- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Capitals beat Jets to win Southeast Division, clinch No. 3 seed
Question of the Day
By the spring of 2011, it became the norm for the Washington Capitals to win the Southeast Division. Ho-hum, hang another banner at Verizon Center.
After four straight titles in the not-too-distant past, these Caps are two years removed from the last one. Two months ago, they would have gladly taken an opportunity like they had Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Hell yeah, we would’ve,” defenseman Jack Hillen said.
The Caps wasted no time taking advantage of it, as they beat the Jets 5-3 to clinch the Southeast and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s Washington’s sixth straight playoff appearance and fifth division championship in that time.
“We did it, everybody pretty happy right now in locker room,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We make our first step and everybody proud of themselves, it’s nice feeling right now.”
It’s something that would have been difficult to envision at several points earlier this season. The Caps started 2-8-1 and were at the bottom of the NHL standings.
Even as recently as mid-March after a loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins, they were 14th in the East and looked far more destined for a high lottery pick in the draft than a trip to the playoffs. But starting with back-to-back victories in Winnipeg, the Caps went 14-2-1 to sew up the division.
“We had a lousy start, and I don’t think many of us thought we would come this far,” coach Adam Oates said. “But we obviously put some really good hockey together and the guys have grown.”“
The Caps made up a division deficit that was 10 points to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 13 and nine to the Jets as recently as March 20. On April 23, they put the Southeast out of reach and dealt a serious blow to the Jets’ attempt to make the playoffs.
“It’s not the feather that we want to have at the end of the year, that’s for sure,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “We did what we set out to do in the regular season, and now we’ve got to continue on.”
While Washington reeled off an eight-game winning streak along the way that got it into first place April 4, domination of Winnipeg paved the way to home-ice advantage in the first round.
That continued Tuesday night.
Whatever the reason, the Caps showed early that they were clearly the better team. The first four shifts of the game they tilted the ice toward Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
It was the opposite of what defenseman Mike Green expected when he said of the Jets: “We’ve got to make sure that we match their push.” Instead, the Caps pushed, took an early lead on Matt Hendricks’ goal 3:12 in and kept up the pressure.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- HATCH: Destroying the Senate and our liberties
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors