Entering the Washington Capitals' third game of a four-game road trip Monday, they sit in third place in the Southeast Division. To find their way out, the Caps will have to defeat the fifth-place team in the division: the Carolina Hurricanes.
Washington is 1-1-0 so far on its road trip, which began Friday against the Florida Panthers. The Caps have been on opposite sides of 2-1 decisions, winning Friday and losing Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Factoring in the Winnipeg Jets' 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Sunday, the idle Caps are now in third place in the Southeast Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference with 24 games remaining. A win would put the Caps back in the playoff picture in eighth place and into a tie with the Panthers with 65 points. Florida, however, would hold the tiebreaker because it has played fewer games.
The Hurricanes are the worst team in the Eastern Conference entering Monday with 55 points, but they have been playing better as of late. Saturday's 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders was Carolina's first regulation loss of the month; the Hurricanes are 4-1-2 in February.
Washington has won three of four against Carolina this season, but lost the most recent meeting January 20 in a 3-0 shutout loss.