Saturday’s win over the Canadiens was way too close, but two points were gained and that is all that matters. Now, in this final week of the regular season, six points remain available. The Caps kinda need all of those if they want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
That means getting two tonight in Tampa.
What the heck happened to Tampa anyway? They were the breakout team in the east last year, going pretty darn far with a bright youngling (Stamkos), a wizened old man (Roloson), and a magical halfling (St. Louis). They swept our Capitals out in the second round almost took a series away from the eventual champions, the Boston Bruins.
This year, the team kinda blows. The big difference is Dwayne Roloson, who dropped from a .914 Sv% to an .884 Sv%. Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, is the best offensive player in the league with 56 goals. Keeping that tally stalled will be a big part of getting the win.
The Bolts no longer have Steve Downie, whom they dealt to the Avalanche, immediately halving their DOUCHEBAG/60 stat. That alone will make tonight’s game much more pleasant.
I don’t think I need to impress on you how important this game is, but I’m gonna do it anyway:
The Capitals are in 8th place, 2 points ahead of Buffalo. They probably ain’t catching Ottawa, but winning the division title is still possible. Here are all the games we care about:
Capitals @ Lightning Monday Panthers vs Jets Tuesday Sabres vs Maple Leafs Tuesday Capitals vs Panthers Thursday Sabres @ Flyers Thursday Sabres @ Boston Saturday Panthers vs Canes Saturday Capitals @ NYR Saturday
As we’ve written about before, the Capitals suck on the road. If the Caps make the playoffs, which is likely, having the benefit of home ice could be the difference between playing golf soon and playing golf REALLY soon. We’ll know for sure on Saturday. Speaking of which: you coming to our party???
Puck drops at 7. It’ll be on NBC Sports, but I think Joe B is calling it.
Here’s a tune from last year’s playoffs: