NHL Playoff Daily: The Washington Capitals short postseason is over

And then there were 15. 

The last team into the playoffs, were fittingly the first team out after the Washington Capitals were swept away in a 4-2 Game 4 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. 

Amongst the 16 playoff teams, the Capitals were always the imposter. Washington reached the playoffs because of a turtle race to the finish, where the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers went in reverse and allowed others to catch up before effectively falling out. 

On top of that, Washington only made it on a tiebreaker after having the same amount of points as Detroit, and the Capitals only won Game 82 to get in because the Flyers pulled their goalie in a tie game needing a regulation win and a miracle to possibly get in. 

While the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars, have dealt with a first-round challenge, the Presidents’ Trophy winning Rangers were rewarded with a cakewalk against Washington. 

At least it was a cakewalk hockey-wise. The series was never really close and the Rangers outscored the Capitals 15-7 in the series. 

Physically speaking, the Rangers and Capitals did everything in their power to punish the other. It’s why the Rangers dressed Matt Rempefor this series, as another NHL executive put it, “Rempe will play when the other team is heavy, if Detroit had gotten in, I don’t think we would have seen him until Round 2.”

Now the Rangers effectively sit and wait for the Carolina Hurricanes to finish of the New York Islanders.

Inches away

Colton Sissons hit the post on the empty net with 1:50 remaining in a 3-2 game. 

If he scores, the Nashville Predators would have tied the series up at 2-2 and we’d be heading back to Vancouver with some real worry for the Canucks, who have already had to use three goalies in the series. 

Instead the injury-rocked Canucks, with Arturs Silovs in goal, have a 3-1 series lead and are one step away from moving on from the pesky Predators. 

After Sisson’s hit the post, Brock Boeser later forced overtime and completed the hat trick with 6.2 seconds remaining. 

In overtime Vancouver won when Elias Lindholm scored just 62 seconds into the sudden-victory session on a feed from Conor Garland

It was a rough loss for Nashville, who had led 3-1 with less than three minutes remaining. 

One of the early frustrations I’ve seen from Predators fans on this has been guided at Nashville coach Andrew Brunette. After all, the reason Brunette didn’t keep the Florida Panthers job when he was interim fill-in was because he was considered a good regular season coach, but maybe not cut for the playoffs. 

To me, drawing those comparisons today feel harsh. 

Brunette is part of a re-tooling in Nashville (we can’t call it a re-build), and playoff hockey is a bonus after the way the Predators opened this season. There’s also nothing a coach can do about Sisson’s hitting the far post on an empty net. 

Makar making magic 

Cale Makar looked like a pro hockey player fooling around in a summer beer league. 

He carried the puck through all three zones, made other players look foolish, and then rifled a wrist shot past a goalie who had no answer. 

But instead of doing this in a summer beer league, he did it against the Winnipeg Jets and the goalie was the presumptive Vezina Trophy winner. 

As the Avalanche won Game 4 5-1, taking a 3-1 series lead, things have started to unravel for Winnipeg. 

A team built on detail-oriented, hard hockey has lost the details and at the same time no longer looks difficult to play against. In fact, if not for the goaltending snafus in Game 1 for Colorado, this series would already be over. 

Shots (not) fired

The Edmonton Oilers only had 13 shots last night. 

That’s not a typo. 

Edmonton also won 1-0 on a goal by Evan Bouchard and a 33-save shutout by Stuart Skinner

That’s not a game anyone would have predicted the Oilers to win before this series or earlier in this season. If Edmonton was going to win, they were going to outscore their problems, not white-knuckle it to the finish in tight games. 

Instead they lead 3-1 on a snoozer, where the story of Los Angeles changing goalies to David Rittich became a non-factor. 

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This article is about:
NHL Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers Los Angeles Kings Nashville Predators New York Rangers Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets Brock Boeser Evan Bouchard Conor Garland Elias Lindholm Cale Makar Matt Rempe David Rittich Arturs Silovs Colton Sissons Stuart Skinner
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