With the trade deadline now in the past, the Washington Capitals now have to focus finishing the season on an up note. With just 17 games remaining on the schedule, it is important for them to finish strong not only to keep their distance in the Southeast Division, but keeping the heat on in the Eastern Confernece.
The Caps high water mark has been second in the Eastern Conference, but their two disappointing losses at home have allowed a reinvigorated New Jersey Devil squad with Marty Broudeur back at the helm to surpass them. Amazingly enough, Boston is still catchable at just 8 points away from the Capitals. Pressure from both the Devils and the Caps could put the heat on the Bruins and crack the giant at the wrong time.
The defensive core must play a better game. Mike Green is included in this call to refocus. Green was a -3 on Tuesday night, and was a factor by being a non-factor on the two short handed goals the 'Canes scored in the second period. In fact Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and Green needed some focus juice Tuesday night (since it is not likely that they will ever be traded).
If the Capitals wish to catch Boston, it starts with regaining some face at home. The Caps have to win against a team that was a seller at the trade deadline. The Toronto Maple Leafs come into the phone booth nine points from a playoff spot, and it's important for the Caps to beat teams they should.
Whether it was the distraction of the deadline or just a loss of focus, the Caps have to regain that tonight if they want to success in the post season.