After six straight seasons of making the playoffs, the Washington Capitals are in serious jeopardy of missing them in 2014.
Last night’s 3-0 loss to the Bruins saw the Caps muster just 16 shots on goal and, more importantly in the big picture, saw their chances of qualifying for the postseason fall to just 14.3 percent, according to Sports Club Stats.
With just 18 games left — including a tough three-game road trip through California, plus a number of other tough opponents — it’s not looking good.
“You can’t get much lower than that, I guess,” defenseman Karl Alzner said after the Boston loss. “The killer instinct isn’t there right now and it needs to be there because we are running out of time.”
Only five teams in the entire NHL have fewer regulation/overtime wins than the Caps’ 21.
Should Washington miss out on the playoffs, there could be significant change in D.C. Certainly, longtime general manager George McPhee has been a focal point for fan frustration, and one has to seriously wonder if his job is in peril — especially given the Caps’ payroll, not to mention their past disappointments in the playoffs and all the coaches that have come and gone.
The Caps host Phoenix Saturday before taking on the Penguins back-to-back Monday and Tuesday.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?