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Takeaways: Capitals Come Up Short In Finale, In For Tough First Round vs. FLA



The Capitals had a tough night against the Rangers

The Washington Capitals had a better effort in Game 82, but they couldn’t exactly close out the season on a high note in Manhattan.

Despite a better start and stronger effort, Washington couldn’t rally from one goal down in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.

Washington ended the season 44-26-12 and will face Florida in the first round. The Panthers are the top seed and clinched the Presidents’ Trophy, ending the year with an impressive 56-18-6 record.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:

Capitals Season Ends On Tough Note

Washington ended the season on a four-game losing skid plagued by inconsistency and a lack of success on special teams.

Lars Eller said postgame that he hasn’t recognized the team that he sees out on the ice, and hopes that a first-round series against the No. 1 Cats will change that.

“I know how good we can be when we’re on our game. I think the last few games here, we just haven’t really been emotionally invested in the game,” Eller said. “Like we’re there but we’re not really there… I don’t recognize us out there. Now we got to reset and we have games that really matter. I know what we’re capable of doing, so that gives me confidence.”

Defense Provides Offense For Capitals

Washington got a lot from its defense on Friday, as both goals came from the blue line. Justin Schultz opened the scoring for Washington off of Trevor van Riemsdyk’s rebound.

Schultz finished the season with four goals and 19 assists, and Trevor van Riemsdyk set a new single-season career-high in points with his 16th assist of the season (17 points).

Just 72 seconds later, John Carlson rocketed home a power-play goal for his career-high 17th goal of the season.

He finished the 2021-22 regular season with 71 points in 78 games.

Samsonov Has Decent Last Outing

Washington’s goaltending situation is still very much up in the air, but Ilya Samsonov still had something to say with a solid outing in the season finale.

Samsonov came up with a couple of impressive saves and looked in control for the majority of the game. He ended up stopping 30 of 33 shots (.909 save percentage).

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up an assist for his 54th of the year. His .99 points-per-game pace over the 2021-22 campaign was the highest of his career since the Capitals Cup-winning season in 2017-18.
  • T.J. Oshie also added a helper in his 900th career game.
  • Tom Wilson wore the “A” in Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom’s absence from the lineup. He also led the charge on the forecheck with six shots.
  • Speaking of Ovechkin, the Great 8 made a cameo and was hamming it up with fans at Madison Square Garden.

  • Former Capitals netminder anad Rnagers legend Henrik Lundqvist also appeared.
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