Apr 11, 2013, 4:55 PM EST
The Washington Capitals have made a stirring comeback from their dreadful start to move into third in the Eastern Conference.
And they know exactly how they got there.
The Caps have dined out on the Southeast Division opponents this year, going 12-3-0. The only teams to achieve similar in-division success are Pittsburgh (12-5-0 vs. the Atlantic) and Chicago (13-0-1 vs. the Central).
“It’s been our saving grace this year,” Braden Holtby told the Washington Post. “It’s been lucky that we’ve got to play those teams so much, but at the same time, we’ve done a good job with them and we haven’t taken a lot of those games lightly because we know how important they are.”
Washington is 2-1 against Tampa Bay this year, 3-1 against Carolina and Winnipeg and a perfect 4-0 against Florida, outscoring the Panthers by a whopping 22-9 margin.
(Queue the “more like South-LEAST division” jokes.)
To their credit, the Caps aren’t denying the fact they’re benefiting from playing in a weak division.
They’re sticking to the usual utterances teams in these situations offer: We didn’t make the schedule. You can only beat the teams you face. We’re not focused on who we beat, but rather how we play.
Just ask forward Matt Hendricks.
“Our division hasn’t been that solid this year. We can’t argue that,” Hendricks said. “But for the most part we tried not to be too focused on the outside, more looking at our games, our video clips, focusing on the ways we could get better and start climbing the ladder.”
The Caps have eight games remaining in the season, including tonight’s contest against — you guessed it — another in-division rival, the Carolina Hurricanes.
After that, Washington has two more Southeast matchups left (Saturday vs. Tampa Bay; Tuesday Apr. 23 vs. Winnipeg) and will play both at the friendly confines of the Verizon Center.
Dec 20, 2013, 11:12 PM EST
The latest round in one of the league’s great rivalries.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:54 PM EST
Winnipeg beat Florida 5-2.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:19 PM EST
The Rangers lost to the Islanders 5-3 on Friday.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:02 PM EST
He had about 100 loved ones on hand in New Jersey.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:48 PM EST
He managed the feat in 634 games.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
A little improvement everyday for St. Louis’ captain.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:38 PM EST
His game misconduct hasn’t been rescinded, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:14 PM EST
They’re marketing it as “Back in Black.”
Dec 20, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Reports indicate there was knee-to-knee contact with Mark Fistric.
Dec 20, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
The Bruins forward’s argument lasted five hours, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Dec 20, 2013, 6:39 PM EST
The Predators insist there haven’t been setbacks, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:12 PM EST
“It’s just going to take time,” said general manager Don Maloney.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
“The replay shows I’m trying to get out of the way.”
Dec 20, 2013, 4:31 PM EST
“I think last night’s game is going to stick with me for a while,” coach Todd Richards said.
Dec 20, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
The play of 19-year-old Olli Maatta has helped the Penguins keep rolling.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:56 PM EST
“We didn’t have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said a Denver DA spokesperson.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:51 PM EST
Also, Dan Girardi’s acting skills.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:26 PM EST
Leafs haven’t done well since the start of 24/7.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:06 PM EST
Should be in Saturday to face Toronto.
Dec 20, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
James van Riemsdyk scored on Mike Smith… we think.
- Video: Ovechkin becomes sixth fastest player to 400 goals in Caps win 3
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 14
- Assault charges against Varlamov dropped 31
- Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’ 5
- Orpik: First days after Thornton attack were ‘miserable’ 69
- Video: Dustin Brown ejected for kneeing, Tomas Hertl won’t return (update) 64
- No supplemental discipline for Caps’ Wilson 32
- Habs healthy scratch Briere for first time this season 7
- Chiarelli says he’s not trading Marchand 21
- Schenn to play tonight; Oates maintains Wilson hit was ‘totally clean’ 54
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (103)
- Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension (78)
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head (71)