With ten games left in the regular season it’s time to get really excited or really nervous about the Capitals remaining games. As this goes to press, the Capitals are on top of the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division. The challenge for them to hold that position is the New York Islanders, led by their former coach Barry Trotz. Their playoff rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are nipping at their blades in the hope of upsetting the balance.
The schedule for the run up to the Playoffs is maybe one of the toughest the Caps have had in a long time. The Tampa Bay Lightning come to Capital One Arena on 20 March and after their match-up in Florida, it is clear the Bolts will be a challenge, now and in the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes want to jump above the wild card line and have to get through the Capitals to do that. That could mean two more tough games for the men in red. Although the Caps beat the Philadelphia Flyers the last two times they met, one should never underestimate the tenacity of them. Additionally the Devils, Panthers, and Canadiens always seem to have a surprise up their sleeve and can’t be discounted when it comes to playing the Capitals. Finally, the last regular season game is against the Caps newest rival- the Islanders. It’s almost like playing themselves because of the Trotz Touch.
Nervous is what we do in the DMV. That said, we have no doubt that the Capitals will clinch a playoff spot. Although the schedule ahead is a tight one, the players are really stepping it up. Alexander Ovechkin is on the brink of his eighth season of 50 goals or more. Nicklas Backstrom is on tap for his fourth season in a row of 20 plus goals and sixth season in a row of 50 assists or more. Tom Wilson is having his best season in six years of NHL play. Sprinkle in Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie, Jakub Vrana and some great defensive play starting with goaltender Braden Holtby, and we still have faith that the Capitals will be making it to the final round.
The fun is now. The push is now. Let the excitement build and let’s go ALL CAPS as they finish up the regular season!!