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All the Capitals playoff scenarios ahead of Game 82 in Philadelphia


For the Washington Capitals, it all comes down to Game 82. If they beat the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center — in regulation, overtime or a shootout — they will return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Capitals, Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are all vying for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The four teams have only one match left to play. The New York Islanders clinched third place in the Metropolitan Division on Monday, so only the second wild card spot remains, which brings a first-round matchup against the New York Rangers for whichever team clinches the position.

After beating the Boston Bruins, 2-0, Monday at Capital One Arena, Washington needs just two points to enter. Currently tied with the Red Wings – who play in Montreal while the Capitals play in Philadelphia – with 89 points, Washington has the tiebreaker against Detroit if both teams win.

The Penguins have 88 points and will face the Islanders on Wednesday, a result that won’t matter to the Capitals unless they lose to the Flyers.

Philadelphia needs a regulation win to get there; if Washington gets a point, the Flyers, who currently have 87 points, are eliminated. And even with a regulation win against the Capitals, Philadelphia still needs help – Detroit and Pittsburgh also need to get zero points. If all three of those outcomes occur, the Flyers would enter the contest because they hold the sixth tiebreaker, goal differential, against Washington.

If the Red Wings win and the Capitals lose, Detroit will make it. If Washington and the Red Wings lose in overtime and the Penguins win on Wednesday, Pittsburgh will make it.

All these convoluted scenarios will become meaningless if Washington beats the Flyers.

“That’s all you can ask for,” defenseman John Carlson said Monday. “We’ve been through some ups and downs this year, and we’ve made progress so far. I’m excited to have the opportunity to do it tomorrow.


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