Caps Look to Get Cookin' at HomePosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Tonight’s game with the New York Islanders starts a five-game homestand for the Capitals, their longest of the season. With 20 games remaining on the schedule, this upcoming homestand accounts for a quarter of that remaining slate. The New York Islanders are the only Eastern Conference team the Caps haven’t defeated this season. They provide the opposition tonight to kick off the homestand. Atlantic Division foes New Jersey and Philadelphia follow the Islanders into The Phone Booth. Aside from games against the Southeast Division teams (Winnipeg and Florida) the Caps are chasing for the playoffs, the Devils and Flyers are the only teams currently in the playoff picture among Washington’s remaining 11 home-ice opponents. The Caps don’t have to run the table at home, but they may need to come close. Washington is just 11-18-3 on the road this season, and only two of the team’s nine remaining road games (at the Islanders and Tampa Bay) are against clubs currently outside the playoff picture. The Caps believe 95 points will get them into the playoffs. They’ll need to finish 14-6 to achieve that. Can they go 10-1 at home and 4-5 on the road? It’s a tall order. One thing is for sure, they’ve got to start with a win against the Islanders tonight. Winning two over the weekend gives them a shot at three straight for the first time since mid-January. The Isles busted that modest three-game run with a 3-0 whitewash of the Caps on Jan. 17, and Washington was unable to put together consecutive wins again until this past weekend. The Caps can afford to lose a few games between now and the end of the regular season, and they can still make the playoffs. But they’ve got to win most – if not all – of the games against the teams beneath them in the standings. And that starts with the Islanders tonight.
The recent NHL trade deadline was a bit of a dud in comparison to previous seasons. Few impact players moved on deadline day and few such players changed sweaters in the days and weeks leading up to the deadline as well. In the days leading up to the deadline, there was some speculation (emphasis