Playoff battle gets much harder

The Caps went into tonight's game against a team that had played an overtime game the night before, that was also playing away tonight. They needed to win, to take advantage of Florida's demolition by the Jets last night, as well as to get back into playoff position.

They came out looking pretty good, until Hendricks took a penalty on a crunching hit (they said he got his stick up; I didn't see it, but I didn't rewind to watch for that, either). When that happened, the Devils had a very good keep-in when the Caps tried to clear, then made a very pretty passing play to Parise beside the net for an easy tap-in goal. It was their second shot of the game.

The Caps did decently for the next six minutes after that, and then just fell apart. On a 3-on-3 coming into the zone, Aucoin peeled away from the goal immediately, while his man (Parise, again) went to the goal and tapped in the puck that trickled behind Neuvy. Then, half a minute later, Semin had a really bad turnover that was passed to Zubrus in alone on Neuvy. Dainius put it past Neuvy while falling over to make it a 3-0 lead.

Three minutes into the second, there was another terrible turnover at the D blue line, giving a 2-on-1 break that Parise converted for the hat trick.

At that point, I was sufficiently disgusted to turn it off (actually, I darned near turned it off after the third goal). And thank goodness that I did, because the only goal I missed was from New Jersey.

Now the Caps need to win basically all of their remaining home games, as well as improving on their play away from home.

'Tain't looking good for the playoffs. And next up is the Flyers, coming to town on Sunday. And apparently the start time got moved back to seven. Let's hope Bryz is still off his rocker... errr, I mean, game.

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