The Washington Capitals looked like a team with playoff potential Monday and Tuesday nights. Though the team was eliminated from postseason play on April 4, they managed to split games between two superior teams on consecutive nights. Three quick goals carried the Capitals to victory Monday against the New York Islanders, who hold the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference as of 9:30 pm Tuesday. Washington then held off the record-setting Boston Bruins for most of Tuesday’s matchup but ultimately lost 5-2.
Dylan Strome continued his late-season hot streak by scoring the first goal only 36 seconds into Monday’s contest. He added an empty-net goal at the end of the game and recorded an assist Tuesday for a five-game point streak (5G, 2A–7P). Tom Wilson also recorded a goal in both games. His power-play goal in the third period against Boston brought the Capitals within one goal at the time. Two of the Capitals’ newer arrivals contributed on Monday night as well. Rasmus Sandin scored 27 seconds after Strome’s opening goal, and Craig Smith added to the lead with 6:48 remaining. He also had an assist on Sandin’s marker. It was his first multi-point game since March 4, when he scored two goals against the San Jose Sharks.
In a feat nearly as important as gaining and keeping the lead Monday, the Capitals prevented Boston’s strong offense from scoring for nearly half the game on Tuesday. Goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren had a lot to do with that fact. He made multiple striking saves throughout the game, including one after his catching glove had fallen off. He left the game with an apparent injury in the final 15 minutes of play, leaving Darcy Kuemper to finish the contest. Lindgren faced 36 shots and saved 33 of them for a .917 percentage. Those totals matched his previous start from the 8th in a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Several major Capitals contributors were out of the lineup for the two games. Alex Ovechkin, TJ Oshie, Anthony Mantha, and Trevor van Riemsdyk all sat out again with assorted ailments. Nic Dowd joined the group as well. Coach Peter Laviolette told the media before the game on Monday that Oshie’s season was over. Ovechkin did not travel to Boston but wasn’t ruled out for the last game as of late Monday morning, according to Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post. The Capitals had to dress only 17 skaters against the Islanders due to salary cap regulations. However, they were able to suit up a full squad in Boston. AHL call-up Henrik Borgstrom filled in the final spot.
The Capitals’ last game is Thursday night in Capital One Arena against the New Jersey Devils, who just beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2.