“I think we have a good thing going here. Close to our division, close to making the playoffs,” said Ribeiro, who has confidence in Washington’s improved play. “We know how good we can be and how to play when we win and now it’s just a matter of keep doing it.”
Ribeiro, 33, was confident earlier in the day Wednesday that he wouldn’t be traded but added that he wasn’t on the verge of re-signing with Washington. He isn’t focused on a contract extension now, though, but simply helping the Capitals find a way to succeed.
Dan Steinberg offers his extra points about the Capitals’ prospects for the rest of the season.
Insight on the Capitals and all the latest news from Post reporter Katie Carrera.
“I hope to go all in because I don’t ever want to write off a season or anything like that,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “The fact that we’re on the upswing right now and playing good hockey, it doesn’t matter where we finish.”
As the Capitals and the entire NHL have learned in recent seasons, where a team ends up in the regular season isn’t necessarily an indication of how it might fare in the postseason. Find a way into the playoffs, and anything is possible.
With 12 games remaining, a sixth consecutive postseason berth seems well within Washington’s reach. The Capitals not only sit two points back of division-leading Winnipeg, but they also have two games in hand, making a fifth division title in the past six years a genuine possibility.
Washington’s remaining regular season games include plenty of winnable matchups — four games against teams currently out of the playoff picture, along with games against fellow bubble teams the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets. Even though they face teams comfortably in a playoff spot six times, given the way the Capitals appear to be finding their stride under Coach Adam Oates, winning two out of every three games the rest of the way doesn’t seem all that far fetched.
Certainly not to McPhee at least. After his deadline-day addition of Erat, his directive is in full view — win now.
“As players, that’s our only priority is this year — right now and making the playoffs,” Troy Brouwer said. “We squeezed into the playoffs last year and had a good opportunity to make a deep run. . . . This year is no different; I think we have a better team this year than we did last year. I think we sputtered a little bit at the beginning of the season, but we have all the pieces that we need to be a good, competitive team in the playoffs.”