A few weeks ago, we discussed the possible matchups the Washington Capitals could have in the first round of the playoffs. With a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and a win over the New York Rangers, the Caps have locked up the Presidents Trophy for the second year in a row. Additionally, they have clinched the top seed in the East and in the Metropolitan Division. With a new fortnight, new point projections for the playoffs are here thanks to Micah Blake McCurdy, as well as chances for the playoffs.
The big thing to notice is how closely packed the two through wild card spots are for the Atlantic. This is mainly due to the Ottawa Senators dropping like an anchor in their past few games. We know that the likely candidates the Caps will now face are Ottawa, Boston, and Toronto. We have discussed Toronto, but a lot has changed for their potential seeding, so let’s dive into the Bruins and Senators first.
Boston recently clinched a playoff spot, although due to the madness of the Atlantic Division, it is unclear where exactly they will end up. Given the current point projections, the Bruins are the most likely candidates to play the Caps. Boston has had strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask this season, and coupling that with Brad Marchand tearing the league up, they are a hard team to sleep on. Marchand will be receiving a hearing from the league for spearing Jake Dotchin. Not great news in the sportsmanship department.
However, when he is on the ice, you cannot count him out. Look at him absolutely shred the Vancouver Canucks on this goal.
If you are a Caps fan, the good news is that Washington has owned Boston this year, going 2-0 on the season. With their last meeting coming up on Saturday, this could be a preview for the series to come. That is definitely a game to put on your calendars. The Bruins go head-to-head against the Senators before they take on the Caps, and they need both wins to try and jump ahead in the standings.
The first thing everyone thinks about when they think of Ottawa is Erik Karlsson. The man is the face of the franchise, as well as a top tier defenseman.
However, there have been other great story lines for the Senators. Craig Anderson’s return after his wife’s battle with cancer is easily one of the best stories of the year. Last night, he played his 500th game and he got a shut out.
That is where the good stuff ends. The Caps are 2-1 against the Sens, and recently the Senators had dropped five straight before getting a win on Tuesday. Their schedule does not get any easier since they take on the Rangers, Bruins, and Isles to close out the season. They need all three of those games to keep up.
Toronto Maple Leafs
A few weeks ago, the Leafs were the likeliest candidates to play the Caps. Not true anymore, as they have rocketed up to as high as second in the Atlantic. Currently, they are in the final wild card spot. Their schedule dictates it will be hard to stay there or even climb upwards. With a thumping from the Caps on Tuesday, Toronto has Tampa, Pittsburgh, and Columbus to round out the season. The catch here is that Ottawa and Boston only lead Toronto by one point, so if Toronto can eek out a win or a tie, things could get fun.
If Toronto gets to the middle of the pack in the Atlantic, fans are probably thinking this for whom they want to face.
You: Our best chance to win a series is against the Sens.
Inner you: Let's play Boston to avenge what happened 4 years ago. pic.twitter.com/wwod3p7Ivo
— McDonagh (@McDonaghx27) April 2, 2017
With the final weekend of the regular season nearly upon us, who do you have the Capitals playing in the first round?
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