Capitals drop season finale to Rangers, end year on four-game losing streak


The Capitals' season ended the same way it started: With a night against the New York Rangers. 

Washington lost 3-2 as it finished the 2021-22 regular season headed toward a date with the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. The Capitals aren't trending in the right direction, though, as they've dropped four straight games. 

The Capitals finished the season 44-26-12. Here are a few takeaways from their season finale: 

Samsonov starts

The Capitals turned to Ilya Samsonov in net for the season finale on the back-end of a back-to-back. In his last game before the postseason, he stopped 30 of 33 Rangers shots. 

Ironically, both Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek made 39 starts each this season in a true split situation. But through 82 regular season games, there remains uncertainty over who the team's No. 1 netminder will be entering the playoffs. 

Washington gave both goalies a chance to win the job, and now it's up to coach Peter Laviolette and staff to decide who will start Game 1.

No injuries

The Capitals had the chance to move up in the standings with a win and a Penguins regulation loss. That got put to bed early, as the Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Blue Jackets in the opening minutes. 

Meaning, the Capitals' night was rendered moot almost immediately. From that point on, the focus was on closing the night out with everyone healthy. 


And at least to the naked eye, there weren't any injury concerns from Friday that will linger into the postseason. 

No Ovechkin/Backstrom

The Capitals were without two franchise legends Friday, albeit for different reasons. 

Alex Ovechkin is still recovering from an upper-body injury that he suffered Sunday against the Maple Leafs. According to reporters, he looked good at practice on Thursday but was still held out of the team's final three games of the season. 

Nicklas Backstrom was held out for maintenance for the second time this season. He's assuredly going to be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Panthers. Ovechkin remains the biggest unknown.

Up next

The Capitals will face the Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 will be next week at a date and time to be determined. 

The upcoming days and what they hold are up in the air, but the Capitals regular season, as tumultuous as it was, has concluded. Now, they’ll go for the franchise’s second Stanley Cup.