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Capitals at Blues preview: another must-win

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Will the Metropolitan Division winning Caps slack off today?

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Caps have clinched the Metropolitan Division yet again with their 3-1 win over the Penguins yesterday. So, between this being the second end of a back to back and the division clinch, maybe - just maybe - the Capitals will take their foot off of the gas tonight.

The Blues need a bounce-back win in the worst way. Colorado snagged a point against Anaheim last night, and the Blues’ 6-0 loss against the Conference-worst Coyotes was mortifying. Washington is 8-2-0 in their last ten, while the Blues are 7-2-1 - both teams are pretty hot right now, but only one of the two is teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs. Somehow, despite the massive disparity between the teams’ two situations, the Caps have won only three more games than the Blues. One of those games was a 4-3 overtime victory against St. Louis back on January 7th.

Scottie Upshall is done for the foreseeable future, as he was knocked out of Friday night’s game with a left-kidney laceration. The Blues have won four straight games at home, so maybe Upshall’s injury won’t be that much of a hinderance as the team finishes up the regular season tonight and Wednesday night. The Blues are more than capable of going toe to toe with the Capitals, but tonight an overtime loss won’t cut it (unless the Avs lose to the Kings, but wouldn’t we rather just have a win?).

Vladimir Tarasenko has seven points in his last six games, and six of those points are goals. If the Blues make it past the Caps tonight and into the playoffs, a good deal of credit goes to Tarasenko and his willpower.

Blues’ single-game playoff tickets go on sale this Friday. A win tonight and a win on Wednesday would prevent buying those from being a risk.