009021200

Posted by: SlugGirl69 | April 8, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I would expect any professional hockey player to do that, I'm just saying, he has talked the 50-plateau up in interviews in the past. I'm sure he wants it personally.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 8, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

To dugza -

We do know how Backs performed without OVi this year, and he looked great.

We don't know how he will do over an extended period of time however.

But all the evidence we've seen suggests he can be a 100 point producer without OVi.

We can only speculate. I believe he can be. It may take a few games for him to adjust, but he has the talent to be in the same conversation as Crosby and Malkin.

This is why I hope that next season, BB will let Backs become his own man. Meaning he doesn't have #8 on his side. But having Semin and Laich aren't bad options. So its not like we don't have other talented wingers to pair him up with.

Knuble/Semin, Fehr/Flash, Laich/Semin, there are several possibilities for Backs.

Posted by: floms | April 8, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

BB gets paid to win hockey games, his job description does NOT include letting Backs become his "own man".. whatever the heck that means

he's not gonna break up that line just for the heck of it

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I agree with that, richmondphil. I don't mean to portray him as an ego-less saint or any different than most other players. I think most of our guys would do the exact same thing.

To sort of address floms' point, I do think that Backstrom is arguably the most key player on this team.

Additionally, I think that we need to get stronger up the middle. Playmaking wings like Semin, Laich and Fleischmann do compensate in some way for our center deficiencies but no matter what happens in this postseason, I hope that we find a strong 2nd line center for next season. Maybe we have something internally but it doesn't look that way and I don't know how much we'll be able to spend in free agency.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

in the past BB used to separate Backs and Ovi whenever he felt that Backs was looking for Ovi too much.

but that hasn't been the case this year so there's no reason to break up one of the most productive lines in hockey just to let Backs "become his own man".

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

If I'm reading that link from Tarik's post correctly, these are the updated odds of who will finish in 8th place:

Canadiens - 34%
Bruins - 31%
Flyers - 22%
Rangers - 14%

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

So, it went from this...

Bruins - 47%
Flyers - 22%
Rangers - 20%
Canadiens - 11%

to this...

Canadiens - 34%
Bruins - 31%
Flyers - 22%
Rangers - 14%

in just a few hours. The Canadiens went from being our least likely opponent to our most likely opponent.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 8, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

seems like there's a reasonable chance we'll be trying to beat the Bruins Sunday for the right to meet them in the 1st round.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 8, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

I'm sure the Caps will be motivated to win on Fan Appreciation Day. And to end the season on a good note, which is what they didn't do last year.

(Last year, they won on Fan Appreciation Day, their last home game. They won their next game in Atlanta but lost the last game of their season to Florida.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 9, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

This Canucks-Sharks game has been crazy for the last several minutes. Penalties and scrums all over the place. Both Sedins were even getting into it.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 9, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I actually agree with floms that it may be wise to have Backstrom a line other than Ovie's line NEXT year.

Backstrom has developed his game so much that having him on a line with any wingers would be a great line, but maybe having him with Semin and Laich would be outstanding.

We already know that any line having Ovie is great. So having him, Knuble and a pretty good center would make it a crazy good top two lines.

But those changes would all be for next year. This year you have to go with what fot you here and use all the chemistry the lines have developed over the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 9, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

H. Sedin finally gets on the scoresheet. He is an amazing player. I have no problem with him winning the Hart this season if that turns out to be the case. He and his brother are brilliant players.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 9, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Sedins, if Backstrom had a super talented twin brother who played left wing for the Caps, then maybe all this talk about splitting up Ovechkin and Backstrom would make a little sense.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 9, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

In the "oh, that's neat" category:
With 2 good games, Semin could jump to the 5th slot in +/-, meaning the Caps would have the top 5 +/- players in the league. It's not saying much, given that our goal differential is ginormous, but it's still cool.

Posted by: Raber | April 9, 2010 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Having a couple of 40+ goal scorers (who each did it in 73 games or fewer) and a couple of 100 point scorers would be pretty cool as well.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

You know, you look at the standings and they don't say Montreal clinched, but they did clinch:

GP Pts
Boston 80 87
Montreal 81 87
Philadelphia 80 86
-----
NY Rangers 80 84

Sure the Rangers can leapfrog them in the standings if the Habs lose and the Rags win both games, but if they do that means Philly loses twice (to NYR), meaning Phi is out.


Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I take it back. If Phi and NYR split and the Habs lose the Habs are out.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for answering my own posts, but that's not right either. NYR and Phi split and NYR is out. I gotta get more caffeine.

So the angle in the AP story about the Habs failing to clinch and the standings showing they did not clinch are wrong. I see no way for the Habs to drop out.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

So the angle in the AP story about the Habs failing to clinch and the standings showing they did not clinch are wrong. I see no way for the Habs to drop out.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 6:23 AM

If the Habs lose out, the Rangers win both games this weekend and one or both of them is in OT, the Habs drop out.

Posted by: babaganoosh2 | April 9, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

It does also mean Boston has to get at least one point in their last two games to knock the Habs out.

Posted by: babaganoosh2 | April 9, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Sweet. Crosby's at 49. They *did* review number "50" and credit it to Guerin.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2009021200

Posted by: SlugGirl69

YES! Awesome!! 2 goals tonight please Ovie..and maybe a few assists! =)

Floms: great points about Nicky. Still the most underrated player in the NHL. Hopefully he reaches 100 tonight.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 9, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

It's funny because searching around, the angle on every news story is the Habs fail to clinch, and all the the members on all the Habs message boards are anguishing about IF they reach the playoffs.

Am I just the only one to have figured this out or am I somehow wrong about this? The Habs clinched a spot, I tell you. Boston too for that matter. Either Phi or NYR can leapfrog them but not both.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

@babaganoosh2 -- Oh... The dreaded 3 point game. That explains it.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Squidy kitty got a goal and Sedin got a point, so OV has a nice challenge for tonight -- 1 goal and 2 points to tie or 2 goals and 3 points to retake the lead. Score, OV, score! And Backis, get to 100 already!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 9, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Lets Go Rangers!!!!

Posted by: RangersIn5 | April 9, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Sonyask, Montreal still can be knocked out. Only in one way that I can tell. Montreal has to lose their next game, and the Rangers have to win both games, one in regulation, one in OT. If that happened, Philly and the Rangers would both pass Montreal. Philly and Montreal would both have 87 points, but Philly would have one more win. Same with Boston, by the way - if they lose both games in regulation, they can be knocked out. Of the 4 teams fighting for those 3 last spots, Boston and the Rangers have the least wins, which is the first tiebreaker.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention in the above scenario with Montreal getting knocked out, Boston also has to get at least 1 point. Also, Montreal would need to lose in regulation. These next few days are going to be interesting, especially with the back-to-back Philly/Rangers games.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comment and excuse my too-early musings on who gets knocked out of the playoffs.

As for the article this morning, I get that no starter has been named and both goalies may see time in the playoffs. Nonetheless, if Bruce started anyone but Theo next Thursday it would undermine the team.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Here is what would need to happen for any of the last 3 seeds to be clinched. I could miss some scenarios, but I think this would be most.

Montreal - get at least 1 point in the last game, or have the Rangers lose a game (reg or OT).

Boston - get at least 1 point in either of the last 2 games, or have the Rangers lose a game (regulation, I think OT would still leave an opening).

Philly - get at least 2 points combined in the last 2 games, or get 1 point in either of the last two games if Boston/Montreal loses out.

Rangers - Too early for this lol... they would have to win both games (or maybe lose one in OT and win the other), Montreal would have to lose in regulation (maybe an OT loss would do it, I'd have to see the records between them), and Boston would have to lose both games (if they lose 1 in regulation and 1 in OT the Rangers would still come out ahead).

I think I got those right, but I'm not entirely sure. Have to head to work, going to check back in later to see if anyone else can think up other scenarios.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

TSN has the Caps favored to win the Cup...they also polled 91 NHL players (could not pick their own team) and we came out on top there 2!

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/4/9/1412301/good-sign-or-bad-omen-thn-picks

Posted by: capscoach | April 9, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I really liked in the article I posted how they talked about the fact that we don't need a goalie to steal a series for us...we just need our goalie to not lose it for us...I gotta agree!

Posted by: capscoach | April 9, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Pierre Lebrun, it doesn't matter who the Capitals draw in the 1st Round. They are better than all of them and will defeat any one of their possible opponents. This is not arrogance, they are just far more talented than the teams in question and not a single one of them scares me even if their goalies stand on their head. I don't believe a goaltender on any of these four teams has enough of a supporting cast (maybe Boucher but he isn't going to dominate anything). As Lebrun said, none of these teams want to finish eighth and draw the Caps in the 1st Round. Other thean missing the playoffs that is the worst scenario for them. Frankly, I think the scariest possible opponent was eliminated last week (Carolina). The Capitals just need stay healthy this weekend!

Posted by: croftonpost | April 9, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

That was a LOT to process. God I'm excited!

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 9, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I think 52 goals and 112 points are the numbers for the Richard and the Ross. Take that for what it's worth.

Posted by: saintex | April 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The NHL needs it to be Rangers v.s. Caps b/c that would generate the most headlines and controversy (remember last season?).

As solely a Caps fan I want the Bruins, whose lack of an offense and questionable goaltending makes them the easiest team to sweep.

The Rangers would probably be the toughest b/c of Lundquvist. But I have confidence in this Caps team handling any of its opponents.

BTW the 5 playoff matchups the NHL needs (in no particular order):

1) Caps v. Rangers - Nice headlines last year, do it again

2) Blackhawks v. Red Wings - No brainer, arguably the two biggest rivals in the Western Conference right now; storied franchises in big cities who love hockey

3) Sabres v. Pens - Miller v. Crosby in an Olympic re-match

4) Caps v. Pens - and the NHL needs this one to go 7 games with a more fitting ending for the epic rivalry

5) Caps v. Blackhawks - I know I am biased b/c I am a Caps fan, but remember Ovie's most recent "controversial" hit? Remember which team it was against and what the result was for both teams? Yeah, this could get really fun!!!

*Could also generate great headlines if Phoenix goes far- you know, "the team that could"; the NHL's Cinderella; Nobody wants them; if the league retracted teams this would be the first one done in; and yet here they are, competing for the Stanley Cup...

Unfortunately, this is all probably moot b/c Bettman has proven incapable of marketing. The lockout is years behind us now and he still hasn't gotten better TV deals, so he fails and needs to go.

Posted by: mcgratsp | April 9, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The Caps schedule since March 3 has got to be a favorable point for them. In the 19 games the Caps have played/will play since the end of the Olympic break, the games have been at an every other day pace except for a three day break March 21, 22, and 23 (but immediately followed with back to back games on the 24th and 25th); a two day break on March 26 and 27; and the current two day break (April 7 and 8, but coming off back to back games).

In the playoffs, it is usual to schedule the games with at least one day off between, and the deeper into the playoffs, it is not unusual to have at least one 3 day break (plus any breaks for ending a series early [4-0 or 4-1 sweep] and then off until your opponent, 'participating' in a longer series, is determined) in any series.

All in all, the schedule may have helped the Caps get into a 'game-day' playoff rhythm.

Posted by: critter69 | April 9, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I read that the winner of tonights game will get the 7 or 8 seed. anyone know which team wins the tiebreaker over montreal?

Posted by: sect104 | April 11, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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