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.
Ovi: "When you score goals, you have that kind of confidence when you have puck on your stick, you can see it and you can feel the game."
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.
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings
The talented 20-year-old forward and third overall pick in 2013 has since been suspended indefinitely without pay for failing to show up to an AHL game while down in the minors and hasn’t played since Jan. 18.
It’s been a while now, but Turris found himself in a similar situation when, in October of 2011, his agent Curt Overhardt confirmed that the now 26-year-old center wanted to be traded out of Arizona.
Back then, Turris, another third overall pick, was a restricted free agent and had been in contentious contract talks with the Coyotes. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes and was acquired by Ottawa not long after.
He’s been there ever since, with two 20-plus goal seasons.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.
“It was very difficult to do. You’re getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go.”
Speaking of heat from the media: In addition to the suspension, Drouin was ripped in a local newspaper column — “He’s the kid who quit” was one particular line that stands out — for his request and the drama that ensued from that.
For now, the trade deadline (Feb. 29) approaches and Drouin’s request has yet to be granted.