Thanks to a shootout victory on Saturday night over the Montreal Canadiens, coupled with a Buffalo Sabres loss in Toronto, the Washington Capitals control their own playoff destiny with three games remaining.
Two points ahead of the Sabres in the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, and two behind the Ottawa Senators for No. 7, Washington has won three of their last four, but they could be without Tomas Vokoun for the rest of the season, according to Chuck Gormley.
From CSN Washington:
The groin injury suffered by Vokoun in Thursday night's 3-2 shootout win over the Boston Bruins is worse than the one that sidelined him six straight games and likely will keep him out of the lineup for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, CSNwashington.com has learned.
Vokoun, 35, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals last summer. In 48 games with the Capitals Vokoun went 25-17-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Michal Neuvirth, who has started eight games for the Caps this month and relieved Vokoun after his injury against Boston on Thursday, is signed through next season, as is Braden Holtby. Vokoun will likely draw a richer contract over the summer than the $1.5 million he's making this season. Whether his next deal is with Washington or not is a question for GM George McPhee.
If it's Neuvirth's net now, he'll look to continue his play of late that's seen him win four of his last six starts, helping put the Caps in prime position for a playoff return.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy