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Capitals take over Southeast Division lead

Apr 4, 2013, 10:15 PM EDT

islescapsgetty Getty Images

The Washington Capitals couldn’t ask for things to go much better than they did on Thursday, taking over the Southeast Division lead thanks to tonight’s events. Here’s a rundown of the ground they gained against the Winnipeg Jets and the Eastern Conference’s bubble teams to boot.

Washington 2, NY Islanders 1 (SO)

Braden Holtby stopped 35 out of 36 shots, Mike Green kept his four-game goal streak going and Alex Ovechkin scored the lone shootout tally to give Washington a close win against fellow playoff contenders the New York Islanders. With that charity point, the New York Rangers’ inactivity and other teams’ losses, the Isles moved up to seventh in the East.

(In case you’re wondering, Martin Erat was a non-factor in less than 15 minutes of ice time, so maybe that’s lone downer.)

Boston 1, New Jersey 0

Jaromir Jagr‘s lucky first goal as a member of the Boston Bruins ended up being the game-winner as Tuukka Rask tormented the New Jersey Devils with a 40-save performance. At least for one night, the Devils remain out of the top eight (now No. 9) in the East.

Montreal 4, Winnipeg 1

Like the Devils, the Winnipeg Jets lost their fifth game in a row to drop out of the top eight tonight. Michael Ryder was the player who bedeviled Winnipeg the most, scoring two goals and an assist. Another strong goalie performance was a factor, too, as Peter Budaj stopped all but one of the 34 pucks that came his way.

Philadelphia 5, Toronto 3

Perhaps this represents the only less-than-ideal outcome for the Capitals, although that’s probably grasping at straws when you look at the night as a whole.

Thanks to tonight’s activity, the Capitals now have a 46 percent chance to win the Southeast compared to dual 24 percent odds for Winnipeg and the Tampa Bay Lightning (who beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 tonight), according to Sports Club Stats.

  1. orangeandblack67 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    This division is absolutely ridiculous. 38 points gives you the 3rd spot in the standings. WOW

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:14 PM

      That’s the way the cookie crumbles, hoss.

    • selldannysell - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Ladies and gentlemen, your South(l)east Division!

    • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      There are Flyer articles that need your attention. Now I truly understand what Pens fans deal with on a daily basis. Go troll elsewhere.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:06 AM

        it’s funny, i don’t even see that guy on that many flyers posts. as of this comment, he’s on neither of the most recent 2. a true troll? probably…. not that I disagree with his stance on this one.

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        Its guys like Orangeandblack67 that dont post win or lose on his own team, but freelances other articles spitting venom on my team. I would not dare post on a Flyer article, if I dont have the balls to post on my own team and debate with other fans about the Caps. Its an unwritten rule for me.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        i mean, it’s hard to blame him though. it’s tough reading some of the drivel that comes out of Pens/Flyers fans on EVERY post about either team. over half of the comments aren’t about the article…

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 5, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        True, its like an ongoing street brawl. But I see a number of your posts, despite the mud throwing.

      • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Who cares, its the highlight of his hockey day, considering the current postion his team is in. When it comes down to it, who has the time to take note of which person is posting on what article? I post here and there and could only imagine how unproductive I’d be if I was here long enough to take those kind of notes.

    • dglelite - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      B!tch all you want about the SE Division…fact is the Caps, with a new coach a new system and no preseason started out slow.

      They have now gone 16-8-1 in the last 25. If they played like this since the beginning of the season they would have high 40’s, low 50’s in points, crushing the southeast and in the same breath as the other top teams in the league.

      Trust me, right now, nobody wants to play Holtbeast, a hot Ovi and a rolling Caps.

      • 19to77 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:03 AM

        Of those 16 wins, three each were against the Panthers, Jets and Hurricanes, and 13 total were against teams presently not in the playoffs. All three of the remaining wins were by one goal apiece, and in OT or a shootout in all cases – against Boston, NYR and NYI.

        Point is, take it with a grain of salt. The streak is solid, but you have a combined 2 points this entire season against any of the other top 6 seeds – one lonely win against Boston. Which they still got a point out of.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        19to77 – Point taken. I guess we will see how we will fare in the playoffs (assuming we maintain our spot in the top 8)

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        wow, good points from both of you. I think the Caps are better than they’re given credit for, but they’ll still have a tough time moving past the first round. there’s no way anybody else in the division moves all the way up to 6th seed, so they’re most likely going to be in an out-of-division series. at this point, that’s not a good thing.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        well they are gonna be looking at either toronto or ottawa probably in the first round if they keep the 3 spot…who they havent beaten yet. in fact they havent beaten anyone that is in the playoffs now except boston, nyi, and nyr only once each. i’ve been saying it for the last 2 weeks. we will see what they are really made of when they run the gauntlet in the last 6 games of the year, maybe the jets will wake up and make it interesting.

      • 19to77 - Apr 5, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        For the record, I don’t think they’re a bad team. It galls me to admit it, but they’ve turned the season around completely. Oates is starting to pay off, Ovi and Green are showing glimmers of former glory, Ribeiro’s consistently great this year and Holtby’s looked solid lately too. They’re a long way from taking out the Pens or the Bruins in a playoff series, but they’re improving quickly. There’s a lot to look forward to… just, maybe don’t expect a deep run this particular season.

      • mmcneels81 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Since the 2-8-1 start the Capitals have only played 3 games against teams currently in the top 6. (Boston twice. Pittsburgh once). That’s three out of the last 26 games. That’s a very small sample size, and there are two sides to that argument. On the one hand, they’ve turned they’re season around by racking up 16 wins and 33 points at the expense of lesser teams. But on the other hand, they’ve barely been given the chance to compete against the better teams! Who’s to say the Capitals would not have fared just as well if they had?? There is no evidence with which to make that assertion. In this case, you can’t take one side of the argument without also taking the other.

        We will have the chance to learn more. Six out of the Capitals last 11 games will come against teams currently in the top 6. I’m a huge Caps fan. I’m happy with the turn around, but I think I’ll reserve judgement for now.

      • mmcneels81 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        It’s worth remembering that the Caps played very very well in their March 19th loss to PIT, and were one untimely turnover away from collecting at least a point.

      • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        19to77-

        You can’t fault the Caps for doing what the system is set up for them to do, right? Beat up on your divisional opponents and send the best team to the playoffs, everybody else falls inline. Works just fine in other sports.

    • flavadave10 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      God I’m gonna miss the Southeast division. Mediocrity at its finest.

  2. jdrew506 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Hey James you are a tool if you think the Islanders got a charity point. They worked their asses off for that point with no help from the zebras. How many high sticks and holding calls did they put the whistles in their pockets for? Yeah yeah yeah I know people are going to say it goes both ways but seriously this was absolutely redonk. Just glad they were able to get the point but in no way it was charity.

    • dglelite - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      The Isles did play hard. AND WELL. This game was a truly hard fought game throughout. Had a playoff feel.

      The Caps got away with a couple potential high sticks and the Isles got away with a few as well, especially getting a bogus delay of game at the end of the game that hit the top of the glass.

      Either way, it was a gritty playoff type game that as a Caps fan was glad the team got two points out of!

    • therealjr - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      As I see it, my Caps got the charity. Where I’m from, a tie is worth 1 point.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:14 AM

        Where I am from, their shouldn’t ever be a tie. You play until someone wins.

        I don’t like the shootout, I would rather they continue on with more 4 on 4 or something. But the NHL has deemed the shootout the tie breaker right now. The Caps did not make the rules, they just play to them….AND GOT THE DESERVED EXTRA POINT AS A RESULT

      • therealjr - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        I guess where you’re from, the first 90 years of the NHL bothered you.

        The nature of the game lends itself to ties. If you propose playing every game to it’s end with skaters, then it’s not going to be like today’s overtime, it will be much tighter and conservative, multiple OT will not be out of the question because each team faces 2 points or nothing. The players don’t want that.

        If you insist on the shootout, you are cheapening the game itself, making the 4-1 domination as valuable as the SO win. I’m sure in the NHL’s mind all this shootout business balances itself out, but let’s be clear that deserved or not, the shootout WIN is the charity point.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        I am from Philly and DC in my time. And YES the first 90 years of the NHL did bother me with respect to ties, as it did most people (hence why they have since changed it)

        No game lends itself to ties. NBA plays until there is a winner. NFL rarely if ever plays to a tie. Baseball goes to extra innings until a winner. So I respectfully disagree.

        Where playoff games nobody wants to make a mistake so overtime tends to go into multiple periods, in the regular season is different. However, instead of the overtime being 5 minutes of 4on4 they should simply make it 20 minutes of 4on4. I doubt most games would go beyond the first 20.

  3. mp1113 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Erat wasn’t a complete non factor, almost had a nice assist on a would be ovi goal but ovi whiff/got poke checked. He also looked good in the ot paired with ovi. All in all huge win for the Caps. Dont let up!

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      He played pretty well from my vantage point at VC. That game was FUGLY and Holtby was the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Stars of the game. Bravo #70

  4. jdrew506 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Having said what I said earlier, I will give credit to the caps goalie, he played a great game and stood on his head a few times

  5. ludacrish05 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    We lose to the lightning on Sunday and this can all change… We need to keep pushing

    • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      The Caps next game is at Florida on Saturday night. Then the Lightning on Sunday.

  6. blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Proud of my Caps tonight. Great game by the Isles as well. From where the season started until now is a testimony to the resiliency of the Caps. Lets keep the train rolling. I know the haters are going to hate, but we are first in the divisio, and cant tell me anything.

  7. orangeandblack67 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    No, I think it is a testimony to how horrible the southeast division really is.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      if this were next year, caps would be out and Jersey in.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM

        is jersey even relevant right now?

      • therealjr - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:42 AM

        If this were next year, the season wouldn’t even be half over and they have 45 more games to play.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        dglelite, yes…. they have a better record than the Capitals. sitting in 9th place.

        and therealjr, good point. got me there.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        ibieiniid- Understood about the record. But a record is only half the story.

        The Caps have the same record as the Jets. But would you rather play the Jets or the Caps right now?

        The same goes for the Devils…Their record is what it is, but most of their wins came at the beginning of the season and they have tailed off over the last 10-20 games.

        That was what I referring to in terms of are they relevant right now.
        I like the Devils and love Brodeur, but they are not playing particularly well currently.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        i’m picking up what you’re laying down.

        but JUST from a Flyers perspective, I’d rather play the Caps right now. we’ve basically owned the Caps, and been owned by NJ in recent history. i’m with you though, i can’t say any OTHER team would want to play the Caps over Devs right now.

      • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Are we sure the Devils would do so much more in the playoffs than the Caps?

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        well, obviously we aren’t sure of any of it… but I’d be inclined to think yes. the Devils weren’t necessarily favorites last year and look how far they got. a lot of the same guys, they could be poised to make another playoff run.

    • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      Love the hate bro. Keep it coming.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        how is that hate? he was stating the truth. if you listed the teams in points-order, the whole division would be below 8th… and that’s with points from extra games against their own horrible division mates.

        looked pretty identical last year, and how did your division winner do in the playoffs?

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        ibieiniid: Its hating on my team because I stated that the Caps improved play and taking 1st, this season is a testimony to how resilient they are, and OrangeandBlack67 trashes my statement by talking about the division. I was talking team and he was talking division. I know this division have been inconsistent this year. Thats the hate I’m talking about.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        oh mybad, i didn’t even realize he was responding to you.

  8. jdrew506 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    He was good but so was nabby so don’t get to crazy about him being all 3 stars there.

    • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Nabby was the only reason that game was as close as it was

      he was spectacular, arguably better than Holtby tonight

      • islesjb - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        He made some spectacular saves but the one that he did let in was one of the softer goals I’ve seen. That save should have been made ten times out of ten.

        At the same time, gotta give him credit for stealing that point.

        Holtby was very impressive as well

  9. jdrew506 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    And I agree its a little redonk that a team can jump from 10th to 3rd with one win but that is the way things are. Must be nice to be in a real bad division.

  10. orangeandblack67 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Well you’ll get your share of hate (as in Hating life) after this season when Washington has to compete with some real teams.

    • blackfoot11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      Well, the Caps consistently made the playoffs in the old Patrick division. I believe they will do the same in realignment. Like I said, keep the hate coming bro.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        lol ya i see what you’re sayin.

        but Caps WILL step it up in a more competitive division, for the sake of the team i hope they do. (lemme clarify, I’m a flyers fan first, Caps second since I live in Caps country and grew up going to their games. it’s really tying me in knots about realignment)

      • blackfoot11 - Apr 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Having the Old Patrick back together is definitely going to make for some good hockey, and provide rekindle the old ways. The animosity and pure hate is really going to escalate with the divsion playoff system back.

    • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      You speak as if your team are world beaters. That just isn’t so!

  11. bricktop02 - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    The Caps suck. Always have always will.

    • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Bring on the sour grapes!

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Vaild arguements there. Well done

    • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      poor baby!

  12. caps4cup - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Let’s go caps. Keep playing strong.

  13. jdrew506 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    You say Nabby is the only reason the game was even that close? Need I remind you that the Islanders out shot the caps 36-22 and dominated most of the 3rd period. If anything Holtby is the reason the game was as close as it was.

    • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      shots matter little…quality shots and chances are what matters and Nabby stonewalled the Caps on four or five chances that should have been easily in the back of the net.

      Alot of the shots on Holtby were from the point and relatively easy stops. Don’t get me wrong, he made some incredible stops as well.

      That was as good of a goaltending display by two goaltenders in one game I have seen in quite a long time.

    • natswizskincap - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Win is the most important stat, end of story.

  14. therealjr - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    What is the point of the day-to-day odds of winning anything? Winning games makes them go up, losing makes them go down. Ingenious concept.

  15. operwapitsai - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    OK well uh besides all the hate and love it is great to see ovi playing the way ovi plays hockey. when he plays his best, he is the most exciting player to watch in the world

  16. operwapitsai - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    you know what, on top of that. I hope the pens can grab the top seed and the caps the 8th seed and we can see another showdown for the ages

    • nicknyhc - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:02 AM

      No way. I’m rooting for the Isles to take the 8th seed and bounce the Pens first round.

      I’d laugh so hard.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:43 AM

        I’m laughing so hard now!

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        i was rootin’ for this scenario too until the Flyers at least got their nose back in the picture.

        would be priceless to see the isles knock the pens out.

  17. blastardo - Apr 5, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    I just hope the caps make the playoffs. Period.

    If there has to be one team from the Southeast that goes to the playoffs it should be them.

    • nicknyhc - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      Agreed, but the whole “The top team from every division HAS to be given a playoff spot even if the division is garbage” thing is stupid.

      • dglelite - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        nick…EVERY major sport has that, unfortunately.

        NHL, NFL (Remember the NFC West a couple years back?), MLB

      • ibieiniid - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        don’t worry, the realigned seeding format is better. undeserving teams could still slip in… but not all the way up at the 3rd seed. 5th seed at best i believe.

  18. jdrew506 - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Islesjb I agree completely with you that the goal Nabby let in was weak and should have stopped. Was a very weak shot from the blue line that looked like it was fanned on and just kind of fluttered in.

    As far as shot on goal and quality shots you are correct about quality being more important and I do believe that it was very close for the game on both parts. However like I said the isles dominated the 3rd period and had more shots and quality shots and the caps were lucky to hold on.

  19. prosportswashington - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    In other news, Ovechkin has injured his back, as a result of carrying the entire team for the last month

  20. stillers213 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    It’s a very nice turnaround for this team. I was starting to count them out and now it seems they’re finding their way. The NHL playoffs are better with Ovechkin IMO.

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