If this article was done a while ago, I wouldn’t be so sure if the Washington Capitals would make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now they’re in an OK position even after the 6-2 loss on Saturday to the Vegas Golden Knights.
As of this writing on Monday Jan. 23, the Capitals sit at fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with a 25-18-6 record. That’s good for 56 points. They’re up two points to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they face on Thursday night. They also occupy the first Wild Card spot and are just one point behind the New York Rangers for third place.
Because the Boston Bruins are running away with the President’s Trophy, they would likely face the second wild card team. That was the spot the Caps were in last year and they’d love to avoid that spot.
If the regular season ended today they would face the first place in the Metropolitan Division Carolina Hurricanes. If the Caps slide to third place, they could face the New Jersey Devils which would have the potential to be a fun series.
The Caps struggled on opening night against the Bruins. They’ve beaten the Devils before while falling to the Hurricanes. A series with the Devils or Hurricanes in the first round could honestly go either way.
The biggest question is can this Capitals team end their first round playoff woes that they’ve suffered since winning the Cup in 2018. Head Coach Peter Laviolette is also in a lame duck season and if they get eliminated in the first round don’t expect his contract to be renewed.
I had a feeling the Devils would be good this season. They’re a young and exciting team and got out to a hot start. They have cooled off and now the Hurricanes have taken over the top spot of the division.