With a Game 7 type feel to it, the Caps came out and got whupped. Holtby got the nod but wasn't particularly good. The first goal was a terrible pass by him from behind his goal that gave it to the Sabres for an easy goal. He made some decent saves but he also gave up big rebounds that led to goals.
The play of the game was late in the second with the Semin finding the net to cut it to 3-1, the Caps had a PP and as the puck moved around the boards to Ovi, he misplayed it allowing it to get behind him and giving the Sabres a two on one which they ended up putting away in the back of the net. That was the game.
We put 44 shots on net but most weren't difficult shots as Miller had good looks at them. Ovi and Laich both missed from close range which could have made a difference. In the end, it was a disappointing performance that pushed us out of the playoffs into the 9th seed. With FL winning last night, it pretty much puts the SE division out of reach. Ottawa has a 4 point lead and Buffalo has a 2 point lead now. With five games remaining in their regular season, there are 10 points still on the table for the Capitals.
In all likelihood they’ll need eight of them to get into the playoffs, beginning with Thursday night’s game in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
“We’ve got to win games,” coach Dale Hunter said after the Caps’ devastating 5-1 home loss to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night. “If you don’t win, you’re going to be in trouble.”
The Capitals are in trouble. With their loss to the Sabres they are now five points behind the Panthers, four behind the Senators and two behind the Sabres.
Florida has a game in hand on the Caps, so don’t count on the Cats falling all the way from third to ninth.
That leaves the Senators and Sabres in the Capitals’ crosshairs.
The Senators (88 points) finish out the season with games in Philadelphia, Long Island, home against the Hurricanes, home against the Bruins and at New Jersey. Let’s assume they collect five of a possible 10 points to finish with 93 points.
The Sabres (86 points) close out against the Penguins at home, at Toronto, home against Toronto, at Philly and at Boston. Let’s assume the Sabres collect six of a possible 10 points and finish with 92 points.
Theoretically, that leaves the Capitals (84) needing eight of a possible 10 points to finish in an eighth-place tie with Buffalo with 92 points. The Capitals own the first tiebreaker and would get in on that basis.
Question is, can the Caps win four of their final five games? They’ve done that just twice since Hunter was hired on Nov. 28.