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...