Capitals Move To Eighth Place In Conference Standings
By Stephen London
The Washington Capitals have been struggling to get wins at home recently.
A March 6 game against the division basement dwellers, the Carolina Hurricanes, offered an opportunity to get back on track. The Capitals started off strong with a 2-0 lead, but eventually lost, 4-3, in overtime.
The Capitals had a higher shot total (49 to Carolina's 36), but defensive mistakes allowed the Hurricanes to prevail.
"It seems like whenever they score, it's too easy," Caps forward Jay Beagle said.
Despite the loss, the Caps still earned a point in the standings by taking the game to overtime. Coming off that tough overtime loss, the Capitals had the Tampa Bay Lightning on the schedule March 8. This 3-2 final also needed more than the allotted regulation time frame to finish this contest.
Alex Ovechkin, who scored the game-winning goal four minutes and nine seconds into the extra session, is ranked 10th in career overtime game winners in the history of the NHL (12 goals). Ovechkin will most likely be ranked No. 1 in that statistical category by the end of his career; the all-time leader is ahead of him by only four goals.
Last night against the Lightning, Ovechkin struck for the second time in overtime during the last five games. Although it cannot be described as an amazing individual effort, Ovechkin's goal came from being in the right spot at the right time for a pass across the goal mouth from rookie Russian defenseman Dmitry Orlov. Each one of the three Capitals goals came off a pass from a defenseman (Orlov, Karl Alzner, Dennis Wideman).
With that overtime win and the Winnipeg Jets losing to the Vancouver Canucks last night, the Capitals jumped the Jets in the standings, getting to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, which would make them the last team into the playoffs.
With only 15 games left in the season, the Capitals need to string together a bunch of wins in order to keep themselves from falling out of the playoff picture.
The schedule looks grim for the Capitals the next seven games, considering six of them are on the road. Those six road games are against the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders, the Jets, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Those teams are good at home -- they have a combined 122-57-22 record in home games -- especially in overtime.
Posted March 9, 2012