CAPS SOARING | Move into tie with Canes in East
Say what you want, if you’re a Canes fan, about the officiating. The fact is the Washington Capitals clearly were the better team Tuesday night.
With their 4-1 win over Carolina, and both teams down to two games on the season, here’s how things stand:
For the Hurricanes, the magic number is still two – any combination of two Carolina wins and Washington losses (for example, if both teams win one and lose one of their final two games) and the Canes win the division. If Carolina wins at home tonight against Tampa Bay, all they’ll need is for Washington to lose at home against Tampa Bay Thursday in order to clinch a playoff berth. A win tonight, and the Canes can win the division if they win their season-ending game Friday, regardless of how Washington does it its final two games.
But here’s the rub: Carolina plays for the second night in a row tonight, and they’re playing a rested Tampa Bay team they’ve had problems with this season. Washington rests tonight, plays what will be a tired (and traveled) Tampa Bay team – yup, the same guys we play tonight – on Thursday.
This repeats itself on Friday and Saturday: the Canes will play at home against Florida on a day of rest. Then those same Panthers travel to Washington to play the Caps on Saturday, who again will be rested.
Carolina still controls its fate, but the schedule doesn’t favor the Canes.
Stay tuned…if Carolina wins one of two and Washington wins Thursday, then the fate of the Hurricanes will rest on Washington’s game Saturday…