If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to begin Monday, the Washington Capitals, armed with the scoring prowess of Alex Ovechkin, would not qualify.
With the NHL schedule set to resume after the Olympic break, the Capitals sit with 63 points in the Eastern Conference standings, one back of the Detroit Red Wings for the second Wild Card spot. The Capitals entered the break on a modest two-game winning streak, and winners in five of their last eight.
However, before that, they were losers of seven in a row, which dropped them below the playoff line. Finding consistency beyond just a handful of games seems to be a difficult task for this team to this point in the season. Of course, the break has brought about a new sense of optimism.
“It’s a team that hasn’t played its best hockey yet,” Capitals general manager George McPhee told the Washington Times. “I thought we were starting to play well before the [Olympic] break.
“I believe they can be a lot better. The players believe they can be a lot better. Hopefully, when we come out of the break we’ll be healthy and play the way I think we’re capable and they think they’re capable of playing.”