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5 Ways the Washington Capitals Can Make the 2014 NHL Playoffs

5 Ways the Capitals Can Make the 2014 NHL Playoffs

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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The Washington Capitals are currently two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but their remaining schedule is quite daunting. Of their six remaining games, only one is against a team with a losing record. Here are five ways the Capitals can find themselves playing postseason hockey.

Better Play from Alex Ovechkin

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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Better Play from Alex Ovechkin

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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First in the NHL in goals, dead last in the NHL in plus-minus. There's no denying that Alex Ovechkin is one of the most gifted goal scorers in the world, but his play in the defensive end can definitely be improved. If the Capitals make the playoffs, Ovechkin will be one of the main reasons why.

Give Up Fewer Shots

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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Give Up Fewer Shots

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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The Capitals are currently ranked 27th in the NHL in shots given up per game, which is going to need to change if they want any hope at playing Spring hockey. Keeping opponents to the outside and generating more pressure in the neutral zone are just two ways the Capitals can keep the amount of shots their opponents take to a minimum.

Show Up Every Night

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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Show Up Every Night

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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On Tuesday night, the Capitals were spanked by the Dallas Stars. They lost 5-0 and looked completely uninterested from start to finish. With only six games remaining in the regular season, and their playoff hopes on the line, the Capitals have to show up to the rink every night ready to go to war.

Win in Regulation

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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Win in Regulation

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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If it comes down to a tie-breaker, the Capitals are in trouble considering that 10 of their 33 wins this season have come in shootouts. The Capitals have two games left against teams that are also fighting for a playoff spot – the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes. Winning those games in regulation would make a huge difference in bettering their chances for the postseason.

Luck

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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Luck

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
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There's no other way to put it, the Capitals can only do so much for themselves, but because they are on the outside looking in, they're going to need some help from other teams around the league. With just two of their final six games against other teams contending for a spot in the Eastern Conference, they'll be watching scoreboards across the league very carefully.

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