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Capitals Clinch Southeast Division

Despite a 5-4 overtime loss to a Buffalo Sabres team desperate to stay alive, the Caps just got the single point they needed to capture their second straight Southeast Division title.

Washington could have used an extra point to help lock up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and extend its lead over the New Jersey Devils, who lurk just two points back after tonight's overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tarik will have much more in a bit, so stay tuned.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 3, 2009; 9:37 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's Lineup: Sabres at Caps
Next: Boudreau: Winning Division 'Not Our Goal'


Well at least we clinched

Posted by: danp3111 | April 3, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Come on champs--let's get two!

Posted by: Terptwin | April 3, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

terrible pass by Feds.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Sorry guys.

Posted by: Terptwin | April 3, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Too wide open tonight. Not good. Not a great way to clinch the division, but whatever. Our defense is scary. (not in a good way)

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

NJ wins

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What a letdown. Caps stink in their own zone.

Please bench Schultz.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 3, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Devils win in OT, 5-4. Our lead over the Devils is a mere 2 points.

Posted by: Terptwin | April 3, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not liking the Caps chances in the playoffs, just from watching them over the last two months. Caps just don't look right.

If the playoffs had started in about January, I might think differently though. Caps seemed to be on their game back then.

I'm thinking next year is the year when the Caps will really get it all together.

Still, an excellent season overall, considering the previous few years.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 3, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Why is our defense so horrid?! If it weren't for those two deflections... or 3 deflections..

Washington: 102 points
New Jersey: 100 points

*sigh... not happy. :(

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

We better kill the Thrashers on Sunday afternoon. So sad, we clinched the division and leave the ice, don't even celebrate. ARGH, terrible, terrible defense! What if we went to overtime in the playoffs and that happened? That can't happen ANYMORE.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Not to start anyone worrying but Boudreau, Leach, and Evason were all centers during their playing days. That might not mean anything but IMHO, our bench braintrust could be a factor in your/our concern. Again, just MHO.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | April 3, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Can't pin that loss on Schultz

Posted by: Sonyask | April 3, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

What the hell is up with all the Buffalo fans?

What will it take for this team to sell out to Caps fans? Listening to it on TV, it sounded like there were a ton of Buffalo fans, and then seeing their OT goal, there were A TON of fans by the glass there in the corner, and behind the Buf bench. And what's even sadder, there were at least two Buf fans decked out in Blue behind the caps bench. CMON PEOPLE! At least the tickets behind the caps bench, DON'T SELL OUT!!!

Posted by: floms | April 3, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing to celebrate winning a division. Big deal.Played good enough to win and bad enough to lose. Take the bad things, learn from them and move on.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 3, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Florida fans have got to be beside themselves. Their team is 2 points out of a playoff spot--and down 2 goals to the Thrashers at home.

Posted by: Terptwin | April 3, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Caps are just not right. I hope they get it together for the playoffs or it's a quick first round exit again.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 3, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, couple of other points-

yes, our D SUCKS BIG TIME!! I posted a while ago about possible changning systems to where one forward would stay back. I don't see how we can make it past the first round playing fun-n-gun hockey with a horrible d-fense. I've seen how that story ends. Its ridiculous that we lost today. most of their goals were just a result of our really bad mistakes. It keeps happening to us.

Suddenly, I feel a lot less critical of Theo. We give up so many odd man rushes, breakaways, and open men in the slot and crease chances, it makes me sick.

I think everyone will agree, lets make it a goal to get to round 2. Outside of that, its pretty much impossible.

Posted by: floms | April 3, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, seeing the Sabres celebrate and all the cheers from the crowd (maybe it was some cheering the division) but it was wayy to loud for each Sabres goal. I HATE seeing teams celebrate in our house like that, I couldn't even watch it.

The defense is really scary. (bad scary not good scary.) These defensive breakdowns and collapses and terrible passes are happening 4 games before the playoffs, if this happens in the playoffs, there is no redo, it's the playoffs! Maybe I am overreacting but I hated the way they played tonight. (albeit it was a intense, entertaining game.)

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the line tinkering. Just put the best lines together and get on with it. No more random defensive benchings. We all know that Schultz is the weak link.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 3, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

floms: SAME. I feel less critical of Theo as well. All that crap that happens to Theo happened to Varly tonight. With our defense (or lack of defense) even the best would struggle, Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Mikka Kiprusoff.

On another note: when is someone else going to step up besides Green, OV, Semin, Nicky, Feds? Flash is going back to his old self of last year, and I'm losing my patience with Eric Fehr. We don't have any secondary scoring.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 3, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

First two goals were unlucky own goals from Jurcina and Kozlov. Overall good offensive and bad defensive play, Varly had one bad goal from deflection to five hole but all the rest is not his fault.
Green had a bad game and NOBODY stepped up from a D-line to help offense. Poti tried but didnt succeed. I think S. Kronwall should get his chance against Atlanta.

Posted by: Hazz | April 3, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

102 points....doom and gloom. Three goals off Caps skates or sticks and Pominville was two feet offside on the winning goal but it was still Schultz's fault.

Posted by: meagle | April 3, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Meagle -- my sentiments exactly. May as well not bother even playing in the playoffs. It's over. Blame Schultz

Posted by: Sonyask | April 3, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know why Kozlov didn't play the last ten minutes in the third and into overtime? I didn't notice him get hurt at all but I'm assuming there's an injury?

Posted by: capsfantess | April 3, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse


caps caps csaps

Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Last 10
Bos 7-2-1
Was 6-2-2
NJ 3-6-1
Phi 5-5-0
Car 7-1-2
Pit 7-1-2
Mon 4-3-3
NYR 5-4-1
Fla 4-4-2
Buf 5-3-2

Posted by: Sonyask | April 3, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Concerning our D, I don't think it is as much our player/personnel as it is our system. As I've mentioned before, all three of our coaches were very offensive minded players and our system reflects it accordingly.
No one seems to be getting benched or scolded whenever we have these major breakdowns, so it must be what the coaches have implimented to begin with. All I'm saying is that hopefully BB and staff adjust our defensive system soon so we don't keep going down this same very porous path.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | April 3, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse


Is this the way you want to enter the playoffs? Kicking goals into our own net and losing to non playoff teams?

Wow, we won the SE division again. Big deal.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 3, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

There is only so much D to be played. Old CAP fans have to remember the good old days when we would get a one goal lead and go into a shell. Gart's racks up 50+ goals every season and checked in his stick come playoffs. This system is fine, very similiar to Detroit and west coast in general. Personnel is an issue. Some folks have touched on that. benching Schultz is just a knee jerk reaction, really who is going to replace him?? Arm-chair coaches step up....please.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 3, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Um, I see that Erskine is on the bench waiting to take Schultz's place. John played probably his best game of the season and he rides the pine for no good reason.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 3, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

No good reason to you and me, but I'm sure coach had a laundry list of reasons, plus last I checked season is 82 games. So Erskine had one good game as mentioned. Erskine is not the savior.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 3, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

That reason was Pothier.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 3, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

its OV fault - if he had scored at three goals (as BB system is designed for) then we wouldn't be debating this game at all. put the blame where it belongs - on the first line!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 3, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Relieved they clinched. I'm still mad! They should have won when scoring 4 goals! Boo. I was at the game and there were loads of Buffalo fans and they were really obnoxious, to say the least. They are the most obnoxious fans of an opposing team that I've seen this year, so far.

Meanwhile, my office mate says he roots for the Caps, except when they play -- guess who -- Buffalo. (He's from upstate NY.) He also likes the Pens since their coach was so nice to him (when he watched the Pens practice at Kettler when they came into town vs the Caps.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

it will be ok

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 3, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse


Your perception was accurate. There were a jillion Buffalo fans at the game when I went.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

The large number of Sabres fans at the game was very discouraging, adding to the lack of SW Division win celebration. How does this happen? I think there were more Buffalo fans there then for any other opposing team all year.

Posted by: rew1000 | April 3, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse


I fear your perceptions are correct on the Caps playoff chances. I will really be pissed if they lose in the first round to either the Rangers or Montreal who seemed to spend the whole second half of the season trying to self-destruct.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree, pothier totally blew his assignment on that tying. That is where a full-force D-man would have cleaned out the slot and we would have started a breakout instead of swearing up a storm. All moot now.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | April 3, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse


Maybe you shouldn't be so confident of our chances of winning vs Atlanta on Sunday. I have tickets for the game. Their track record is pretty bad for games where I have tickets. The one day I sold my tickets to my office mate, they won.

The last Caps win I saw at Verizon was against the NY Rangers in early Jan. That seems like ancient history. (I saw some wins before that, I'll admit. NJ Devils, Montreal, St Louis, Toronto.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Sabres deserved this one. They completely outplayed the Caps for the entire game. (They also missed on three wide open nets, so it could've been much worse.) Defense was terrible. Morrison couldn't stay on his skates, Jurcina looked rusty, Schultz was Schultz. OV looked particularly lazy in the defensive zone. Backstrom had one of his weaker efforts. And Varlamov seemed to be a little wild out there.

It's nice the Caps clinched, but this was certainly not the way to do it. Gotta take these next two from Atlanta and open up some separation.

Posted by: CDon | April 3, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse


I read that Kozlov had kicked the second goal into our net. But somehow I don't think that alone would send him to the bench. Yep, it seemed that Kozzie played less minutes than any other forward, save for AuCoin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

they wouldn't be going end to end as much if they could manage a tape to tape pass.

Posted by: am_jim | April 3, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

it's OK to go to the ALT game - just stay away from the PO's - please

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 3, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse


I'll probably have to sell off (or give away) my first round PO tickets anyhow. I'll be taking my younger daughter to visit colleges over her Spring Break (and my husband will do some driving her to colleges, too). I assume the PO games will occur when I'm not available but they don't have the schedule squared away yet.

So, one way or another, I'm probably out of most of round 1. So me, the jinx is out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 3, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

unless of course they crush ATL - then there will be a requirement that you attend all home PO games :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

i tried to encourage my kids to choose schools that were not within driving distance. two of them ended up 2 1/2 hours away. one has since come back home *sigh* - the other one stayed and finished her masters. where will you be looking?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

@Captain Kirk,

I'll be driving her down to NC State. She'll be flying up to Boston with her dad (my husband) to see Northeastern. And we'll also look at VA Tech. (My second born plans to major in Engineering which, coincidentally, is what her BF plans to major in also.)

The first born graduated from BU. (She's the same age as Ovi and Fehr, almost a year younger than Semin and a year older than Schultz.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

So there were a ton of Buffalo fans. Obnoxious fans in our building, of a 2nd place team in the conference.

Maybe they're still sore about getting knocked out of the Eastern Conference Finals by us in '98?

I guess its just this area being so transient. It always makes me envious of the stronger sports towns. The Skins game this year against the Steelers at Fedex was a complete Joke.

We NEED a CUP in DC. I think the afterglow of that should create sell out droves of opposing team fans.

Posted by: floms | April 4, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse


It seemed that there were more Buffalo fans than any other opposing team that I can remember. God, they were really obnoxious.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

new post
my second - the 'masters' is semins age, my son is the same as backstrom. i also have a daughter that is 27. wow - i typed that and now i feel old

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

For Capt Kirk,

If the astrologers are right, my first born (who's nearly a year younger than Semin) is a Pisces with Moon in Pisces. So that's pretty similar. In many ways, Semin reminds me of her. They've both been accused of lack of focus at times.

Gee, what would she have done with Marc Staal? (She ended up being called "Punchy McFace" since she once slapped a guy who spread gossip about her on the internet.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse


Yes, I think we need a Cup in DC. I don't want the Caps to be like the Chicago Cubs -- no championship for over 100 years.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

@Captain Kirk

Are you a Star Trek fan by some chance? (With a handle like that?) Supposedly, some of Captain James T. Kirk's ancestors came from Flagstaff, AZ.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Don't think all the problems in this game were Schultz's fault. Okay, Schultz is nowhere near my favorite player on the Caps but believe he is maligned just a bit too much.

Seems that he's always the designated scapegoat for the Caps ills.

We probably do need some help in defense, except who do we get? Help from the farm, as in Alzner?

I think it may be time to let Brash go after the season. What's the point in having an enforcer who gets injured every time he gets in a fight? He's getting up there in years -- 37. Okay, the management seems to like him and he's so good at public relations and going to all the fan related functions and charities; etc.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Varly obviously needs some work, especially in rebound control and clearing the puck. I'd like to see us knock off the Rags in first round, then have Brent back to help Jose get us to the cup.

Posted by: howardweiss613 | April 4, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

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