2013 Stanley Cup Playoff Team – Washington Capitals
The 2013 NHL season may have not started until January because of the lockout, but the politics of the Washington, DC, sports scene was in an election-style fervor through early March because of the perceived failings of a new coach and an embattled captain of the Washington Capitals. But despite a slow, highly-criticized start, the Capitals were able to weave their firepower of the past with Adam Oates’s new systemic changes of the present and surge to the top of a rather weak division, gaining the No. 3 seed in the NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs. The intensity of the Caps over this late charge toward the 2013 NHL Playoffs makes them the team no one wants to face going forward deep toward the Stanley Cup, regardless of how slowly they got out of the gate.
With only a few days left in the 2013 NHL season, however, there’s still a lot of question about who the Washington Capitals will draw as the No. 6 seed in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs first round. Of the four teams the Caps are likely to draw, none of them is a particularly favorable matchup for Washington based on the regular season results. The Capitals had a losing record against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders this season. The team Washington does draw will pose a problem that reflects the Caps’ entire 2013 season – they will need to overcome the results of their first act if they wish to continue in the postseason. They’ve answered the bell once; can Ovechkin and company do it again?
The Capitals’ late surge to not only make the playoffs but also wrangle the Southeastern Division away from the Winnipeg Jets has provided them home-ice advantage at the Verizon Center in the first round. While there is still a lot of doubt about who they will play in round one of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Caps will be hosting the first two games at home.