Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C., was not the type of springtime hockey the Washington Capitals are accustomed to. Two non-playoff bound teams sleepwalked through three periods, drawing that much closer to the end of the season with little of consequence up for grabs.
Not even the usually upbeat Joel Ward, who posted a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win against Carolina, could find a way to make this seem better.
“It’s definitely disappointing, there’s not much we can do about it now. It definitely just [stinks],” Ward said. “It’s tough as pros. You come in here, you want to play for the Stanley Cup and now we’ve got two just to salvage a couple of good games for ourselves with our pride at stake. ”
Washington’s final two games of the season, both at home, come against teams that will advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Chicago is missing several players due to injuries and will rest others for tonight’s game, but is hoping to enter the postseason on a positive note. Tampa Bay is playing for home-ice advantage, but needs to win its last two games.
The Capitals aren’t plotting postseason preparations or angling for home ice but they want to wrap up the regular season in a way they can be proud of, all things considered.
“We want to play hard, we want to play hard for our fans and for ourselves in this room. It can be tough to get up for these games,” Troy Brouwer said. “We’re professionals in this room, we want to play hard, we want to go out there and we want to finish the season off right so we can have some good games a little consolation smile on your face when you go into the summertime.”
Said Eric Fehr: “That’s all we can do right now, just try to play the system correctly and try to get good results from it. We’ve got two more games at home try to show our fans some good hockey and take it from there.”