Since the advent of the three point game, it seems like the end of the year sends analysts and fans scurrying to the calculator to determine what, if any, impact that extra point has on the ultimate playoff standings. And year after year the conclusion remains the same - the impact is minimal at best.
This year, however, it could be something to take a look at. If the Capitals don't make the playoffs they can first and foremost blame themselves - many games should have been won, points were lost here and there on stupid mistakes, etc. But you almost always need a little help from the teams around you when you're in the thick of a logjam, and the Caps haven't really gotten that to this point.
One of the biggest culprits in the "thanks for not helping" category? The Boston Bruins.
No, it's the way they go about racking up loser points and overtime winners and shootout victories. 19 times the Bruins have needed overtime or a shootout - 13 of those have come against teams the Caps are currently chasing or being chased by.
And 8 of them have been Boston wins.
So not only are they creating three point games, always annoying, but they're winning them in the end. That's a point gifted to one of our opponents that, had the Bruins developed a killer instinct, would not have been earned. Observe:
10/20 - Boston 1 NYR 0 (SO)
11/1 - Boston 4 Buffalo 3 (OT)
11/7 - Buffalo 2 Boston 1 (OT)
1/12 - Boston 4 Philadelphia 3 (OT)
1/17 - Toronto 3 Boston 2 (SO)
1/19 - Boston 4 NYR 3 (SO)
2/8 - Boston 3 Buffalo 2 (SO)
2/16 - Toronto 4 Boston 3 (OT)
2/19 - Boston 3 Carolina 2 (SO)
2/21 - Boston 5 Florida 4 (SO)
3/4 - Florida 1 Boston 0 (OT)
3/9 - NYR 1 Boston 0 (SO)
3/15 - Boston 3 Philadelphia 2 (OT)
In comparison, the Flyers have only been on the winning end of these three point games twice. Buffalo has done it three times. Toronto has five wins. Annoying, sure. Back-breaking? Not even close.
So thank you, Boston. Thanks for nothing.