With just 22 games left, they need to take approximately 32 of the remaining 44 points available to finish with 95 standings points, which should be enough to guarantee them a spot in the postseason. They are mathematically still very much alive. But they will need a lot of help (and an immediate improvement in their performance on the road) to make it.

However, even if they miss the playoffs this year, the window to win a Stanley Cup is still open, albeit slightly.

Since the NHL changed the playoff format for the 1993-94 season, just 38 percent of the teams that reached the Stanley Cup finals got farther than round two the previous year, and one in four of those final teams did not even qualify for the postseason the year before they played for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Don’t get me wrong — Washington is in a hole and needs some major changes if the team is to have a shot at making a run for the Cup in the near future. But the chances of bringing a championship to D.C. aren’t quite as bad as they would appear to be.

Follow Neil on Twitter at @ngreenberg.

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