From Elias Sports Bureau
CAPITALS WIN THE DIVISION AFTER LEAN YEARS
The Capitals, who finished in last place in the Southeast Division each of the past three seasons (by 16, 15 and 16 points), clinched first place in the division this season with a 3-1 win over the Panthers on Saturday night. Washington is the second team in NHL history to finish a season in first place in its division immediately after three (or more) consecutive last-place finishes: the Hamilton Tigers finished in last place in a four-team NHL each season from 1920-21 through 1923-24, then finished in first place in 1924-25 in a six-team NHL.
On the other hand, from the aforementioned Kevin Paul Dupont piece:
The Hurricanes outshot the Panthers by a whopping 46-17 Friday night and had all nine power plays (2 for 9) over the 60 minutes. Final score: Panthers, 4-3, which left the ‘Canes praying last night that the Panthers would do the same kind of damage in Washington and keep the Capitals from stealing their playoff spot. Florida didn’t, and the ‘Canes are a DNQ for a second straight season after winning the Stanley Cup. Of the 29 other teams in the league today, only Toronto has done that, first after winning the Cup in 1918 (DNQ in ’19 and ’20), then again after winning in 1922 (DNQ in ’23 and ’24).