At this stage of the season, the Capitals know what’s at stake each night — what opportunity to move up, or down, in the standings they’ve been afforded. So while their main focus is on the game at hand, it’s tough for players not to occasionally glance up in a building and take a look at the out of town scoreboard.
On Tuesday night, it showed the Florida Panthers en route to a 5-3 win over Toronto. It meant if the Capitals could find a way to come back from their two-goal deficit to the New York Islanders they would be able to move into eighth place.
Rally they did and with a 3-2 overtime victory, the Capitals advanced to 69 points and leapfrogged the Maple Leafs into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“You see it in the corner,” Troy Brouwer said of the out-of-town scoreboard. “You try not to pay attention as much as you can, but the reality is it’s posted all over the rink. It’s kind of one of those games where you hoping that they both lose so you can catch them both. It’s nice that we were able to jump over Toronto tonight, but we’re still trying to catch Florida and we still got a lot of hockey to play.”
The Panthers remain in the top spot in the Southeast Division with 72 points and a game in hand over Washington.
“Certainly with the position we’re in we do a little more scoreboard watching than in the past,” Brooks Laich said. “You can’t let it bother you. You have to maintain your focus on the game, but a TV intermission or a timeout you take a quick peek to see what’s going on. But ultimately you’ve still got to focus on what you’re doing.”
The team will not practice on Wednesday but be sure check back for more on the dramatic come-from-behind victory.