Photo credit: Evan Vucci
This is it. The Caps nipping at the heels of the division-leading Panthers, playing to deny them the clinch and maybe snatch their crown.
Jay Beagle scored early, trapping a Troy Brouwer shot with his rump and firing from the sweet spot. Alex Ovechkin got on the board in the second, crashing the net and converting Marcus Johansson’s rebound. Brooks Laich piled on with a sniper shot from the high slot after a long session in the offensive zone. Mikael Samuelsson was all alone in the Caps zone, breaking the shutout with a high wrister. The Cats made it a one-goal game via Ed Jovanovski’s deflect goal early in the third. Alex Semin made it a four-goal night with a minute left. Caps beat Panthers 4-2. We’re playoff-bound, baby!
Once upon a time, the Caps enjoyed a three-goal lead in this game. It eroded a bit, but lasted. Whew!
Tonight’s was the CSN Washington’s last game covering the Capitals’ regular season. Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin, and Al Koken. They’ll be back.
Elsewhere in the league, Buffalo’s big date with Philly went poorly. With that loss, Buffalo is eliminated, and the Capitals have locked up a postseason appearance. There’s just two matters remaining unresolved: at what spot and against which opponent?
We’ll find out on Saturday. If the Canes beat the Panthers in regulation and the Caps beat the Rangers, the Caps will play the Devils in the first round and win the Southeast banner for the fifth consecutive year. Plus, who knows what Ottawa will do?
If you’re the Rangers, and you’ve got the #1 slot all locked up, what do you do on Saturday? Play your star goalie and all your best guys? Try to win it with grinders… or do you tank it and let the Caps win so you can try to play the Panthers in the first round?
Alright, a little pressure is relieved for RMNB4. It’s no longer a playoffs-or-not thing, now it’s a division title-or-not thing. Sounds great. IS PARTY NOW.
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