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For so long, teams around them such as the Leafs and Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers were struggling simultaneously, but if those teams and the Winnipeg Jets go on a run, the Caps know their upcoming homestand is about securing essential victories.

“If you’re not winning, you’re not going to be there,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “You’re not going to be in a playoff spot. If you’re going to think about different teams, how they’re going to play, of course it matters, but it’s all about us. We have to control our games and we have to control how we’re going to play next game.”