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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Caps finally know their opponent

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Caps finally know their opponent

The final day of the 2018 NHL regular season is here.

The Capitals are all set, having clinched the No. 1 seed in the Metro Division. They also know they will be playing the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.

With only the Panthers and Bruins left to take the ice, the official 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket is almost here.

Here is the final playoff bracket projection and the remaining playoff seeding and clinching scenarios heading into the final day of the season.

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NHL Playoff 2018 Scenarios heading into final day:

— If Boston wins in any fashion they will win the Atlantic Division and play the New Jersey Devils while the Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

— If Boston loses in any fashion, Tampa will win the Atlantic Division and play New Jersey while the Bruins will play Toronto.

UPDATE: FULL NHL 2018 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

NHL Playoffs 2018 Final bracket projection

Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket:

-- Washington Capitals (M1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1)

-- Pittsburgh Penguins (M2)  vs. Philadelphia Flyers (M3)

-- Tampa Bay Lightning (A1) vs. New Jersey Devils (WC2)

-- Boston Bruins (A2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (A3)

Western Conference Playoff Bracket

-- Nashville Predators (C1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (WC2)

-- Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs. Minnesota Wild (C3)

-- Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (WC1)

-- Anaheim Ducks (P2) vs. San Jose Sharks (P3)

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Capitals at Kings: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Kings: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals head to Los Angeles to take on the Kings on Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Caps are second in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 32-19-7, while the Kings are scraping along the bottom of the Pacific Division with a record of 23-29-6. The Caps also beat the Kings (quite recently) 6-4 on Feb. 11.

The Kings are hoping to break out of their season slump and put an end to their four-game losing streak against the Capitals during Monday evening’s 10:30 p.m. ET game.

Here is everything you need to know about Monday’s late-night matchup, which will begin at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at KINGS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Los Angeles Kings, Game 60 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Monday, Feb. 18, 10:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at King game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Kings on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at KINGS TV SCHEDULE

9:30 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
10:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:30 PM: Capitals at Kings

CAPITALS at KINGS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
Lars Eller -- lower body as of Feb. 1

Kings: 
Alec Martinez -- upper body as of Feb. 15
Sean Walker -- face as of Feb. 15
Jonny Brodzinski -- shoulder as of Sept. 20

CAPITALS at KINGS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, Capitals (15 goals, 39 assists, 54 points): Last time the Caps faced the Kings (which was only one week ago), Kuznetsov contributed two goals and two assists to the Caps’ 6-4 victory. His timely goal finished out the game, essentially securing the Caps’ victory, NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Reagan reported. In the two games that have happened since, Kuznetsov has given the Caps one assist and one point. 

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovi is just shy of 40-goals and played a key role in the Caps’ latest game against the Kings. He led the team with eight shots on net, and the team captain gave the Caps the first point of the game.

CAPITALS vs. KINGS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 111
All-Time Series Record: Kings lead 60-38-13
Last Meeting: Caps win 6-4 (2/11/19)

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The Capitals head to Anaheim looking to avenge their most shocking loss of the season

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USA Today Sports Images

The Capitals head to Anaheim looking to avenge their most shocking loss of the season

December was a pretty good month for the Capitals. Out of 13 games, Washington won nine of them. Of the four games the team lost, however, the worst of those losses by far was the Dec. 2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Five different Caps players scored as Washington jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second period. It looked like the Caps were going to cruise to the easy win…until Anaheim rattled off five straight goals to hand Washington a stunning 6-5 loss.

Wait, are we talking about the same Anaheim team that has lost 20 of its last 23 games? Well, technically yes, but for a brief period, they were one of the hottest teams in the league. The win over the Caps was one of 11 wins in a 13-game stretch for the Ducks.

That, of course, is of little comfort to the Caps.

Anaheim is now struggling considerably. Head coach Randy Carlyle was fired and general manager Bob Murray has taken over behind the bench.

Sometimes when an opponent is struggling, a team may take its foot off the gas and play down to the competition. Given what happened the last time these two teams met, however, Washington likely is not going to be looking past the Ducks when they meet on Sunday (9 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

Game notes

One away

Alex Ovechkin sits one goal away from No. 40 on the season. Once he scores, it will be the 10th time in his career he has reached 40 goals in his career. That puts him in pretty incredible company.

Ten seasons of 40+ goals would tie Ovechkin with Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux. Wayne Gretzky is the only player with more 40-goal seasons as he did it 12 times. That’s it. That’s the entire list.

Back-to-back

With the Caps playing in Anaheim on Sunday and Los Angeles on Monday, expect to see both Braden Holtby and Pheonix Copley in these two games. Whoever starts on Sunday, the other netminder is likely to go on Monday. With no morning skate scheduled in Anaheim, it’s anybody’s guess who will start for Washington, but there is at least a chance Copley gets the nod so that Holtby can get what will presumably be the tougher matchup against the Kings.

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