The percentages are overwhelmingly stacked against the Capitals and they know it.
With four games remaining in their regular season, the Capitals have a 1.7 percent chance of getting into the playoffs, according to sportsclubstats.com.
In fact, the Capitals could be mathematically eliminated as early as Tuesday night.
If the Detroit Red Wings earn at least one point against Buffalo, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Caps lose in regulation to the St. Louis Blues, the Caps’ hopes of making the playoffs are officially over.
“I’m constantly checking how many wins we need and how many we don’t want the other team to have,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said. “All that stuff. I’ve been doing the number crunching.”
So have we.
The Caps [83 points] can get into the playoffs if:
The Blue Jackets [87 points] go no better than 1-2-1 and …
The Devils [84 points] go no better than 3-1-0 and …
The Capitals go 4-0-0.
Even if the Caps are able to run the table against St. Louis, Carolina, Chicago and Tampa, the chances of Columbus and New Jersey cooperating is just 36.2 percent, according to sportsclubstats.com. But Alzner already knew that.
“It’s extremely tough,” he said. “It’s a weird feeling because we know there’s still a chance, but it’s a very, very long shot. It’s really strange for us.
Even if we win all of them I think we’re still 40 percent chance of making it or something like that. I don’t like it at all.
“But it doesn’t matter if it’s .5 percent. We still have a chance. I still want to see [the Blue Jackets] lose to Phoenix and then it’s Dallas.”
Last week in Newark, Caps left wing Jason Chimera said scoreboard watching is useless if the Caps don’t win their own games and on Monday Troy Brouwer said the same.
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“When you have to leave a lot of your chances to other teams for thing to go right, it’s a little gloomy. But guys are preparing for St. Louis knowing we have to win out the rest of the season, otherwise we’re not going to give ourselves an opportunity to make the playoffs.”
Here’s another quick look at the games remaining for the teams still in the hunt for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot:
Columbus Blue Jackets [87 points, 4 games]
Wednesday: at Dallas
Friday: at Tampa Bay
Saturday: at Florida
New Jersey Devils [84 points, 4 games]
Thursday: at Ottawa
Friday: NY Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs [84 points, 3 games]
Tuesday: at Tampa Bay
Thursday: at Florida
Saturday: at Ottawa
Capitals [83 points, 4 games]
Tuesday: at St. Louis
Thursday: at Carolina
Sunday: Tampa Bay