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Washington is starting to look like a team even the East’s elite don’t want to see in a seven-game playoff series.

“Hopefully we can get a playoff spot and then I don’t know if teams are going to be afraid or not,” center Nicklas Backstrom said recently. “Hopefully.”

If the Caps keep rolling in the season’s final two weeks, that momentum, coupled with home-ice advantage, is nice to have. Winnipeg isn’t far back and can’t be ignored, but players’ focus on the task at hand has worked so far.

So there’s no reason to stop now as the Southeast race hits the home stretch.

“We want to win them all. We want to progressively get better each game,” Green said. “And that’s it. We’ve been keeping our eye on other teams, but at the end of the day all you can control is what you can control and that’s what’s in that dressing room and in this organization. And we’ll let the rest do its work.”