It's official: the Washington Capitals are headed back to the playoffs.
Thanks to a big road win in Detroit - and a little help from the Toronto Maple Leafs, of all teams - the Caps have clinched a spot in the postseason for the seventh time in the last eight seasons, joining the Canadiens, Lightning and Rangers as the only other Eastern Conference teams to have locked in a playoff spot so far.
While the team is only one year removed from their last trip to the postseason, it somehow feels as though it has been a lot longer, with the team undergoing massive change on and off the ice over the past 12+ months. With a stud goaltender, a new-look defense, a new system, and yet another season for the ages from the captain, the Caps have all of the pieces - at least on paper - to potentially make some noise when the festivities get underway next week.
There are still a few things to be sorted out, of course; the Caps likely won't know where they're seeded, and who they'll play, until the final game of the regular season.
But all of that will be known in due time. Until then? Playoffs, baby!