Warning: Reality check ahead
Rather than relive yesterday's stomach-churning loss or delve into the game's minutiae (Sergei Fedorov won 17 of his 21 faceoffs... woohoo!), let's take a look at something even more painful - where this weekend has left the Caps' playoff dreams (hint: it's got a handle, a float, a flapper and a bowl).
It's this simple: the Caps have twelve games left and trail Philadelphia by six points for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and Carolina by seven points in the Southeast Division. Philly has a game in hand on the Caps, who have a game in hand on Carolina.
To put the task ahead in perspective, the Caps' best 12-game stretch of the season ran from December 26 through January 21, a span in which they went 9-2-1. The result of that remarkable run? They gained five points on eighth in the Conference and eight points on first in the SED.
The game in hand on Carolina is nice, as are the two games remaining between the two teams. But in all likelihood, the fact is that the Caps can go on a season-best streak and it will be too little, too late... which is fitting, considering that that's exactly what got them in the position they've been in since Thanksgiving - waiting too long to fire Glen Hanlon.
Oh, and one more depressing note (which, come to think of it, could actually be a silver lining) - the Caps are now twice as close to being back in the draft lottery as they are to a playoff spot.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
If you're at a point where you can have a sense of humor about yesterday, The Pensblog has a wickedly funny recap of the game.... Two years ago today, we made fun of a Toronto journo's dream. We're jerks.
- Hart: Andrew Cogliano (2G, including the OT game-winner, +2, 4 SOG)
- Ross: Robert Lang, Evgeni Malkin (3 points each)
- Norris: Niklas Kronvall (2A, +1, 2 SOG)
- Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist (29-save shootout shutout win)
- Richard: Johan Franzen, Andrew Cogliano, Sidney Crosby (2G each)
- Calder: Andrew Cogliano (2G, including the OT game-winner, +2, 4 SOG)
- Aiken: Patrick Lalime (OTL, 6 goals allowed on 25 shots against)