Whether the Caps are ready or not, the playoffs are rapidly approaching. Thursday's results across the NHL did not seem to clear much up in terms of who the Caps may face in the first round.
Here are how the Eastern Conference playoff standings look following Thursday's games:
- Washington, 118 points, 2 games remaining
- Pittsburgh, 104 points, 1 game remaining
- New York Islanders, 99 points, 2 games remaining
- Florida, 101 points, 1 game remaining
- Tampa Bay, 97 points, 1 game remaining
- Detroit, 93 points, 1 game remaining
- New York Rangers, 99 points, 1 game remaining
- Boston, 93 points, 1 game remaining
In The Hunt: Philadelphia, 92 points, 2 games remaining
With the 4-3 win over Washington, Pittsburgh secured second place in the Metropolitan Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The New York Rangers seemed like their most likely opponent, but a 4-1 loss to the suddenly surging New York Islanders has thrown that in doubt. The Rangers and Islanders now are tied with 99 points. The Islanders have one-game in hand on the Rangers, but the Rangers hold the tiebreaker in terms of regulation and overtime wins (ROW) 42 to 40.
Boston's 5-2 win over Detroit pulls both teams even in the standings with 93 points. The Red Wings hold the tie breaker with a ROW 39-38.
The biggest loser of the night was Philadelphia who dropped a 4-3 overtime result to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. That not the type of point you can afford to lose in a race this tight. The loss drops the Flyers one point behind Boston for the final wild card spot.
If the playoffs began tomorrow with these results, the Caps would face the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, but if Thursday taught us anything, it's that the standings can still change drastically between now and the end of the season.