As Yogi Berra once said, it’s getting late early for the Capitals this season as they attempt to pull a rabbit out of their helmets and get into the playoffs for the seventh straight season.
The Caps’ 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders Saturday night kept those hopes alive, but the Caps will need plenty of help by other NHL teams in the final week of the season.
The Caps tied an NHL record by playing in their 20th shootout of the season Saturday night. They are now 10-10 in shootouts, thanks to rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov, who became the sixth different Capitals player to tally a game-deciding shootout goal. He’s now 3-for-5 in shootouts. Nicklas Backstrom leads the Caps with four shootout game winners.
[MORE: Caps need more gutsy wins]
The Caps have the day off on Sunday and will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday in preparation for the second half of the their four-game road trip, which continues Tuesday night in St. Louis and ends Thursday night in Carolina.
The Blues are on NBC today at 12:30, facing the Blackhawks.
Caps fans will also be keeping a close eye on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 6 p.m. home game against the Islanders later today. An Islanders regulation victory would keep the Caps two points behind the Blue Jackets with each team having four games to play.
Here’s a look at the race for the final wild-card spot in the East. The first tiebreaker is regulation and overtime wins [ROW], which means the Caps need to finish ahead of the Jackets, Devils and Leafs in points:
Columbus Blue Jackets [85 points, 34 ROW, 5 games]
Today: NY Islanders
Wednesday: at Dallas
Friday: at Tampa Bay
Saturday at Florida
New Jersey Devils [84 points, 34 ROW, 4 games]
Thursday: at Ottawa
Toronto Maple Leafs [84 points, 29 ROW, 3 games]
Tuesday: at Tampa Bay
Thursday: at Florida
Saturday: at Ottawa
Washington Capitals [83 points, 25 ROW, 4 games]
Tuesday: at St. Louis
Thursday: at Carolina
Sunday: Tampa Bay