On the heels of a 2-0 victory over Toronto on Sunday, the Washington Capitals embarked on their longest road trip of the season brimming with enthusiasm and confidence thanks to a three-game winning streak that has them on track for a postseason berth.
The trip begins with a game on Tuesday against the New York Islanders, who are 11 points behind Washington and have lost twice in a row. Then it’s off to Winnipeg, where the Capitals could all but ensure themselves of a playoff spot with a victory.
Winners of three straight, Washington is four points clear of the Jets and Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference.
“I think we’ve been really good hockey the past three games,” said center Mathieu Perreault, whose goal early in the third period gave Washington breathing room. “Hopefully we can carry that on into the road trip.”
Although the Capitals are well below .500 on the road this season, they have won two straight away from Verizon Center. Most recently, Washington outlasted reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston, 4-3, on Saturday.
The final three games of the road trip figure to provide the most revealing evidence as to where the Capitals stand. Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia all have considerably nore points than Washington, and the Red Wings and Flyers have aspirations of perhaps earning No. 1 seeds.
“You need to get as much momentum [as possible] going into” the road trip, defenseman Karl Alzner said. “After our last road win, that’s something else that we’re excited about. It give us a little bit more to feed off of it.”
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