Tuesday night action in the NHL had huge repercussions for the playoff race. The Caps again earned a loser point against the awesome Kings, but it wasn’t enough to vault them over the competition. And while the current standings look like a tense four-way tie for the conference’s two wild card spot, it’s not that simple.

Because of all those shootout wins early in the season, the Caps are lagging in regulation and overtime wins (ROW), which is the primary tiebreaker should teams be tied after 82 games. It’s unlikely the Caps can catch Detroit’s ROWs in the final nine games, so they’ll need to earn more standings points. Plus, Columbus and Detroit both have one extra game left to play.

And yet, I’m kind of optimistic.

Sports Club Stats tells me the Caps’ playoffs didn’t change much tonight.

Maybe, but I see Tuesday’s games as a sifting of teams to where they should be. Glancing at the Buy N Large Out-of-town Scoreboard, it went pretty good for the Caps. The insurgent Jackets beat the injured and aging Red Wings in the best way possible: #rego. The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their hilarious tumble down the standings by getting completely blown out by the Blues (outshot two-to-one during even strength).

The way I see it, Columbus will be a playoff team unless they hit a PDO wall in their final ten games. Travis Yost published an article the other day showing how Lumbus’ puck possession has been on the rise in the last couple months. They might be the real thing.

Meanwhile, Detroit and Toronto are in serious trouble. Detroit is a well-coached team, but they’re profoundly hobbled. And the Leafs are a gang of hobos pissing kerosene on a tire fire in front of a national audience. To earn that final wild card spot, the Caps merely have to keep doing what they’ve been doing: winning points any way they can (such as ten of the last twelve). And they’ve also got to hope both Detroit and Toronto keep circling the drain.

That might be difficult, as three of Toronto’s last four games are against some of the league’s worst teams (Jets, Panthers, Senators).

Detroit’s schedule is much tougher aside from two “gimme” games against the Sabres. And also this coming Saturday night, when the Wings and Leafs will play one another. That same night the Caps will host the beasts of the east, the Boston Bruins.

Expect that to be just as big as tonight was.

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  • Jack Conness

    This point tonight could really come back and cost them…

  • Joben

    With both Backstrom and Hillen potentially out I doubt the Caps will make it to the playoffs.

  • Lawrence

    Please…you are breaking my soul! lmao

  • Rob W.

    I really want to see the rangers just go into a nose dive here in the next 9 games

  • I see it the other way. They had no business leading the Kings, and their lead was never safe given how Oates plays. Getting a single point was a gift.

  • Putin

    Any chance we can talk about this?????

  • I’d be okay with that

  • Kyle Reid

    Actually I’m surprised we got any points out of the Kings. Better teams then the Caps have gotten 0 so 2/4 ain’t half bad.

  • RT23

    Funny, I always thought leafs fall in autumn. But I guess these leafs fall in the spring.

  • johnnymorte

    Your metaphor regarding the leafs is brazenly poetic. I think their whole season has been a fluke and this is serious mean reversion.. When you look at their roster outside Kessel and JVR it reads like a minor league outfit. Phaneuf is the most overrated Dman in the league.

  • Jack Conness

    “…their lead was never safe given how Oates plays.”

    That seems like a problem there…

  • Owen Johnson

    Badum tss!

  • Owen Johnson

    And the Leafs are a gang of hobos pissing kerosene on a tire fire in front of a national audience.

    Def my favorite RMNBism of the night.

  • Matt Lauer

    You know, I really thought they were going to keep the lead until the end. I am now completely and irremediably convinced that they can’t be counted on to maintain any lead, whatsoever.

  • dylan wheatley

    my problem is: ok, we get lucky and we’re 8/10 on super hard games with another one (boston) coming up, great.

    but none of it is because of good playing. its (not all, obviously) all luck. what’s the caps PDO over the past four games? 103.075. completely unsustainable.

    this is a bad team, being coached by a bad coach. i’m angry about that, because obviously with a few minor adjustments it could be a good team, but so it goes.

    i don’t really care if the caps make the playoffs right now, because i’m not interested in cindarella stories, i’m interested in dynasties.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Can we please stop with the “Detroit’s old” line? Outside of a couple of guys (Alfie and Bert), the Wings are really not that old right now. Only 6 guys in the lineup last night 30+ with the average age of 26.8 (without Alfie and Bert, it drops to 25.1). I think the Wings went 6 or 7 games in a row with a new injury. It seems every other game some kid from Grand Rapids is playing in his first NHL game. So please stop with “Detroit’s old” line; it’s older than the team is. Sorry, pet peeve of mine. 🙂

  • Jonathan Kenny

    Devils, Blues, Blackhawks, Lightning–none of whom are the underachievers the Caps have been–all coming up in April. I’m not one for wanting other teams to lose so mine can make the playoffs and I really don’t want to be pulling my hair out watching the Caps lose another playoff series because they refuse to screen the goalie (6’4″ 247lb Penner won’t have much opportunity to do so on the 4th line. So it goes). It would be amusing to listen to GMGM’s post season press conference if the Caps don’t make the playoffs. What excuses do you think he would make?

    But I must be addicted to Caps playoffs because I keep wanting to come back for more. My only source of perverse loser’s satisfaction these last few years has been watching the Pens implode and, in general, play worse and underachieve more than the Caps in the playoffs.

    It seems all those commentators who claimed the Caps only made the playoffs due to the weak SE division will have their cake. How nice it would be if the Caps made it in and pulled off a quarter-finals upset. I could at least imagine myself shoving a piece of that cake up Pierre LeBrun’s ass.

    Go Gabby’s Ducks.

  • Toronto Caps Fan

    The Leafs have played 74 games, that standings update doesn’t include the St. Louis loss last night. I think it is a 3 team race between Caps, Jackets and Wings.

  • updated the image earlier–

    I still don’t think the Caps can catch the Jackets

  • VeggieTart

    If the Caps make the playoffs, I just don’t want to have to face these guys again.

  • VeggieTart

    I’m going to guess that not many teams can put up a four-spot on Jonathan Quick either.