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Caps Look to Ramp Up in Time for Playoffs

Tonight's game against Tampa Bay is the only one the Capitals will play in a seven-day span, and one of six games this month against teams that have long been out of the playoff hunt.

Despite the weak schedule, though, Washington has struggled. The Caps are 5-5-2 in March and want to button up the inconsistencies in their play before the postseason begins.

"I think it's up to us to play the way we know we can play against teams that might not be in the playoffs or in the hunt," Shaone Morrisonn said. "That's the only thing we can do. We aren't going to play anymore New Jerseys or Bostons. We just have to get back and play the way we know we can, that's the key for us."

Resting Up
Some hockey folk believe it would have been better for the Caps to be playing the best teams -- and having games on a more frequent basis -- leading up to the playoffs in order to have a barometer for how they'll match up against potential postseason opponents. Right now, though, count Brooks Laich, who has played in all 75 games this season, as one Capital who's glad for an easier schedule.

"If you can get rest at this time of year, it's so beneficial," he said. "Your body gets beat up, you get tired, you get worn down both physically and mentally.... To get a couple days to get away from the rink, sit at home and relax, go watch a movie to refresh. We're still looking at playing hockey for another 2-2 1/2 months."

The Caps' freshly-minted playoff spot also allows them to try and rest up before the playoffs. They aren't in, as Laich said, "a death match" to the final game like they were a season ago. But with the improved positioning comes the desire to learn from last year's mistakes.

"It's definitely a hundred times harder mentally and physically [in the playoffs]," Morrisonn said. "We've got to be ready for that this time. Last year it took us a couple games to get going, and I think that cost us."

An Eye on the Southeast
While the players were pleased to know their playoff spot is secure, no one was overwhelmed with joy. Although it was Florida's loss to Buffalo that guaranteed the Caps' spot, Laich wasn't ready to rule the Panthers out.

"Anything can happen," Laich said. "Last year it went down to the final day for us. We lost in Chicago last year and people wrote us off. Saying, you know, 'This one finally sinks them; they're done.' I'm not going to write anybody off, especially going through the experience we went through last year. Seven games left for us, eight or nine for some other teams; the way the standings are now, things are going to change a lot."

By Katie Carrera  |  March 27, 2009; 8:54 AM ET
 
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Comments

Hey I finally got first - need a big win tonight and firing on all cylinders

Posted by: Redwolf1 | March 27, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It seems that so many people on this board do not agree with Brooks, and rest and mediocre is not an option and a huge concern.

I agree with him, and dont seem to think too much of these last games. 3rd seed is the reality..2nd seed would be a great goal..

But 1-8 seed doesnt matter to me..It's go time come playoffs.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 27, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

At least they realize this. Let's see if it translates into a W tonight. The magic number is five - five more points and the division is guaranteed. I think they're on their own to get those five points, but if they can't get five points in seven games, then I can't say they deserve the division.

I'm looking forward to seeing whether Erskine goes on the top line tonight.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: 3rd seed isn't guaranteed yet, though - once they've locked up the division, THEN they can shrug if they want to. Home ice is not to be sneezed at.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

1) They would be betetr served to NOT be content at the 3rd seed. Its a HUGE difference! Two rounds with home ice(possibly 3 if the top seed is upset)
2) Being tied with 8 to go is entirely do-abe despite the two games in hand Jersey has. Their schedule is much tougher than the Caps!

Posted by: fauxrumors | March 27, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

Call me cocky, but there is a better chance the moon crashes into earth then us not getting the 3 seed.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 27, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: Yes, I'll call you cocky. :) I seem to remember a final-day upset last year. Can't remember which team pulled that on who, though I bet the name'd be familiar if they came to me...

OH RIGHT! It was US, pulling that on Carolina! I'll bet my bottom dollar they're looking for paybacks. Chances are low, but then they were low for us last year and it happened. I'm not going to discount it. Let's be sure before resting on our laurels, yes?

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know why we are going over a week between games?

Posted by: Bagher | March 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Look up, not down folks!
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: fauxrumors | March 27, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Knowing what the Caps pulled off last year, I'm not discounting a damnthing until we have the division sewn up with another 5 points, hopefully in the next 3 games. Carolina's got two games in hand on us. Yeah, they have a tougher schedule, and are 8 points back, but they're on a 5-win streak right now, and we've lost 2 in a row.

I want to see a win tonight!

Posted by: irockthered | March 27, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Bagher, probably the Frozen Four. They're not going to use the NHL lines and they need to put down their own logos and ads. If it wasn't them it would be the circus or another NCAA weekend.

Posted by: koalatek | March 27, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Im not sure how I like the new scenery in here. I'll get use to it I guess. I do wish Carolina would stop winning.

Posted by: JSchon | March 27, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek: Does that mean they need to pull up and redo the ice sheet? *nosewrinkle* Oh Lord. They have to put it back down for the NHL lines. Expect lousy ice for April 1, folks.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek: Does that mean they need to pull up and redo the ice sheet? *nosewrinkle* Oh Lord. They have to put it back down for the NHL lines. Expect lousy ice for April 1, folks.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 27, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Kittypawz , in regard to the ice , they may just shave it down to below the lines repaint and add ice, don't know really,
good question for Tarik

Posted by: billd2 | March 27, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Fans,

Are we changing divisions next year? Is the NHL realigning again? I thought I heard something about that.

Posted by: bhound69 | March 27, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There will be no realigning of the teams and divisions as I know.

Posted by: JSchon | March 27, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It's possible that they just cut it above the NHL paint layer, and just paint the Frozen Four stuff on the layer above, then they could just cut the NCAA layer later.

Posted by: koalatek | March 27, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I think if Ovie scores he makes no emotion, skates over to the bench and sits down.

We need to get some good signs out there for the game tonight...

"I'll take the under on a 3 hour first period tonight Rick"


Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 27, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Frozen four games are April 9 and 11. So if they need to put down a new ice sheet after that, it will be *fresh* for the playoffs.

Posted by: Hockey4Life | March 27, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

We are up on the Canes 8 points and they have played in 1 more game than we have played.

The division is over. Last year we started our climbed after Thanksgiving and had to make up about 15 points. It took us 4 months to make up that ground. In the day of the three point games......it's all over but the shouting on the division.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 27, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The Caps play Wed, April 1 vs. NYI, which is less than a week away (5 days). Not sure where Katie is getting this "week without a game" stuff.

Posted by: EGTuna | March 27, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The Caps play Wed, April 1 vs. NYI, which is less than a week away (5 days). Not sure where Katie is getting this "week without a game" stuff.

Posted by: EGTuna | March 27, 2009 10:26 AM
---

She said it's the only one they will play in a week-long span and she is correct. Last game was March 24, next game is April 1.

Posted by: CapsChick | March 27, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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