Ten games through the lockout-shortened 48-game season the Capitals are floundering at the bottom of the standings and in risk of digging a hole too deep to climb out from.
Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to Toronto drops Washington to 2-7-1 on the year and firmly plants them in dead last in the league; the entire NHL.
Worse, with just 5 points on the season, the Caps are a whopping 9 points behind the Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference, and an entire 4 points behind the Islanders, who would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started tomorrow.
Neil Greenberg – NHL contributor to ESPN and the Washington Post – says being in last with 38 games to go puts Washington in the formidable position of falling further out of contention even as they start cobbling wins together.
“Even if they start to get things clicking, you got to remember they’re not playing any Western Conference teams,” Greenberg told 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies Wednesday. “So they have to jump seven teams ahead of them and those seven teams are always getting points from somewhere, because they’re playing Eastern Conference teams.”
“It’s not like Tampa Bay or Toronto is going to Chicago and losing, and Chicago gets the point and you don’t care. Another Eastern Conference team is getting that point, so it’s going to be that much more difficult for them to hop over the standings and make the postseason.”
He emphasized that getting hot now wouldn’t help their chances because they’ve already fallen too far down in the standings.
“I think this team is already broken,” Greenberg said. “I don’t really think it matters what they do going forward. Unless they win ten in a row, this team’s cooked.”