Technically, tonight’s game in Winnipeg isn’t a must-win for Washington. That being said, the Capitals really, really need to win it.
A regulation loss would see the Jets take a nine-point lead over the Caps in the Southeast Division. Washington would also remain five points back of the Hurricanes and Rangers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
A regulation win though? The Caps would be right back in the race for the Southeast, five points back of the Jets, with Washington holding a game in hand.
And let’s face it — the Jets are eminently fallible, as evidenced by their minus-10 goal differential, the worst of any team currently in a playoff position.
Add to the equation the Hurricanes are suddenly a mess, the Lightning have been one of the worst teams in the league since a decent start, and the Panthers are a non-factor, and there’s an opening here for the Caps.
They have to beat Winnipeg tonight though. Just like they did last night, shutting out the Jets, 4-0, at the MTS Centre.