The Capitals were removed from the Stanley Cup Finals in the Eastern Conference first round by the New York Islanders after ending with a score of 4-0 in Game 5 on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Capitals Current Standpoint
The Capitals held the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after going 1-1-1 in the round-robin section of the Cup Qualifiers and finished first in the Metropolitan Division for the fifth season. Yet the team was unable to revive itself after suffering losses from the first three games to the No. 6 seed Islanders. The Capitals were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second season in a row following their 2018 Stanley Cup championship.
Currently, Braden Holtby, G; Brenden Dillon, D; Radko Gudas, D; Ilya Kovalchuk, F; Tyler Lewington, D; Liam O’Brien, F and Colby Williams, D are Capitals players that are potential unrestricted free agents. While, Travis Boyd, F; Jonas Siegenthaler, D; Daniel Sprong, F; Brian Pinho, F; Shane Gersich, F; Lucas Johansen, D; Kris Bindulis; Connor Hobbs, D. are potential restricted free agents.
Where the Mistakes were Made
The Capitals, who were second in the NHL during the regular season normally had 3.42 goals per game, scored only eight goals in total during the series against the Islanders. Alex Ovechkin scored all three 5-on-5 goals and guided Washington with four goals in total in the series. The only other players to score on the team were T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who each had two goals. In contrast, the Islanders had 10 players score. It did not help having center Nicklas Backstrom miss Games 2-4 and center Lars Eller missing Game 1 due to the birth of his son.
After receiving 267 minor penalties in the regular season, the Capitals were called for 26 additional against the Islanders during the first round of the playoffs. The time spent on the bench kept Ovechkin and other top players out of Washington’s four-line rotation.
Hope for Next Season
Ovechkin, who will be turning 35 this year, tied with David Pastrnak (24) of the Boston Bruins in the League with 48 goals in 68 games this season. The left-wingers goals were on track to reach 50 goals for the ninth time in his 15 NHL seasons, which would have tied Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most in League history, before the season was put on pause in March.
John Carlson led NHL defenseman with 75 points, was fourth among all skaters with 60 assists and is a finalist for the Norris Trophy which is awarded to the player voted best defenseman in the League.
Ilya Samsonov has proved himself to be a good replacement for Holtby after being the No. 1 goalie during the regular season.