Thanks to New Jersey's recent plummet, the Capitals now control their own destiny for second place in the Division. Just six games remain for Washington, none against playoff teams, not the perfect buildup for their second go-around in as many years in the post-season.
Here's what the playoff scenario has got for the Caps as of April 1st:
While most Caps fans can agree that a series against Montreal would be more favorable, I wouldn't mind a Washington-New York match-up. The Rangers have won six of their last seven at home, but both home games against Washington have needed extra time, with the Caps winning in OT and the Rangers winning in the shootout.
See what I'm doing here?
I'm looking ahead. I'm skipping over six games against teams that the Caps should blow out of the water.
Overlooking games against the lowly Islanders has gotten out-of-hand this year. Back on December 16th, Washington allowed two goals in the last nine minutes to send the game to overtime. Alex Ovechkin helped avoid the shootout by netting a his second goal of the game with 11 seconds left.
The Caps needed Ovechkin to bail them out again when Kyle Okposo scored with less than eight minutes left to even-steven the score at 1. Ovechkin scored both Caps goals, taking just 1:46 to end the game.
So we get the Islanders and the Devils get the Penguins... Winning against the last place team in April is easy enough, right? Yeah... You would think so.