One player cannot drag the Capitals out of the hole they have dug for themselves.
Out of a playoff spot with six regular-season games remaining, each teammate is fighting the urge to carry the load single-handedly.
“Everyone wants to do it and be ‘the guy,’ ” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “Sometimes it’s being 20 guys, not just ‘the guy.’ It’s just doing your job. And I think sometimes we don’t necessarily do enough of that and we try and do more than our job.”
As the Dallas Stars seized control in their 5-0 victory Tuesday, Capitals coach Adam Oates admonished his players not to stray from the game plan. Yet in an attempt to play the hero as the Capitals’ deficit ballooned, players deviated from their assigned roles, opting for the home-run play instead of keeping things simple.
“We’re yelling as fast as we can on the bench to stop that,” Oates said. “And every guy’s yelling and they go out there and do it. That’s kind of a human nature thing. I’ve experienced that a lot in my career. When it’s going down the tubes, it goes down the tubes fast.”
Following a wildly successful California road trip two weeks ago, the Capitals have lost four straight to put their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy. As of Thursday, Washington had a 6.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to the website SportsClubStats.com.
For the Capitals to salvage what is left of their season, a concerted effort will be required, players say.
“It’s not going to be one guy. It’s going to be everybody,” forward Jason Chimera said. “You can’t win [a playoff series] with one guy. We’ve seen that before. If one line’s off, you’re not going to go through.
“Everybody’s got to be their best. And if not, we’re not going to make it.”