The game against the Panthers tonight was almost surreal. The Capitals, a team who spent much of the first part of the season in the cellar, a team who fired their coach mid-season, a team missing its captain the entire year, beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 to win the fourth division title in franchise history and have now made the playoffs for the first time in five years.
The celebration at the end of the game felt like they had just won the Stanley Cup. The teams mobbed deadline pickup Christobel Huet and Alexander Ovechkin raised his hands, telling the jam-packed arena to make some noise.
It was a magical season for Washington, who will see the Rocket Richard and Art Ross go to Ovechkin, and possibly the Pearson and Hart as well.
Bruce Bordeau, who took over as head coach back at the halfway mark has done a sensation job with this team. He will be considered for the Jack Adams.
George McPhee, the general manager, made excellent moves at the trade deadline, acquiring Matt Cooke, Huet, and Sergei Federov, who scored the game-winner tonight.
Congratulations to Washington and their fans. You deserved it.
The Avs will play their 82nd game against newly crowned division champs Minnesota tomorrow at 3 PM EST.
If Calgary beats Vancouver tonight, the Avs must win in order to secure the sixth seed and a matchup against the Wild in the first round.
If Calgary loses to Vancouver in regulation, the Avalanche will play the Wild in the first round regardless of tomorrow's outcome.
If the two teams end up tied, Colorado will clinch the sixth seed by virtue of wins.
I'll be surprised if Forsberg plays in this game. A little rest might do some good.