For the Caps, it's time for a reset. Maybe this frustrating weekend was exactly what the Capitals needed. No one said it was easy just to make the playoffs. The Caps will have to just about go 10-2-0 if they want to make the playoffs. That means putting together a strong run of at least 6 to 7 games which has foreign to this team this season.
The Caps did get some help last night. Boston, NY Islanders and Philadelphia all lost last night. Philly was able to gain a point, but they didn't get two and that keeps the Capitals close. It seems there are things in motion that are helping the Caps.
Boston can't seem to find their scoring touch (unless it's a 5 on 3). In their last 5 games they have been outscored 15 to 6. That's a bad time to have an offensive hiccup. Boston at this point is a bubble team with 80 points and stalled in 7th place. The Rangers surpassed them for some playoff insurance and Boston can't seem to stop their down slide, which is not helpful when you are setting up for the playoffs. The Caps are just 8 points from Boston and if their misfortunes continue, that is good for the Capitals.
The Flyers will make the playoffs, but both Boston and Buffalo are struggling down the stretch. It's a perfect opportunity for the Caps to pounce. In order for them to do that, they must take their game to the next level. Even though they are just 7 points from Philly, so are two other teams in Toronto and Florida, and both playing outstanding hockey.
Plus the Caps are a mere 7 points from Carolina as well. While the 'Canes are built for the playoffs, they are going to have to go through the Caps to get there. Unfortunately for the Caps, Carolina has been playing their best hockey late, something good playoff teams do before getting there. For the Caps those games will be a battle, but not an impossibility.
In other news, former Cap Jeff Halpern helped light up the lamp last night and in a way helped his former team as the Lightning defeated the Islanders to keep the Caps in 10th. Halpern had a goal and 2 assists and since becoming a Bolt he has 4 goals and 5 assists in 8 games, including 4 power play assists. He must have been pissed being traded off a potential Stanley Cup winner in Dallas to a basement team in the Southleast Division.