Aug 28, 2013, 5:34 PM EDT
Death, taxes and Washington dominating the Southeast Division.
While that wasn’t exactly a household mantra over the last six years, it did ring true. Washington captured five of the last six Southeast Division banners and, in doing so, was a perennial top-three seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs (the Caps finished third, second, first, first and third in years they won the division.)
Last season, Washington’s dominance of the Southeast was more valuable than ever. The strike-shortened season eliminated inter-conference play, meaning 18 of Washington’s 48 games came against the Lightning, Hurricanes, Panthers and Jets — none of whom made the playoffs.
In those 18 games, the Caps went 15-3-0. The only more successful team in-division was Chicago, who went 16-1-1 against the Central en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
“It’s been our saving grace this year,” goalie 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.”
Heading into 2013-14, that saving grace is gone.
The Caps now find themselves in the new Metropolitan Division, an eight-team circuit featuring just one other ex-Southeast member (Carolina) and a host of new rivals: Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
It’s a dramatically different landscape. The Penguins, Rangers and Isles were all playoff teams from a year ago; Columbus fell just short in its push for a postseason berth; the Devils knocked off the Flyers en route to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
So, safe to say the Caps won’t be dining out on divisional opponents anymore.
“It’s a tougher division, much tougher,” defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Post. “It’s going to be probably a pretty good battle, and the nice thing about our division now is we’ve had the luxury of not having to be the best all the time and still get into a good position in the playoffs.
“That’s the way it works.”
Apr 20, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT
Apr 20, 2015, 10:54 PM EDT
Devan Dubnyk produces his first playoff shutout.
Apr 20, 2015, 10:37 PM EDT
It drew a two-minute roughing penalty.
Apr 20, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT
No call on the first collision.
Apr 20, 2015, 9:48 PM EDT
Will shifting locales produce interesting results?
Apr 20, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
A close-to-perfect road effort from New York.
Apr 20, 2015, 9:41 PM EDT
Apr 20, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
New Jersey’s only player who went under the knife this offseason.
Apr 20, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT
He needs some help, though.
Apr 20, 2015, 7:36 PM EDT
Sleepy start by Pittsburgh.
Apr 20, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT
His issue is an upper-body injury.
Apr 20, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
But will he be around to see it happen?
Apr 20, 2015, 4:49 PM EDT
Things can change quickly in the playoffs.
Apr 20, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT
He did share some buzzwords though.
Apr 20, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Upper-body injury for the veteran forward.
Would McLellan like to coach McDavid? ‘You can have the best player and still not have the best team’
Apr 20, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT
Was he talking about the Oilers? Sharks?
Apr 20, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT
Corey Crawford will sit, once again, against the Preds.
Apr 20, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
Blues and Wild meet tonight in Game 3 at Xcel.
Apr 20, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Meaning he’ll be eligible to play in Tuesday’s Game 4 in Calgary.
Apr 20, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT
Kings have yet to comment on situation.
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- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 1
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead 77
- Video: Jets fans celebrate return of playoff hockey with whiteout in Winnipeg 4
- Would McLellan like to coach McDavid? ‘You can have the best player and still not have the best team’ 23
- Burrows’ instigator suspension rescinded, allowed to play Game 4 24
- No hearing scheduled for Hamhuis after Bennett headshot 13
- Sharks and McLellan have ‘mutually agreed’ to part ways 50
- Desperate Jets will ‘lean on’ their crowd tonight 19
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 16
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- Report: Kings’ Stoll arrested for cocaine, MDMA possession (Updated) (99)
- Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’ (94)
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (81)