Tonight's inter-division game, between the Caps and the Carolina Hurricanes, will be interesting. At the trade deadline, the Caps traded a player and a prospect (Brian Pothier and Oskar Osala) and some picks to Carolina for two players, Scott Walker and Joe Corvo. Both Pothier and Osala are apparently playing for Carolina tonight.
Looking at the stats and standings, it would appear that the Capitals should win this game with a blowout.
However, this has been far from the case. In their last meeting, the Caps lost 6-3 the Hurricanes at Verizon center. While the playoffs are unlikely for the Hurricanes, they are still capable of winning. The team has been doing pretty well at messing teams that are in playoff contention, and are in general a big annoyance. The Capitals will have to be careful.
A win would be helpful, but not necessary tonight. It would improve the Caps' lead in the NHL. However, one could excuse a lose due to the Capitals looking forward to Sunday's huge game vs the Chicago Blackhawks.
For the Capitals, tonights game should be an opportunity to cement their NHL lead as well as work on defense and the powerplay.
Most importantly, a win is always a win, no matter how big or small. And every opponent should be taken seriously.