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Playoff Push: A quick guide to the Metropolitan Division standings

Playoff Push: A quick guide to the Metropolitan Division standings

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs closing in, the Capitals have 12 games remaining in the regular season. They'll try to hang on to the top spot in the Metropolitan Division and will wait for a clearer sense of who their first round opponent is.

As the Metro Division currently stands, the Capitals are in first place with 89 points. Here is how the rest of the division stands:

New York Islanders (40-22-7, 87 points) 

The playoff surprise of the season after losing John Tavares in free agency to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Isles have made a season of proving doubters wrong.  With former Caps bench boss Barry Trotz at the helm, the Islanders have traded the Metro Division crown with the Caps all season. They picked up a huge two points over the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 11 drawing two points closer to the Caps and first place in the Metro.  Their next matchup is against the Montreal Canadiens, who are fighting for the final wild card spot.

Critically important for Caps fans is the final game of the season at home at Capital One Arena, when the Isles and Caps will face off to likely determine the top seed in the Metro.

Pittsburgh Penguins (38-23-9, 85 points)

The Penguins are perennial playoff contenders. They picked up two crucial standings points against the Capitals Tuesday night with a come-from-behind 5-3 win, and will face the ailing Buffalo Sabres Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes (38-24-7, 83 points)

If the playoffs started today, the Hurricanes would be the Capitals opponent.

The "Bunch of Jerks" are one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and they've gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Behind a three point night from 2018 second-overall pick Andrei Svechnikov and a 38 save shutout from Petr Mrazek, the Canes dispatched the Wild Card outsider Colorado Avalanche. Two big standings points are on the line when they play the Blue Jackets on Friday.

The Caps will play the Hurricanes twice in a home-and-home over the last 12 games of the season.

Columbus Blue Jackets (39-28-2, 81 points)

The Blue Jackets went all in at the trade deadline, and acquired Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kinkaid, and Adam McQuaid. But the returns haven't been stellar, and the Jackets are .500 in their last 10 games.

Every point matters if the Jackets want to fend of the the Canadiens for the final wild card spot, and they pulled off a 7-4 win over Boston Tuesday night and can make more progress with a win over the Hurricanes Friday night.

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Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

The Capitals made their first significant trade of the season on Tuesday, acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2021 third.

Dillon, who’s spent the last six seasons with the Sharks, was emotional Monday night when asked for his thoughts on potentially playing his last game with San Jose. He choked up during his answer and had to walk away from the media scrum to collect himself.

The mood was a bit different Tuesday when Dillon found out he’d be heading to D.C. to play with the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals.

“I’m really excited,” Dillon said. “I can’t wait to get out there. I mean obviously the opportunity, the team, the group, what an opportunity.”

The Capitals have been widely rumored to be seeking a defenseman to bolster their blue line and Dillon was an attractive piece as Washington didn’t have to part with a first-round pick in order to get him. After losing six of their last nine games, the Capitals are looking for a spark—and Dillon can’t wait to help get them back on track.

“It’s been crazy, it really has,” Dillon said. “I think just mentally, guys can say, ‘You don’t read this or don’t read that.’ But it wears on you for sure and I’ve just kinda tried to bring the lunch pail to work every day and do my job. But definitely couldn’t be happier to get going.”

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Looking back at an incredible scrap between Garnet Hathaway and Brenden Dillon, now Capitals teammates

Looking back at an incredible scrap between Garnet Hathaway and Brenden Dillon, now Capitals teammates

It might be a little awkward for Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway when Brenden Dillon walks into the building for the first time.

Back in March of 2018, when Hathaway played for the Calgary Flames and Dillon was a member of the San Jose Sharks, the two engaged in a very even tilt that lasted close to a minute long.

Now, they are teammates.

NBC Sports Washington's Craig Laughlin tweeted out a video of the 2018 fight between the then-Calgary and Sharks players upon hearing the news of Washington's newest addition.

The two were both given five-minute penalties for the fight. The Sharks won that game, 5-1. 

Washington traded for Dillon on Tuesday, hoping to bolster their blue line by adding the physical defenseman. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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