With more than a month left in the regular season, the home team Washington Capitals became the first team to clinch a playoff berth with their 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Capitals have lead the NHL for several months, so this seemed inevitable, yet it was an accomplishment to get it over with so soon and move on to the next challenge of winning the Metropolitan Division and capturing the top seed in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage through the playoffs.
With only 1:38 played in overtime, Alex Ovechkin fittingly scored his season high 42nd goal to ice the Hurricanes. Though the goal was challenged by the NHL situation room, the on-ice officials upheld the call. Video evidence appeared inconclusive, though the NHL wrote that the Capitals "entered the attacking zone zone legally prior to the goal"
The Caps return to practice on Thursday after an off day on Wednesday and will next host the Nashville Predators on Friday.