Thanks to a stellar regular season in which they’ve won 49 times and suffered just 14 regulation losses, the Washington Capitals are on the verge of becoming the first team this season to book a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Not too shabby.
The ‘Caps will go for win No. 50 tonight against the ‘Canes — to put that win total in perspective, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago and L.A. are all tied for second, with 41.
Here’s what the Caps need to punch their ticket to the dance:
* If they get at least one point against the Hurricanes; OR
* If the Flyers defeat the Red Wings in regulation; OR
* If the Islanders defeat the Penguins in regulation; OR
* If the Red Wings defeat the Flyers in regulation AND the Islanders defeat the Penguins in any fashion.
With a 12-point bulge atop the NHL standings, it’s almost a lock that Washington will have home-ice advantage throughout the postseason.
That bodes well for them, but not as well for teams visiting Verizon — the Caps are an NHL-best 26-6-2 at home this season.