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Not only Ovechkin! 20 reasons why Washington was able to make the NHL playoffs

Date: May 30, 2024 Time: 19:36:11

The regular season is over for Washington. And he finished triumphantly, heroically. The “Capital” snatched the ticket to the playoffs in the last minutes, when it seemed that they would fail in the style of last year.

We decided to find out why Washington could still make it to the Stanley Cup. We present our 20 reasons why the Capitals made the playoffs. The credit for this goes not only to Alexander Ovechkin!

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1. The Spencer-Carbury factor. It took time for the Washington head coach to find the right keys for the team, but in the end he was able to do it and achieved success in his debut year at the head of the NHL Club.

2. Character. “Washington” rarely pleased fans with a beautiful game, but regularly showed character, canceling matches at the end or maintaining the desired result. The Caps rank in the top 15 in third-period comeback percentage this season.

3. Despite all the problems, Washington played pretty well with the leaders. The “capital” was able to win two of four games against the regular season champion, the Rangers. The same goes for Carolina – 2/4. In three meetings with the powerful Boston, the Capitals scored five of a possible six points. Washington also scored 2/4 points with Dallas and Winnipeg, 3/4 with Vancouver.

4. Cohesion. Although this is somewhat trite and somewhat banal, just look at how the team defended defenseman Nick Jensen in the most important game against Tampa. And not just with his fists (thanks to Nick Dowd). Carbery noted after the meeting that Jens would have called them idiots if they had let the game and the season pass. Washington’s players did the best they could: they won and maintained their chances of making the playoffs. This is true unity. And the team showed it throughout the season.

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5. Rival crisis. In fact, if Philadelphia, which was pleased at the beginning of the season, Detroit, which also looked good at the beginning of the regular season, and Pittsburgh, which joined only at the end of the championship, had not fallen into crisis conditions, Washington would not I would have made the playoffs. The Capitals looked the same all season, just their results changed. At the same time, the main competitors for a ticket to the playoffs were American races.

6. Charlie Lindgren. The goaltender, who was listed as an AHL player a season ago, literally saved Washington’s season and carried the team to the playoffs on his shoulders. Chucky may well (and should) claim the title of player of the year for the capital. With plenty of big saves, Lindgren kept Washington’s chances of winning each game low. Charlie ranks 10th in save percentage and 11th in save percentage among goaltenders who have played more than 40 games.

7. Non-standard solutions. Although Washington’s management has not performed well in recent years, their moves have helped the team in an incredible way. The Capitals not only did not fail after the deadline (and the changes of Anthony Mantha, Evgeniy Kuznetsov and Joel Edmundsson), but, on the contrary, began to play even better! Maybe this was what brought them together when everyone else had written them off. However, the fact persists.

Washington was able to reach the NHL playoffs

Photo: Nick Wass/AP/TASS

8. Alexander Ovechkin led Washington. The Caps leader started the season very poorly, as did the entire team. However, by late January and after the All-Star break in February, Ovi seemed to have transformed. In February, he scored eight goals in eight games. In March he scored a streak of eight goals in five games. And in general I began to lead my colleagues more.

9. All-Star break. Yes, this may not be such an obvious reason, but all of Washington transformed after the rest. Perhaps the team, being so old, simply needs more breaks to recover, but the fact is: the “capital” team has functioned much better since then, and it seems that they have begun to understand each other much better.

10. In the second half of the season, Washington established a power play. Thus, at the beginning of February, the capitals were only in 27th place in terms of numerical advantage (19 goals in 131 attempts). But if we take the statistics from February 1, then Washington is… first! Crazy transformation! 28 goals in 97 attempts, 28.9% power play percentage.

11. At the same time, the capitals played decently in the minority. Before the new year they were ranked 11th and, at the end of the season, ranked 18th; As they say, it’s not good, but it’s not bad either.

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12. Shadow leaders. Although the supporting players did not help the team much during the season while the core struggled, it was at the end of the regular season that they made their contribution. Nic Dowd, 33, scored the most important goals of the last games, Sonny Milano gave the game of his life against Tampa. In the decisive matchup against Philadelphia, 31-year-old Dylan McIlrath, who only played in three games, had an assist.

13. Youth. Of course, it took time for young hockey players to prove themselves, but in the end they entered the lineup and replaced those injured or traded. 23-year-old Alexey Protas scored 29 (6+23) points, 23-year-old Connor McMichael 33 (18+15), 22-year-old Hendrix Lapierre 22 (8+14). The youth in general added vitality to the team.

14. Paradigm shift. If before the team tried to get the puck to Ovechkin in his “office,” now the game has become much more variable. Even Alexander’s goal statistics speak to this: he began to score more frequently from positions other than the left service circle, and with other types of shots than simple clicks. There are visible changes in the style of play.

fifteen. Great performance by Dylan Strome. The 27-year-old Canadian has become one of Washington’s main revelations this season. Of course, they counted on him, but he exceeded even these expectations. Strome carried the Capitals when other players couldn’t and overall he had the best season of his career. Dylan played from bell to bell and scored 67 points (27+40), becoming the Capitals’ leading scorer.

Dylan Strome

Photo: Nick Wass/AP/TASS

sixteen. The playoffs are more important than Wayne Gretzky’s record. The Capitals have finally clearly defined their priorities and are more united as a team. Previously we saw how hockey players try to play for their captain’s record, but from a certain point onwards they set a common goal: the playoffs. And we achieved it successfully.

17. Luck. Yes, it’s probably strange to talk about the luck of a team that became one of the worst in terms of shooting, but still, in decisive moments, Washington was very lucky. Even – especially – in the last game of the season against Philadelphia. A goal from a good setup by Ovechkin after an accidental shot, as well as a meaningless elimination of the goalkeeper by the Flyers, which led to the decisive goal by TJ Oshie. The “pilots” goal was also disallowed. Colossal luck!

18. Dedication. It’s just a fact: Washington became the sixth team in the Championship in the number of blocked shots – 1419. In the decisive game of the regular season, the capital blocked 32 shots, repeating its best result of the season. Previously, in November 2023, the Caps also had 32 blocks in a meeting with the Islanders.

19. Iron John Carlson. The 34-year-old defender, although showing signs of regression, remained the leader of Washington’s defense. Despite his age, Carlson played in every game. And in terms of ice time, John became the best hockey player of the season with 2123:07. The best in the entire NHL at 34 years old!

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twenty. Perestroika. Perhaps, if Washington had not finally decided to rebuild, it would hardly have made the playoffs. The decision to update and rebuild the squad, trust more in newcomers and not be afraid to go to something new and unknown, this could not but affect the team. And, let’s hope, a heroic exit to the playoffs will help the Capitals continue and successfully complete the restructuring. And at the same time, achieve great success.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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