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Washington Capitals clinch Southeast Division

Thursday, 03.11.2010 / 9:34 PM / News
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Washington Capitals clinch Southeast Division
The Washington Capitals didn't have to do anything on Thursday night to become the first NHL team to clinch a division title and one of the 16 berths in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Caps, who lead the overall NHL standings with 99 points, were assured of the Southeast title when the Atlanta Thrashers lost 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. The Thrashers, second in the Southeast, have 66 points with 16 games remaining, meaning they could earn a maximum of 98.

Washington is also closing in on assuring itself of first place in the Eastern Conference. The Caps lead second-place Pittsburgh, the leader in the Atlantic Division, by 14 points (99-85); both teams have 15 games remaining. The Penguins lost 4-3 in overtime at Carolina.

The next team likely to clinch a division title is the Chicago Blackhawks, who entered Thursday leading the Central Division by 16 points over second-place Nashville, with both teams having 16 games remaining. The Hawks would be the first team other than the Detroit Red Wings to win the Central since St. Louis in 1999-2000.






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The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres