The Washington Times - March 31, 2009, 10:31AM

“Don’t you want to finish second in your conference? Don’t you want home ice advantage if you advance past the first round?”

That is what New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter said to reporters, angry after his team’s 3-0 loss Monday night to the New York Rangers.


The answers, of course, are yes and yes, and the Capitals right now seem more up for the task than the Devils, who have lost six of their last seven games and are now one point behind the Capitals, who resume play Wednesday night at home against the New York Islanders.

While their last six games may not be like the stretch run of winning 11 of their final 12 last year to just make the playoffs, the way the Capitals perform in these final games could determine how far they get in the playoffs, since home ice for this team is such a friendly place to play.

“I think we like playing at home so it would be beneficial for us to be as high as we can in the standings,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Each home playoff game is another step toward expanding hockey’s presence in this town. The impact carries over into the next season and beyond.


I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Thursday, April 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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