Capitals need help entering season’s final day to avoid facing Panthers


The Capitals will need some help entering the final day of the regular season if they want to move up in the standings and avoid the No. 1 seeded Florida Panthers. 

With a 5-1 loss to the Islanders, the Capitals still trail the Penguins by a point for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division. And for them to avoid the Panthers in round one, they need some things to go their way on the season’s final day.

First, the Capitals need to beat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday in any fashion to reach 102 points on the season. Then, they need the Blue Jackets to beat the Penguins in regulation. If those two things happen, the Capitals will face the Rangers in round one. Otherwise, they’ll head to Florida and face the Panthers. 

The Capitals are guaranteed to lose any tiebreaker with the Penguins, meaning they cannot pass them if they’re tied in points by tomorrow night. Even if the Penguins lose in regulation, the Capitals must beat the Rangers in regulation, overtime or a shootout. 

More importantly, though, if the Capitals move up in the standings, they’d avoid the Atlantic side of the bracket which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs and defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. 

And while playoff seeding and matchups will certainly matter for the Capitals, the bigger concern has been the team’s play for the last two games against the Islanders. Combined, they dropped two games by a score of 9-2 and struggled in all facets of the game. 


Players and coach Peter Laviolette commented Tuesday that playing as poorly as they did that night won’t get them very far. And Thursday’s performance wasn’t any better. 

Even with Alex Ovechkin absent, and his status unknown for Friday, the Capitals will need to have a better night against their potential playoff opponent if they want to avoid the Panthers.