Since the Capitals’ play of late appears they’ve got the playoffs on their minds instead of those inconvenient regular season games, I thought I should join them in temporarily losing focus by seeing what April holds for the playoffs.
Regardless whether the Capitals get the No. 2 or 3 seed, the bottom four seeds will switch just about every day with one point separating seeds 5 and 6 from 7 and 8.
As of now, the Capitals would face the Hurricanes in the 3 and 6 spot. All of the potential opponents, the Canadiens, Hurricanes, Panthers and Penguins, all have records that show that the first round will not be a bye.
We have a .500 record against Carolina and Florida. All games but one against Montreal were decided by one goal. All games but one against Florida were decided by a deuce and still have two games remaining against the Panthers.
And proof that the times have changed in the NHL, we show some sort of dominance against Pittsburgh and not our Southeast Division brethren.
We own a 3-0-1 record now against Pittsburgh. Two wins were by three goals, and I have a feeling if we would have had 20-minute playoff OT instead of a shootout, we would have came from behind to win with that momentum from the third period.
Results against potential playoff foes
Two meetings left
Two meetings left
I’m the most uncertain about a Carolina showdown as of yet.
The season series against Carolina has swung like a pendulum in the win and goal columns, and we still have two games left.
We’ve scored five goals against the Canes in a game, and they put five on the board against us. It would be entertaining on the basis of wild scores.
If Vokoun is in net in the Panthers, I’m more confident in a series win, as long as Ovechkin tells Tomas that he’ll see at least two goals popped in per night by No. 8.
Overall, I’d be very satisfied seeing any of those four opponents in the playoffs. And no, I don’t see Buffalo sneaking in.
As much as people hate this and last seasons’ scheduling format of seeing the Southeast Division a lot during the final few weeks, this year will be better.
Two teams are fighting to make it while we are looking to figure out if we get a 2 or 3 seed. The intensity should carry over into the playoffs from either of those opponents.
Sure, the storylines aren’t there like a Pittsburgh or Montreal series, but this is how storylines are written. More so for Carolina and Florida than us.
Carolina being in the playoffs for the first time since they won the Cup in 2006. Or the Panthers being in the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Yes, so long ago that I have graduated high school, college and gained at least 30 pounds since then.
In a Florida series, we would see former Caps Steve Eminger and Richard Zednik, representing two quite different generations of Capitals history. And Florida would see Viktor Kozlov, their bread to the Bure butter.
Carolina? Sorry. I got nothing. Maybe there's something on an AHL history level that could be thrown in for fun.
I’m sure the league offices dream of a Pittsburgh-Washington series. Hell, I think both fan bases and teams would be putting their vote for that one. And well, most media outlets too, for the pre-written script and circus.
My vote if we want some sort of confidence that we’ll see the second round is the Canadiens. The pressure is on the Canadiens to get a Cup right now in their 100th year.
They’re really hurting now having Guy Carbonneau fired and had to deal with months-old party photos and Alexi Kovalev not performing. Plus, who knows what’s going on in goal.
For us, I’d like to see Jose Theodore stick it to the Canadiens, and see Ovechkin revel the atmosphere on the world’s grandest stage for hockey.
Who would you like to see the Capitals face in the playoffs?