The math gets simpler every day for the Capitals. Any combination of four points gained by Washington or lost by Winnipeg hands Washington its fifth Southeast Division title in six years -- and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference that goes with it.
That comes on the heels of the Caps' domination of Montreal in a 5-1 win Saturday. Meanwhile, the Jets gained just one point with a shootout loss at home to the New York Islanders.
Washington (25-18-2, 52 points) is now three up on Winnipeg (23-19-3, 49 points). The Jets face Buffalo on Monday night before they travel to the District for a showdown with the Caps at Verizon Center. Winnipeg's season ends Thursday at home vs. Montreal. Washington still faces Ottawa at home on Thursday and Boston at home on Saturday.
So it's not over yet. But the Caps certainly appear in good shape. But beating Winnipeg on Tuesday remains imperative. One bonus: Washington is tied with No. 7 Ottawa and the No. 8 New York Rangers in points in case their division title hopes falter.
- Brian McNally