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ARLINGTON, Virginia (Reuters) - Coach Bruce Boudreau made it clear on Wednesday he would be keeping the Washington Capitals' feet firmly on the ground after their victory over Carolina.
A 4-1 win on Tuesday before a raucous crowd of more than 18,000 at Verizon Center lifted the Capitals into a tie with the Hurricanes for first place in the Southeast Division.
"We have to not think that we've won the Stanley Cup already," the first-year coach told reporters at practice. "Sometimes that happens to a team.
"You play an emotional game and they think they've won. We've got games against two opponents that would love nothing more than to beat our butts."
With two games to play, Washington could win the division and become the third seed in the Eastern Conference or get shut out of the playoffs altogether.
Even if the Capitals win their final two games, against Tampa Bay on Thursday and Florida on Saturday, they still have to rely on others to make the postseason.
If Carolina also wins its two remaining games, they will win the division by having more victories.
Capitals players can be forgiven if they are a little giddy, having spent most of the season in the lower end of the 15-team Eastern Conference before closing with a flurry.
They have won five straight and nine of their last 10.
"We're just trying to bring them down to earth," said Boudreau. "Nothing's over. Nothing's successful yet until, well, maybe Sunday at 6 o'clock before we know whether we know if we're in or we're out."
While most coaches claim they do not look at other teams play unless they are scouting, Boudreau admitted he would be watching with great interest on Wednesday night.
"Oh, I think the TV will be on," he said. "And I won't be watching Grey's Anatomy."
Editing by Trevor Huggins