The Washington Times - April 9, 2011, 12:04AM

SUNRISE, Fla. – It was something the Capitals called a “long-term” goal before the season started – getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They clinched that Friday night with the Flyers’ overtime loss in Buffalo.

So starting Wednesday or Thursday, the Caps get a chance to put last year well in the past.


“That’s 50 weeks ago or whatever. Now we’re ready to start the playoffs again and fast-forward a year. Fast-forward 50 weeks and get right back at it. Our time is coming,” Mike Knuble said. “It should be a good chance to right some wrongs.”

That chance will come against either the Hurricanes or Rangers next week starting at Verizon Center. But first, an essentially meaningless game against the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise.

Here’s a scientific projection of what the Caps’ roster could look like Saturday night at BankAtlantic Center:

Michal Neuvirth

Karl Alzner – Scott Hannan

Sean Collins – Jeff Schultz

Tyler Sloan – John Erskine

(Scratched: Mike Green, John Carlson)

Brooks Laich – Nick Backstrom – Mike Knuble

Marco Sturm – Marcus Johansson – Eric Fehr

Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Matt Bradley

D.J. King – Jay Beagle – Jason Chimera

(Scratched: Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin, Jason Arnott)

This is assuming Green won’t give it a go in a game with nothing on the line and that Bruce Boudreau wants to give Neuvirth a tune-up for the playoffs.