I actually did watch the last several games of the Caps; all except the Hurricanes game. And despite me saying how much better off they'd be if they'd lost those last several, they decided to take nine points in those last five games.
The result of that was that they moved up nine spots from where they would have been had they lost out. In terms of the draft lottery, their chance of getting the top pick dropped from 4.7% (roughly; that's the nominal chance, but New Jersey's guaranteed last place would have made it slightly better) to 0.5% (ditto).
So, did they get all those points by playing well? Well, fenwick 5v5 close says no; it says that they got very, very lucky. Part of that was Holtby and Halak playing very well (Holtby, in particular, looked fabulous), and part of it was very good luck at shooting. The third line, especially, looked very good.
In fact, in that Carolina game that I missed, each member of the third line scored a very nice goal. Quite a performance. The downside was that OV got another -2 in that game (tough to do in a 5-2 win, although the shortie allowed had a lot to do with it).
And it should be pointed out that all this happened with Green on the shelf again, as he was injured again. So the bottom two pairings were Orlov-Strachan and Carrick-Brouillette. And those two pairs were absolutely brutal at times, giving lots of tests to that goaltending. In the last game, Stamkos was allowed behind Orlov-Strachan twice in the first period (Holtby saved one shot, while the other went wide; that is not the way to bet, on Stamkos alone).
And it should also be pointed out that two of those games were shootouts, taking the Caps' total on the season to twenty-one (with a 10-11 record. Thank goodness they didn't match the Devils' winless record (0-13) in the shootout). Hard to believe that a team can go to the shootout in 1/4 of their games. I certainly hope that was a record.
Anyway, it was hard to decide on whether to be happy or upset at what happened. There was some really nice play over those games, but the results really didn't help the team at all.
And finishing with dueling shutouts, and losing when also shut out in the shootout? Yeah, that was the whimper. In fact, it was a terrible game. The Caps had all of seven shots in the first two periods (and eight shots that missed the net); they were just brutalized through that span. And the third period was only eleven shots; that's not bad, but not enough to make the entire game respectable, either.
A frustrating end to a frustrating season; it'll be interesting to see what happens in the off-season. I'm betting that both McPhee and Oates are gone (and certainly good riddance to the latter, despite my initial happiness at his hiring). The big question, in my mind, is if Dick Patrick accompanies them into that sunset.
And then there's the big question of who replaces them. I really have no idea who that might be, but I hope it's someone good.
Fingers crossed; go Caps!