There are four games on the NHL Schedule tonight and three of them have implications for the Washington Capital's playoff chances. Tonight's games: Boston Bruins @ New Jersey Devils; Tampa Bay Lightning @ Carolina Hurricanes; Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit at Chicago.
Detroit at Chicago is almost a don't care no matter who you root for. A Detroit win clinches the Western Conference for the Red Wings and mathematically eliminates the Black Hawks from the playoffs. These are two things that in all likelihood will occur anyway sometime this week, anyhow.
It's hard to say, who if you are a Caps fan you should root for harder - the Tampa Bay Lightning - gasp, the New Jersey Devils - gasp, or the Pittsburgh Penguins - double gasp. In truth rooting for them all wouldn't hurt, and especially rooting for them to win in regulation.
The Caps are tied with Carolina and a Hurricane loss would put Washington's destiny in it's own hands. In thinking about that, a Lightning win in regulation has to be first choice by a hair. It may also be the most unlikely to occur, the Lightning are 5-4-1 in their last 10; and 11-21-6 in away games this season. The 'Canes are 6-3-1 in their last 10, and 23-12-4 at home this season. The only positives for the Lightning are they've had a day off while the Hurricanes were taken to task last evening by the Capitals; AND Kari Ramo could have another "career night" like he did last week when he stopped 38 of 39 to lead Tampa Bay over Carolina 2-1.
Pittsburgh at Philly and Boston at New Jersey - what is there to say. The Caps are one (1) measly point behind both the Flyers and the Bruins and this is their game in hand. Personally I'm rooting for a Brodeur shutout and a big night for the Pens who will be playing to see if they can clinch the Atlantic Division. My dad always said if you're going to dream - dream big, it doesn't cost any so I'd like the see all three - Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and New Jersey WIN tonight. That would put the Caps in control of their destiny for the Southeast division and 1/2 game back of both Philadelphia and Boston with two games to go. It's truly and exciting and interesting time to be a hockey fan in Washington, DC these days. In fact in DC right now - What's Not To Like? - The Cherry Blossoms are blooming. Alex Ovechkin has the NHL lead in overall scoring by 5 points and goals for the season by 11 goals. The Caps just won their 5th game in a row. The Nationals have a new ballpark and are 2-0; and the Wizards are looking reasonably good for a playoff spot. Who says this town is all about politics? LETS GO CAPS!!!!