Well, it's getting to be that time again, and I figured I'd do some math (that's what my degree is in...)
To win the Southeast and make the playoffs, the Capitals need to gain 6 points on the Thrashers. Not that Atlanta is in 9th (they're 10th) but by clinching the division title, the Caps earn a post season berth. It is entirely possible that the Caps may take the ice on Friday with the division championship already won. The Thrash play tonight, Thursday and Friday (busy schedule!) and a loss in any of those games means that the Caps clinch the division with a sweep of the remaining homestand (which includes two very winable games...)
To clinch the top seed in the East, the Caps need to gain 20 points on the Penguins. The Pens max is 19 more than the Caps have now, but if they were to attain that and the Caps falter, the Pens would have the tie breaker as right now the Pens have only 4 fewer wins than the Caps. The 13 point margin the Caps have comes with 5 OT/SO loss points (I don't like charity points, but I'll take them, I'm not proud). It is very possible the Caps could clinch the East's top seed this month. I don't think that they win out in the remaining 10 games this month, but I don't think the Pens will go undefeated either (esp. since one of the games is the Caps/Pens battle on the 24th at VC).