It was a deserved win for the Rangers as they pretty much outplayed the Caps the whole way. They outshot the Caps 40-28 and outhit them 34-22.
If not for a remarkable effort in net by Braden Holtby, the Rangers could have had many more goals and the game would have been a blowout.
Just when the Caps seemed to be building momentum, this defeat leaves them six points behind the Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets for the fewest points in the East.
And, once again, the questions have to be asked about this underachieving team. Can they still compete with the elite of the Eastern Conference, let alone even entertain the notion of being able to remotely challenge a Western Conference power like the Chicago Blackhawks?
Should the Caps actually go into a full rebuild mode from top to bottom?
If you listened to George McPhee earlier this month, after the Caps had been dumped by the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in less than a week, he was not in favor of any such move. As reported by the Washington Times, McPhee had this to say on the subject:
If there’s something I can do to make the club better, I will. … If there’s something I can do to help the club out I will. But I’m not gonna do anything stupid. We’re not gonna do anything short term. We’re not gonna blow anything up.
Is he right to think this way though? And is McPhee himself part of the problem?
Should the Caps actually rebuild completely?
While it makes sense to see how this season plays out, if the Caps don't qualify for the playoffs, a full rebuild not only becomes a possibility—it almost becomes a necessity.
Here are three reasons why.