The Southeast Division race is over for this year. The Capitals, as expected, won for the third straight year. However, few expected the sheer domination the Capitals have had so far over their division, going 15-2-0. The next closest team, Atlanta, is 33 points back in the standings.
While the Southeast Division race is over, the NHL regular season is far from over, with over a month left of play. Today, in their first game since clinching the division (yesterday, with an Atlanta loss to Columbus), the Capitals play a divisional game, versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Capitals defenseman Mike Green. (Photo from Yahoo)
Tonight's game, at Verizon Center, starts at 7:00 PM. While the Capitals have clinched a playoff spot, the rest of the Southeast Division is still desperately trying to get into the playoffs; at the moment, none of the other Southeast Division teams are in the top-8 of the Eastern Conference, but all of them, including Carolina, have a shot at the playoffs.
The Lightning will try to get their two points tonight, and it is imperative that the Capitals do not underestimate this team. While they have not been terribly successful of late, they do have good players; forward Steven Stamkos and goalie Antero Niitymakki. Stamkos, especially, will be looking to tie the NHL goal scoring lead, as he is only 2 goals behind Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
The Capitals should take tonight's game as an opportunity to work on defense, as well as the troublesome penalty kill.
Tonight's game should be very exciting!
Starts at 7:00 PM.