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The Southeast This Week

The Lightning's slumping ways continue. 

The Bolts lost three of four games this week, and now sit five points back of the streaking Capitals for first place in the division.  On top of that, the Montreal Canadiens have now firmly planted themselves in our rearview mirror, sitting just two points back for fifth place in the conference. 

Playoff seeding is now becoming more and more a forethought, but we'll discuss that more on Thursday with our Question of the Week. 

We'll look at stories from the rest of the division after the jump.

Atlanta Thrashers: Huge week for the Thrash.  By gaining points in every game this week, and winning two of three, they were able to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.  Odds would have it that that streak will continue as their next two games are against the same opponents as their last two games.   That's right, after ending the week with the New Jersey Devils at home, and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly, they'll now begin their week with the Devils in Jersey, and the Flyers at home.  The NHL schedule makers really need a raise.  Really.

Carolina Hurricanes:  The Canes have been dreadful lately - losers of four in a row, and only mustering seven goals during that span.  Are they running out of gas?

Florida Panthers:  The Panthers played much better this week, winning two of three, beating the Chicago Blackhawks and the Lightning.  The team seems to have gotten a spark since the deadline, and some of the older guys in the room are pretty excited.

Washington Capitals:  The Caps are starting to play like, ahem, the Caps.  And it's pretty scary.  They are 9-1-0 in their last ten games, and winners of eight (8!) in a row.  They now sit just one point behind the Flyers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Not that it seems to be hurting anything, but Mike Green is still out, and has now been placed on IR.  If he comes back for the playoff run completely healthy, well, let's just say that the Caps might finally shake themselves of that "Choker" label. 

Unrelated (maybe not): Braden Holtby was named First Star of the week, and why not?  105 minutes of shutout hockey to start the week, four wins, and a 1.05 Goals Against Average.  He's got my vote.

Important Matchups: Atlanta-all of them, Carolina-all of them, Capitals at Detroit Red Wings (Wednesday 3/16), Lightning at Canadiens (Thursday, 3/17).