The Washington Capitals (49-23-8-106, first in Southeast, second in East) face the Tampa Bay Lightning (24-38-18-66, fifth in Southeast) needing only one point to clinch the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

A win over Tampa Bay tonight, or Florida on Saturday, would set the franchise mark for points in a season and tie the team's record for wins (50) in a season.

The Capitals have defeated Tampa Bay ten straight games and try to sweep the season series for the first time in nine years. Most recently, Washington beat Tampa at home 5-3 on Mar. 27.

The Lightning are the second worst team in the league, ahead of only the New York Islanders.

Washington maintains a four-point lead over the New Jersey Devils with two games to play, so any combination of a Caps point or Devils loss seals the second seed and home-ice advantage at least until the Conference Finals.

The Caps have won four of their last five games, averaging 4.8 goals per game in that stretch. A return of secondary scoring, from Tomas Fleischmann in particular, has been considerably helpful in the stretch run and a necessary component if the Caps want to go deep in this season's playoffs.

Tuesday night's victory over Atlanta was not particularly artful, but the result was what mattered.

"It was an ugly win, but it's OK," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we played as good as we had to play."

The Lightning know something about ugly right now, losing five in a row and 10 of their last 11 games.

It's been a miserable season for Tampa Bay, as they started poorly and fired coach Barry Melrose just 16 games into the season, and the team has been no better under current coach Rick Tocchet.

Tampa's injury list reads like a Russian novel, and All-star center Vincent Lecavalier underwent wrist surgery last week, ending his season and complicating the beginning of next season as well.

Washington will be without the services of Donald Brashear for the 13th straight game, and Tom Poti will rest his strained groin, a problem that has plagued him all season.

WAS: PP-2nd (25.2%, 83/329); PK-18th (80.6%, 74/381)
TBY: PP-19th (18.0%, 60/333); PK-25th (78.1%, 86/393)

WAS: G Brent Johnson (Hip-IR); LW Donald Brashear (Knee-IR); C Boyd Gordon (Finger-IR); RW Chris Clark (Wrist-IR); LW Quintin Laing (Spleen-Out); Tom Poti (Groin-Doubtful)

TBY: D Marek Malik (Lower body-Out); C Ryan Craig (Arm-Out); C Vincent Lecavalier (Wrist-Out); LW Ryan Malone (Hand-Questionable); D Josef Melichar (Lower body-Out); D Richard Petiot (Shoulder-Questionable); D Cory Murphy (Foot-Out); G Mike Smith (Concussion-IR); D Andrej Meszaros (Arm-IR); D Paul Ranger (Undisclosed-IR)