Considering the talent on their injured list, some might take to calling Alex Ovechkin’s team the wounded Washington Capitals.
The (also quite banged-up) Florida Panthers won’t shed a tear for their divisional opponent’s plight when the teams face off in a significant game* on Tuesday, though. That’s just fine with Ovechkin, who seemed confident that the Capitals can overcome the absence of players such as Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom when discussing the subject with CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley.
“We’re going to need to play like we didn’t play yet this year,” Ovechkin said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like when it’s tough. You have to show your character, and you have to show your leadership.”
“We’re not going to cry. We’re not going to be asking for help from somebody. It’s all about us. We have to be together and play like a team.”
The Panthers topped the Capitals 4-2 last Wednesday – and that was with a healthy Brooks Laich in the lineup. Washington’s rugged center injured his leg on Sunday, so the Capitals will likely lean on captain Ovechkin even more than usual tomorrow.
* – At the moment, it seems like the Southeast winner might just be the only team in that division to make the playoffs. The Capitals (58 points) are in ninth place while the Panthers (59) would secure the third seed if the playoffs began today.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
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“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.