Wednesday, April 02, 2008

From playoff longshots to Division leaders

It's been a remarkable run up the standings for the Washington Capitals, who on Tuesday night not only managed to climb into the playoff race, but grab onto a share of third place overall in the Eastern division.

Washington, which has captured the imagination of most hockey fans with their stylish fast pace and sudden surge of wins knocked off the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, a 4 -1 thumping that has spun the Hurricanes into a tie with the Caps, and suddenly in need of wins to survive.

With the win the Caps also pulled closer to the eighth and final playoff spot, one point behind the Bruins and Flyers who had the night off. Obviously the Caps would prefer to keep on their path of securing the Southeast title and it's automatic entry as the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

But plan B, the back door of eighth place is a lot closer than it was even a week ago for Washington.

Carolina and the Caps both have two games remaining on the schedule, the Canes and the Caps both face Tampa and Florida before Saturday, games which should prove to be high scoring affairs, as points for and against will be the determining factor should the two teams still be tied for first in the Southeast by the time Sunday morning rolls along.

The momentum for sure is on the side of Washington, who have been playing a sudden death kind of game for weeks now, every game a key, each point another step into the playoffs.

Considering the surprises of the season so far, many hockey fans are most likely hoping for the Caps to turn it on for the next two games and grab that playoff spot, once they get the taste they may provide more trouble in the playoffs than anyone could have dared dream a few short months ago.

Washington Post--Capitals Are Standing Tall
Washington Times--Rolling right along
Washington Times--Red-hot team still has to post a help wanted sign
The News and Observer--Canes letting it slip away

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