The NHL schedule may show that the Washington Capitals have six regular-season games remaining, but the reality is that the Caps playoffs run begins tonight , in a huge matchup at Verizon Center with the Buffalo Sabres. Washington and Buffalo each have 84 points, with the Caps holding the tiebreaker, by virtue of more non-shootout wins, and are locked in a pitched battle for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
By the way, how did the Sabres even get themselves into playoffs contention? At the NHL All-Star Break, they were languishing in the standings, ten points out of the last playoff spot, and now, they’re a threat to snatch the eight seed away from the Capitals. I guess that’s what going 17-5-5 in their last 27 games will do for your playoffs chances.
Despite their 2-2-2 record in their last six games, it was encouraging to see the Caps rebound from their devastating Friday night OT loss to the Winnipeg Jets with a resounding shutout of Minnesota on Sunday. The loss to the Jets, where the Caps surrendered a 3-goal lead at home, could have sent the Caps into a major tailspin…it seems like the ship was at least temporarily righted with the win over the Wild.
Now we need more heroics and belly-patting goal celebrations from Alex Ovechkin, who’s been on a major heater over the past seven games, with 9 goals in that span. For all the naysayers that wanted to bury Ovi for his “subpar” performance this season, he’s tied for fourth in the NHL, with 36 goals. If that’s considered a disappointment, so be it…I just hope Ovi “disappoints” me all the way to a Caps playoff berth.