The Washington Capitals know what’s at stake on tomorrow at Verizon.
Regulation win, and they’re in.
That was the story out of Washington on Monday as the Caps practiced, then prepped to watch tonight’s Jets-Sabres game — though they aren’t overly concerned about tonight’s result.
Regardless of what Winnipeg does in Buffalo, the Caps know the scenario for Tuesday:
Beat the Jets in regulation, and they both clinch a playoff berth and win their fifth Southeast Division in six years.
“It’s huge,” captain Alex Ovechkin told CSN Washington. “We understand it. I think everybody right now is focusing. Tomorrow is the biggest game.”
The Caps are probably relishing the opportunity to close against the Jets. After dropping their first game of the year (4-2) to Winnipeg, Washington has ripped off three straight wins, outscoring the Jets 13-1 in the process.
Washington will also have the advantage of facing a tired opponent.
The closing schedule has not been kind to the Jets. They went to OT with Carolina on Thursday, a shootout with the Islanders on Saturday and will now play three games in the span of four nights (Monday at Buffalo, Tuesday at Washington, Thursday in Montreal).
All told, it’s five games in seven nights for the Jets, something Caps head coach Adam Oates is aware of.
“They should be a little tired,” Oates said. “It’s a stressful time. We should be in a better frame of mind than them tomorrow night.”