All season long the playoffs have been a mere formality for the Capitals, despite barely making them last year after an incredible finish down the stretch and a first round exit against Philadelphia. The Caps caught the Hurricanes on the final days of the regular season, earning them the southeast division title and a three seed.
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Now the Caps are just a game away from clinching the two seed for this years playoffs, just a few points behind Boston, who will have home ice as long at the continue to win. The best part about getting the second seed is that it leaves all the so-called dangerous teams to play one another. If the season ended today New Jersey would be facing off with Pittsburgh. The Pens have won seven out of their last ten and have two of the greatest players in the world. We won’t even talk about our recent playoff history between them. While the Devil sport the man himself, Martin Brodeur. The last thing any team wants is to have their season ended by a hot goalie. Brodeur has been hot for over a decade and I would not expect anything different this next month.
In the four vs. five series, the Flyers take on the Carolina Hurricanes, two teams that both know the Caps very well. Philly defeated the Caps last season in the tournament and Carolina, winners of 9 out their last ten, are playing as good a hockey as any team in the world the past two weeks. I know most Caps fans will be extremely relieved not to face Philly again in round one.
This ends leaving a likely matchup with the Montreal Canadiens (or East All Stars, didn’t they change the name?) a team with so many stars Alex Ovechkin couldn’t crack the starting five over Alexi Kovalev, or Alex Markov. Snubs like these will help motivate this Capitals team who are not just happy to be back. They have bigger, larger goals ahead of them this spring. First the must beat Montreal or whoever else stands in their way during round one.