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Beat Winnipeg and Caps are right back in race

Mar 22, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT

Carlson, Ovechkin, Brouwer Getty Images

Technically, tonight’s game in Winnipeg isn’t a must-win for Washington. That being said, the Capitals really, really need to win it.

A regulation loss would see the Jets take a nine-point lead over the Caps in the Southeast Division. Washington would also remain five points back of the Hurricanes and Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

A regulation win though? The Caps would be right back in the race for the Southeast, five points back of the Jets, with Washington holding a game in hand.

And let’s face it — the Jets are eminently fallible, as evidenced by their minus-10 goal differential, the worst of any team currently in a playoff position.

Add to the equation the Hurricanes are suddenly a mess, the Lightning have been one of the worst teams in the league since a decent start, and the Panthers are a non-factor, and there’s an opening here for the Caps.

They have to beat Winnipeg tonight though. Just like they did last night, shutting out the Jets, 4-0, at the MTS Centre.

Related: ‘Biggest week’ coming up for desperate Caps

  1. bcsteele - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I’m not a true fan of the Caps, but am I the only one that’s noticed they are starting to play like the team they were expected to be? Ovi has also improved his play BIG time…not quite his old self yet…but still. If I’m a Caps fan I would like what I’m seeing from them right now. Next game will be a huge one…

    • lapsncaps - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      I have definitely noticed it. They started off incredibly sloppy. No one was on the same page, defense was a mess, Ovi learning a new position. Missing Laich was huge. Even though the past few weeks they havent really been able to gain any ground, they haven’t lost it either. They are still near the bottom of the conference, but 12-14 all have the same record. They are inching up, and surprisingly have a decent amount of shutouts. I think early in the season they were thinking too hard. A lot of the teams that started off strong didn’t have a new coach or big changes. The Caps have.

      Too bad it is a shortened season and not many games left, but there is definitely plenty of time as long as they keep things up.

  2. kantnockdahustle89 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Caps are getting some key players back and should make the playoffs. Doubt they win a series but there is no reason this team shouldnt make it. Laich, Green and Orlov are 10x better than Crabb, Shultz and Poti.

    Backstrom also looks to also be back to full strength. You could tell for awhile he was playing scared and I dont blame him. No one wants their head crunched again. Good thing hes in the NHL where most players wont tend to go for your head unless they want to lose money.

  3. ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Of this team plays like they did last night on a consistent basis, they’ll win the Southeast. But more often than not, they are inconsistent. Backstrom looks like himself, Ovie is playing much better, and getting a healthy Brooks Laich back is the key ingredient. Need another dubya tonight. Lets do it boys!

    • jpelle82 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      cant get too high on them yet even with them getting healthier, they havent showed they can keep anything going yet this season. that said, the real big game between these 2 teams will be on april 23rd. i have a feeling both will play just above .500 or so hockey until then leaving maybe a 1 or 2 point difference in the standings setting up for a big finish. carolina might not be able to overcome all these goaltending injuries and well, tb just sucks of late.

  4. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    C’mon people. Lets be realistic here. Do you a actually believe the Caps will go 13 & 5 for the rest of this season? If you believe this than you also believe the Avs still have a chance to make the playoffs.

    • stakex - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      The difference between the Avs and Washington is that the Caps have the makings of a good team…. the Avs really don’t. Also, the Avs are 10 points back in their division, where as Washington could be as little as 5 points back with a win tonight.

      With that said I still think its a long shot that the Caps make the playoffs. If they can play like the did last night for the rest of the season however, I could see them going 13-5 (or better) and making the playoffs. The thing is, they actually need to play that way for 18 more games… and they have had trouble keeping up that level of play for more then a couple games at a time.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        So, all this to finally agree with me.

  5. steelers88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    So basically it’s a must win.

  6. blackfoot11 - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I like all the optimism from fellow Caps fans. However, lets see them put a consectutive points streak together before we begin to talk playoffs. Last nights win was a good start. Orlov and Laich have been huge since their return. The lines are starting to roll and they need to grab another two points tonight to put some pressure on Winnipeg for the division.

  7. caps4cup - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Let’s go caps. Big game

  8. gunnyhighway88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I’m cautiously optimistic about their chances for the rest of the season. They have looked a lot better the last two games, despite the loss to Pittsburgh. They should take care of business tonight, but I am still nervous about the game on Sunday against the Rangers.

  9. fishergal - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Reblogged this on effervescentoverflow and commented:
    They are ahead 3-0 in the 2nd period… GO CAPS!!!

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