With some luck, Caps can spring into playoff spot

With some luck, Caps can spring into playoff spot
March 20, 2014, 7:45 am
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(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Brace yourself, Caps fans.

Winter is behind us. Warmer weather awaits us. And, with a little luck …

When the sun rises on Friday the Caps could be holding a playoff spot for the first time since Jan. 18.

Here’s what needs to happen before the clock strikes 1 a.m.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who are holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings with 74 points, will need to lose in Montreal [7:30 p.m.] in regulation or overtime …

And the Caps will need to beat the Kings in Los Angeles [10:30 p.m., CSN].

Simple as that. Blue Jackets lose. Caps win. Wild card spot.

Of course, a Detroit Red Wings loss in Pittsburgh to the Penguins [7:30] would help the Capitals as well. If the Red Wings beat the Penguins and the Blue Jackets and Caps lose in regulation, the Red Wings would grab the final wildcard spot.

RELATED: [Capitals start California trip with crucial win]

The Red Wings are one point behind the Caps and Blue Jackets with 73 points. But, like the Blue Jackets, they have two games in hand on the Caps, who have 12 games remaining in their regular season.

The Caps are one of five NHL teams to have made the playoffs in each of the past six seasons. The Red Wings lead the field with 22 straight post-season appearances, followed by San Jose [nine], Pittsburgh [seven], and the Caps and Bruins [six].

Since you must be curious, here is the remaining schedules of the Caps, Red Wings and Blue Jackets. Predict away:

BLUE JACKETS [14 games]

at Montreal

NY Rangers

At NY Islanders

Detroit

Pittsburgh

at Carolina

Colorado

at Philadelphia

Chicago

NY Islanders

Phoenix

at Dallas

at Tampa

at Florida

RED WINGS [14 games]

Pittsburgh

at Minnesota

Minnesota

at Columbus

Montreal

at Toronto

Tampa Bay

Boston

Buffalo

at Montreal

at Buffalo

at Pittsburgh

Carolina

at St. Louis

CAPITALS [12 games]

at Los Angeles

at San Jose

Los Angeles

Boston

At Nashville

Dallas

at New Jersey

at NY Islanders

at St. Louis

at Carolina

Chicago

Tampa Bay