Photo: NHL Twitter
The Washington Capitals officially punched their ticket into the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs after the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils in overtime on Thursday night.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 30, 2018
To secure a postseason appearance for the fourth straight season and the ninth time in the past 10 seasons, the Capitals needed one of the following: the Penguins to beat the Devils in any fashion, the Columbus Blue Jackets to lose to the Calgary Flames in regulation, or the Florida Panthers to lose to the Ottawa Senators or defeat the Senators in a shootout.
The Capitals are now two wins away (or any combination of two wins by the Capitals and two losses by the Penguins, who are five points behind them in the Metropolitan Division) from claiming their third consecutive Metropolitan Division crown. The two teams clash at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday at 7:30 PM on NBC Sports Network.
The Capitals became the first team from the Metropolitan Division, the third Eastern Conference team (Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins), and the sixth team in the league (Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets) to secure a playoff berth this year.
— NHL (@NHL) March 30, 2018
The Capitals, who have won five straight games and nine of their last 10, have five more games remaining in the regular season. They host the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena tomorrow night at 7 PM on NBC Sports Washington. The Penguins next game is at home Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Capitals have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 1998 when they were swept in the franchise’s lone Stanley Cup Final appearance at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. They have lost in the second round each of the past three seasons.
By Harrison Brown