With 24 games remaining, the Washington Capitals are in the middle of a tight Southeast Division title race with little room for error. Entering Monday night’s visit to Carolina, the Caps are sitting two points behind division leader Florida, and one point behind the surging Winnipeg Jets.
Two points out of a playoff spot at this time of the season is an unfamiliar position for the Capitals. They have cruised to a Southeast Division crown the past four seasons, but have always came up short in each of those campaigns. It’s easy to have a pessimistic view on the Capitals’
season thus far. The team struggles to win on the road, and their power play has been sub par at best; however the teams current struggles may benefit them leading into April.
Points are difficult to come by for this uneven squad and as the season winds down, the Caps will be forced to get into playoff form when they face a challenge visiting the likes of Winnipeg, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers.
Of course, General Manager George McPhee will have the Trade Deadline to add some essential parts to the roster, but the core of this team needs to find a balance between structured defence and a high powered offence.
The Caps will have to play their best hockey of the season to secure a safe playoff spot. If the team is able to find their game and play confident, championship style hockey, they are capable of putting together a committed Cup run, unlike years in the past.