Skip to content

Caps look to ride Southeast dominance all the way to playoffs

Apr 11, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 7: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates scoring teams second goal in the second period during a NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 7, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk AP

    St. Louis couldn’t capitalize on an early lead.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury AP

    Pittsburgh and Ottawa need to win to survive.

  3. Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:24 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

    He didn’t get a point in the first round.

  4. Video: Prust sparks melee by spearing goalie Anderson

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:57 PM EDT

    Prust, Anderson

    Senators coach Dave Cameron called it “cheap” and a sign of frustration.

  5. It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpta0ntizmjbjndy3yti3nwe0nwfhnwy3odfjn2u2mwrm AP

    Evgeni Malkin finished the series without a point.

  6. Video: Tarasenko continues unreal run with sixth goal on nine shots

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:14 PM EDT

    Vladimir Tarasenko

    Alexander Steen played a big role in that marker.

  7. Blues without Jori Lehtera for Game 5 vs. Wild

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Jori Lehtera Getty Images

    The odds of him playing were initially “50-50.”

  8. Video: Spaling gets unusual goal as puck bounces off arm

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT

    Spaling goal

    That tied Game 5 between Pittsburgh and the Rangers at 1-1.

  9. Video: Ryan snaps 16-game goal scoring slump

    Apr 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Ryan goal

    is that the start of a breakout for him?

  10. Price, Dubnyk, Rinne are Vezina Trophy finalists

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:38 PM EDT

    Carey Price Getty Images

    The Canadiens goaltender looks like the heavy favorite.

  11. Bettman doesn’t want to give Isles fans ‘hope’ of return to Nassau County

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT

    Capitals Getty Images

    “Lots of possibilities have been thrown out about an arena for the last decade and none of them have materialized.”

  12. Chicago to start Darling in Game 6

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Five Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Five

    After allowing four goals in a Game 5 loss to Nashville.

  13. Chiarelli named Oilers’ GM and president of hockey ops

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT

    Chiarelli

    “In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades.”

  14. Chevy re-confirms Pavelec as Winnipeg’s No. 1

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT

    Ondrej Pavelec Ondrej Pavelec

    Much like he did at the end of last year.

  15. Richardson favored to be next Buffalo coach, says oddsmaker

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:10 PM EDT

    Luke Richardson 3

    Currently coaching Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2613)
  2. K. Letang (2234)
  3. S. Weber (2211)
  4. M. Fisher (2121)
  5. A. Burrows (2034)
  1. C. Ehrhoff (1904)
  2. S. Crosby (1798)
  3. M. Giordano (1731)
  4. T. Hamonic (1716)
  5. D. Carcillo (1693)