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After four long days off, the Washington Capitals resumed their once-seemingly-inevitable march to the playoffs with a home game against the New Jersey Devils. Of the nine games remaining on the Caps' schedule, seven are against playoff contenders. That may not have made tonight's game against the Devils a must-win, but it was definitely a should-win. And there's no more uncomfortable feeling then rooting for the Caps in a should-win game. True to form, the Caps made things interesting as they let a 2-0 lead turn into an overtime game, where Matt Niskanen would finally secure the victory with a blast from the point.
Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: A win is a win. A couple unlikely goals got the Caps a comfortable lead and for the most part the Devils didn't have a lot of great chances. At five aside, the Caps had the better chances and played the kind of tight checking game you know they'll need to play in the playoffs. It wasn't pretty, but it was good enough for a much needed win.
- Minus: The uneven manpower play was brutal. First, the power play let the Devils back into the game with a sloppy shorthanded goal against. The penalty kill didn't get scored on, but wasn't very effective, either. The unit was trapped on the ice for over a minute, foreshadowing the extra man shift to come, but was bailed out by a couple of huge saves from Braden Holtby. During the final push in regulation, the Caps looked like they were in trouble long before the Devils scored.
And now, this...