The Capitals’ clinching scenario for Wednesday night couldn’t be any more straightforward:
The @Capitals will clinch the Metropolitan Division title, Eastern Conference and Presidents' Trophy if they get at least one point vs. NYR.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 5, 2017
If the Capitals do indeed clinch the Presidents’ Trophy, it will mark the third time in franchise history that they’ve finished the regular season with the NHL’s best record.
In 2010, they secured the trophy on April 4 (with four games remaining). Last year, they wrapped it up on March 28 (with seven games remaining.) After hosting the Rangers, the Caps will have two games left on their slate—at Boston on Saturday and home against the Panthers on Sunday. If they win out, the Caps will equal last season’s point total of 120.
The last team to win back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies was the Canucks in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Caps Coach Barry Trotz told The Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning that the team has not discussed the Presidents’ Trophy, which ensures home ice throughout the playoffs.
“Honestly, we haven't talked about it once this year, the Presidents’ Trophy or anything like that,” he said. “But it is a symbol of excellence, a symbol of excellence for the regular season, a symbol of excellence for a team that’s been consistent and takes pride in winning. So it’s not to be taken lightly, but at the same time we all want the ultimate prize.”
“That’s the one,” he added, “that you make your name with.”
The Rangers, who are virtually locked into the first wild card spot, will rest four key players— Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast—on Wednesday night.
The Capitals, meantime, could again be without John Carlson, who was a late scratch Tuesday with a lower body injury. He’s day-to-day.
In goal, the Caps are expected to start Braden Holtby while the Rangers counter with Henrik Lundqvist.
GAME THREAD: Caps vs. Rangers date, time, how to watch