For the last four year Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals have been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In fact, they’ve placed first the last two years, preceding with a second-place finish in 2009 and a third-place stop in 2008.
This year, however, the Capitals are on a fine line between facing the New York Rangers in the first round or completely missing out on postseason action.
The Caps are in the 8th seed spot currently, with 84 points, tied for the 9th seeded Buffalo Sabres, who have 37 wins, one shy of Washington.
On Tuesday, the two teams square off in Washington, as they break the tie and settle the 8th seed by one point, regardless.
The Capitals are in a bad situation, and could fall into complete playoff obscurity after four years on the top.
After the Sabres, they’ll face the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers.
Ovechkin is finally gearing up his game with seven goals and one assist in his last five games, but it may not be enough to salvage a brutal season in which the Capitals eventually dismissed coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Capitals, however, have been able to go 6-4-3 so far this month. It hasn’t been enough, though, to compete against the Sabres’ 8-2-3 trek through March.
They’ll too take on an uphill battle with the likes of the Bruins, Penguins and Flyers, but will get the Maple Leafs twice before season’s ends. In all, Buffalo has the momentum needed to overtake Washington. Not to mention the biggest game of the season Tuesday with less the pressure of a faltering Washington franchise.