Capitals' Jason Chimera: 'We've Got To Right The Ship'Posted on April 04, 2014 by Ken Maguire
The Quitgate road show will visit New Jersey, where the Washington Capitals will try to keep their shrinking Stanley Cup playoff hopes alive April 4 against the Devils.
It's Washington's first game since head coach Adam Oates called out captain Alex Ovechkin for failing to play defense on a goal during a 5-0 loss to the Dallas Stars April 1.
"Ovi quit on the play, coming back," Oates told reporters April 2, referring to Dallas' fourth goal. "You've got to hustle the whole time, the whole entire time."
Ovechkin was unavailable to reporters April 3, when the Capitals left town ahead of a four-game road trip.
The Caps (81 points) have lost four consecutive games, and after the April 3 NHL games, they are four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets (85 points) for the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Will Ovechkin and his teammates come out flying in response to their season slipping away? Or will they go through the motions and in doing so probably seal Oates' fate during the offseason?
The Philadelphia Flyers didn't do the Capitals any favors by losing, 2-0, at home April 3 to the Blue Jackets, who will host the Chicago Blackhawks April 4.
The Toronto Maple Leafs (84 points) are also chasing Columbus. After losing eight of nine games, they surprised many people April 3 with an overtime win against the Boston Bruins.
Washington and Columbus both have six games remaining. If they finish in a tie, Columbus would advance because it has more wins during regulation and overtime (ROW).
Columbus will host the Blackhawks, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes. They will finish the season with road games at the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.
The Capitals will play the Devils and Islanders on back-to-back nights. They will play at the St. Louis Blues April 8, at the Carolina Hurricanes April 10, and then return home to face the Blackhawks and Lightning.
Columbus is two points behind third-place Philadelphia. The Flyers have lost three consecutive games.
The Devils (80 points) aren't out of playoff contention.
"We've got to right the ship pretty quickly," Caps forward Jason Chimera said after practice April 2. "We've just got to regroup again. We've got to bring out our best from here on in, or else you'll be missing hockey pretty soon before you know it."
Washington goalie Jaroslav Halak, who will become a free agent after the season, said he didn't like what he saw from the goal crease.
"We all see it," Halak said. "At times, we make just simple, simple mistakes we should eliminate, and we shouldn't make at this time of the season. We put ourselves in a bad spot. No one's going to do it for us."
- Despite Losing Streak, Capitals Remain In Playoff Hunt
- Capitals Coach Adam Oates Criticizes Alex Ovechkin's Defense
Outfielder Bryce Harper hit two home runs to help the Nationals win Opening Day 2013 -- can he lead Washington to victory against Atlanta April 4?