WASHINGTON (AP) -- As bad as the Washington Capitals have been at times, they will wake up Wednesday only four points out of first place.
The Southeast Division is the weakling of the NHL in this compressed season, and a two-game surge -- including Tuesday night's 3-0 win over the first-but-fading Carolina Hurricanes -- has been enough to put the Capitals within decent range of recusing themselves from failure.
"We knew it was going to come around like this," said goaltender Braden Holtby, who made 33 saves for his fifth career shutout a day after signing a two-year contract extension. "So we were just being patient, learning what we needed to do, learning from our mistakes, and you can just see we're doing a good job."
The Capitals saw a few things they'd never seen before during Tuesday's game. Former teammate Alexander Semin was wearing another NHL uniform. Nicklas Backstrom fed John Erskine for a goal, the first time that's happened in their six seasons together. And Adam Oat...