Well, tonight's Caps game removed any remaining doubt about the playoffs.
They played fairly well through the first period, generating some good chances and playing pretty even until the last minute (when Carolina put about six shots on net). Unfortunately, Holtby tried to play a Corvo shot from the corner as a pass, and had it ricochet in off his head. At least, that's my best guess about why that happened. As good as he's been, recently, don't really want to criticise Holtby, but that was a terrible play.
And, sadly, that was as good as things got for the Caps. They were badly outplayed through the second period (and every time I noticed them, OV's line was hemmed in on the defensive end), and ended up surrendering two goals to a guy (Nash) who had one goal on the season. Ow.
Too much of the final period was spent on the PK (gee, that sounds familiar), and very little pressure was generated even when that wasn't the case. In the end, the only scoring in the period was an empty-net, shorthanded goal that stretched the margin to four (terrible misplay by Carlson on a bouncing puck at the point).
Were there any positives? A few. Wolski, Fehr, and Perreault looked pretty good when they were on the ice (which wasn't much, for Wolski and Perreault). In fact, Perreault had a goal disallowed because of an early whistle. Oddly, I don't remember seeing him on the ice after that.
Oleksy got into a fight in the third, and acquitted himself admirably.
I guess Oates was a bit mad at Poti, as Cameron Schilling got called up from Hershey to be the sixth D (with Green and Erskine on injured reserve). He looked ok, although I'm not sure he wasn't responsible for one of the goals (can't remember who failed to do a good job supporting Schultz on one goal).
Amusingly, they had a graphic showing the ages of the six Caps defensemen (Carlson, Schilling, Kundratek, Alzner, Schultz, and Oleksy). I knew Oleksy was 27 (which, I'm sad to say, makes it hard to get really excited about him, no matter how well he plays), but it hadn't occurred to me that that made him the oldest of the group.
MarJo was a mixed bag; he wasn't able to bury a couple of primo chances he got, and had a couple of bad turnovers.
Ward had, perhaps, the worst game he's ever had for the Caps. He was on for all four goals, plus he got called for a high stick in the third. I love his play, in general, but that was a stinker.
That's about it for the game (and for the season, realistically). I'm not even sure what to hope for, now. Tank hard for one of the studs in the draft, or improve this season? Sadly, for long-term reasons, I'm leaning towards the former. Yuck.