So, how about those Washington Capitals?
After that dreadful 1-6 start to the condensed regular season, the Capitals are now closing in on the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets, thanks to a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
The Capitals had just 19 shots on the Hurricanes’ goal, but scored five times, including three times in the second period to take over the lead and control.
Leading the Capitals against the Hurricanes and Washington’s late-season surge: Alex Ovechkin.
Since March 17, Ovechkin has 10 goals over a nine-game span and has 15 points. And the Capitals have gone 6-3-1 in the last 10 games.
With the win, Washington got past the Hurricanes and into 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Winnipeg Jets, leaders of the Southeast Division, are only two points ahead of Washington, and the Capitals have two games in hand.
The Jets are staggering around right now, with three wins in their last 10 games.
There may be reason for optimism in Washington, but are the Capitals’ playoff chances and hopes realistic? The Capitals are 10-3-0 against other teams in the Southeast. The Capitals have 12 games remaining in their schedule, and five of those are against teams in the Southeast.
The Capitals are 4-5-0 against teams in the Northeast Division, and six of their remaining games are against teams in that division.
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Among the 21 NHL.com and NHL Network experts offering their prediction for the Stanley Cup Final, 17 of them are choosing the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)
The majority of ESPN’s experts are also picking the Sharks. (ESPN.com)
For CBS Sports, Adam Gretz and Chris Peters are split on the outcome. (CBS Sports)
Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final in San Jose appear to be going for significantly more than their Pittsburgh Penguins counterparts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Inspired by John Scott‘s comments, here’s the start of a World Cup All-Snubs’ team. (TSN)
Peter DeBoer said that then New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello fired him from the Devils’ head coaching job late at night on Christmas. The news then broke on Dec. 26. (Tom Gulitti)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Vegas favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup, but the odds lean toward a San Jose Sharks player capturing the Conn Smythe.
Bovada released a variety of odds on Sunday after others surfaced on Friday.
Joe Pavelski is pegged as a +400 favorite as a winner, edging some other top candidates such as Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray.
Here’s the full list:
Logan Couture +500
Martin Jones +600
Brent Burns +700
Joe Thornton +900
Evgeni Malkin +900
Kris Letang +1400
Bovada also released prop bets, including how long the series might last. Check that out here.