The Washington Capitals can clinch the Southeast Division title and a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs by beating the Winnipeg Jets in regulation or overtime on Tuesday night.
The Caps’ magic number to win the division is four, and that would be accomplished with a regulation victory at Verizon Center. Washington has 52 points and three games remaining going into Tuesday.
Winnipeg beat the Buffalo Sabres in regulation on Monday night, cutting its Southeast deficit to one point. But the Jets have only one game after Tuesday’s matchup at the Caps, so a loss in regulation or overtime prevents them from winning the division.
If the Caps win in overtime, they will have 54 points to the Jets’ 52 and 23 regulation or overtime wins (ROW) to the Jets’ 22. Winnipeg can only get to 23 ROW, and so the tiebreaker would become points between the teams. Even throwing out one of the Caps’ victories in Winnipeg because of an uneven split of games, they’d have that advantage 6-3.
A Caps overtime or shootout loss would make for a tie at 53 points, though they would remain in first place because they have two games left while Winnipeg has one. Washington’s magic number to clinch would then be three points either gained or lost by Winnipeg.
A Caps regulation loss would give the Jets the division lead at 53 points to 52, though Washington would have a game in hand. The Caps’ magic number would then remain at four, meaning they clinch the Southeast with two victories in their final two games. They could also clinch with help from the Montreal Canadiens, who face the Jets on Thursday.