Good Scoreboard NightPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Heading into Thursday's game with the Bruins in Boston, the Caps were faced with the discomforting knowledge that even if they won each of their five remaining games, they could be on the outside looking in when the Stanley Cup playoffs got underway on April 11. Just over 24 hours later, that is no longer the case. Pittsburgh's 5-3 win over the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday puts the Capitals back in eighth place (by virtue of tie-breakers) and gives Washington control of its playoff destiny once again. Washington and Buffalo each have 86 points and each club has four games remaining. The Caps are back in action on Saturday at Verizon Center when they host the Montreal Canadiens while the Sabres visit Toronto. Also in the good news department, the Florida Panthers dropped a 4-1 road decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. The Caps still trail the Cats by four points for the lead in the Southeast Division. Both the Capitals and the Panthers have four games remaining, and the two teams go head-to-head in what is the penultimate game of the season for each club on Thursday night in Washington. Between now and then, the Caps host the Habs and then they visit Tampa Bay on Monday. Florida finishes its road trip against the Red Wings in Detroit on Sunday and then hosts Winnipeg on Tuesday. Should the Caps win each of their next two games, and Florida go no better than 1-1 in its next two, Washington would be able to gain control of its destiny vis-a-vis the Southeast Division crown with a regulation win over the Panthers in the District on Thursday. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. First things first, and that is Montreal at Verizon Center on Saturday. The Caps could learn a little from the Cats; they'd do well not to take the Habs lightly.
It has been nearly 90 days since Caps center Nicklas Backstrom last suited up and played in an NHL game. He has missed 40 games, the equivalent of nearly half a regular season’s slate. Tonight, Backstrom returns to action when the Caps take on the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center. He’ll start