Posted April 12, 2013 on
AP on Fox
If not for the rule of every division winner automatically making the playoffs, the weak Southeast Division may not have a postseason qualifier among it.
The Washington Capitals, though, are doing all they can to prove they belong.
Washington looks to extend its winning streak to seven by earning a fifth consecutive home victory over the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
The Southeast winner will eventually be the Eastern Conference's No. 3 playoff seed and have accompanying home-ice advantage in the first round, though that team's point total may not be any better than that of the final postseason qualifiers.
The Capitals (22-17-2) currently are atop the division, two points ahead of second-place Winnipeg, in large part because of their surge.
They're currently in the midst of their longest winning streak since beginning 2011-12 on a seven-game run and have gone 10-1-1 over their last 12 - a stretch that began with a two-game road sweep of the Jets on March 21 and 22.
Washington improved to 13-3-0 versus the Southeast with Thursday's 3-1 win over Carolina. It is 9-14-2 against the rest of the conference but is focused on winning its fifth division crown in six years to avoid being left out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07.
Following Saturday's contest, only one of their remaining six games - an April 23rd showdown with Winnipeg - is within the division.
''Because of our division and the way the points are falling right now, it might be a division lead or we're out of the playoffs," said Troy Brouwer, whose two goals Thursday snapped a five-game streak without a point. "We've put ourselves in a great situation to make the playoffs and have home-ice advantage in the first round. I don't think after those first games when we were 2-8-1 anyone would have guessed this."
Washington was seven points behind then-division leaders Winnipeg and Carolina on March 19 before beginning its current hot stretch.
''It's funny how things kind of work themselves around,'' Brouwer said.
The Capitals are 13-1-1 in their last 15 home matchups with Tampa Bay, which tried to spark a turnaround to its season by firing coach Guy Boucher and bringing in John Cooper on March 25.
Cooper is 4-3-1 since taking over, but his vow to take the team to the postseason may not be a possibility anymore.
The Lightning (17-21-2) have dropped three of four and are eight points behind the New York Rangers and Winnipeg for the East's final spot after falling 6-3 to conference-leading Pittsburgh on Thursday despite two goals from Teddy Purcell.
"We just have a lot of things to learn," Cooper said. "They have a mentality right now and you're not going to change it overnight. We were passing up an 'A' opportunity for a 'B' opportunity, and that's the mentality we have to get out of our heads."
Tampa Bay dealt Washington one of its few defeats within the division, 6-3 on Jan. 19 behind two goals and an assist from Martin St. Louis. The Capitals have won the two meetings since, including 4-2 on Sunday as Alex Ovechkin scored twice.
Braden Holtby, winner of four straight starts while posting a 1.96 goals-against average, could be in net for Washington.
The Lightning are likely to counter with Ben Bishop, who is 1-3-0 with a 3.53 GAA over his last four.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forwards Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced Friday. Connolly, 20, has skated in five games with the Lightning this season, tallying one goal on 10 shots. He scored his lone goal of the season while on the power play last night...
Here is a great example of why the majority of National Hockey League players wear protective visors.Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson had to leave the game against Washington on Saturday after receiving a puck to the face, courtesy of Capitals defenseman Mike Green.Green was setting up for a shot during a power play opportunity and proceeded to fire the puck towards to net...
from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,
In the final year of its existence, the NHL’s Southeast Division is living up to its mocking moniker of “Southleast” — and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Washington Capitals.
Despite getting off to one of the worst starts in franchise history and an uneven first half of the season in which they couldn’t...
After having their playoff hopes dashed at the hands of the Washington Capitals last week, the Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the nationâs capital for yet another contest. This time, however, the Lightning donât have their eyes on a playoff berth. Tonight, the Bolts will look to play spoiler as they attempt to slow down the red-hot Capitals. Having won six straight...
During the Washington Capitals-Carolina Hurricanes game on Thursday night, Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison fired a slap shot that just trickled between the legs of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. As the puck was going towards the goal line, Capitals defenseman John Carlson skated in and kept the puck out of the net. The goal would have been a momentum killer going into the...
The Washington Capitals finished off a month's worth of role reversal Thursday night, winning their sixth straight and extending the Carolina Hurricanes' losing streak to seven with a 3-1 victory.
Troy Brouwer and Mike Green scored second-period goals, Brouwer added an empty-netter and Braden Holtby made 43 saves for the Southeast Division leaders almost one month to the...
Enjoy that, everyone. (RNO)
The Washington Capitals won their sixth game in a row on Thursday night, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes by a final score of 3-1 inside Verizon Center. After a poor start that saw them down 1-0 early, the Caps got goals from Troy Brouwer, Mike Green, and then Brouwer again to seal off a victory. Braden Holtby made 43 saves in his return to the...
In his first game back since getting re-injured on March 26th, and only his 2nd game since March 17th, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang had one of the best hits of the year. Letang drilled Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn who went flying right into Martin St. Louis after he had just passed St. Louis the puck. Letang’s momentum then carried him into the two...
Calming, focusing, not panicking.
That’s what it’s like in the Capitals’ locker room, according to goaltender Braden Holtby, in situations such as the first intermission Thursday, when the team was down 1-0 and had clawed its way back from a 14-0 shot deficit to start the game.
“The dressing room’s personality is almost like a person’s,” Holtby said. “It’s hard...
Thanks to SB Nation for the quick video.
Fights are almost pointless anymore. But sometimes they still have some luster.
Case and point Douglas Murray vs B.J Crombeen. Crombeen started trolling, and Murray was like " let's dance."
Couldn't help but get excited when they showed it was Murray. The fight wasn't great, but Murray got few good licks in, also probably hurt his hand:
If thereâs one thing to take away from the Tampa Bay Lightningâs 2013 season, itâs that this team doesnât have any issues when it comes to offense. Battling back time and time again on Saturday night, the Lightning managed to push the Washington Capitals to overtime before eventually heading out of the Verizon Center with a 6-5 loss. It wasnât pretty, but...
Pittsburgh Penguins (30-10-0) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (17-20-2)
ROOT, NBCSN, TSN - 7:30 pm/et
Tampa Bay Times Forum - Tampa, FL
Kris Letang is back.
Season Series: 2-0-0
Last meeting that counted: March 4, 2013. Penguins won 4-3.
What we said in our recap:
Two years ago, Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion against the Lightning, and...