Neuvirth lets in the game's only goal

The game’s only goal. Whatever. (Photo credit: Alan Diaz)

The Capitals will face the Rangers -- who won 5-2 Saturday -- in the first round of the playoffs. (Photo credit: Jonathan Klein)

The Capitals will face the Rangers -- who won 5-2 Saturday -- in the first round of the playoffs. (Photo credit: Jonathan Klein)

The game that impacted the Capitals the most Saturday night didn’t involve Washington at all. In fact, it took place 13 hours away from them in Raleigh, North Carolina.

With the New York Rangers beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday afternoon, the Carolina Hurricanes had to get the victory Saturday night to tie New York at 93 standings points. By virtue of holding the tie-breaker Carolina would pick-up the eighth and final playoff spot, getting themselves a date with the Caps.

Well, they didn’t. Carolina started lifeless and never fully awoke, with the Lightning ending the ‘Canes’ season with a 6-2 victory. Dominic Moore, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark scored for Tampa Bay while Simon Gagne and Martin St Louis added empty net goals for the Lightning. Cory Stillman and Chad LaRose scored in vain for the Hurricanes.

Joe B. Suit of the Night

Joe B. Suit of the Night

Meanwhile in South Florida, Capitals and Panthers were equally as snooze-worthy. It took 54 minutes to net the contest’s opening tally when Bill Thomas snuck one past Michal Neuvirth at 13:55 of the third period. That was it. Cats beat Caps, 1-0.

No bullets, but we’ll leave you with one note. This was 11th time Washington has been blanked this season, the second highest total in franchise history.

Washington will open the postseason at home against the New York sometime in the middle of next week. The Caps are just 1-2-1 against the Rangers this season, with N.Y. handing D.C. 7-0 and 6-0 shutouts. Yelp! The NHL will announce the playoff schedule Sunday night.

16 wins to go. See you tomorrow.

For those who jumped on the bandwagon a little late, this is what happened the last time the Caps faced the Rangers in the playoffs. And yes, that is our very own Rachel Cohen holding the sign.

Caps fans are hoping she can jump for joy once more. Man, what a corny way to end the regular season.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    Feds clearly felt the Horn’s power there.

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  • Rick

    Did anyone else think the Fla. player hitting the post on the empty netter from 3 feet out was HILARIOUS?

  • Brad

    I love and miss Sergei. Such a great player. He was so respected by everyone in the Capitals organization

  • WB

    I think we all need to thank Chara for his monster slap shot that hit Callahan.

  • BobbyG

    @WB: Sorry, but I won’t participate. I know it’s tempting to do so, but I take no pleasure from one player injuring another so badly to end that player’s season.

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