Maybe, but there is a way to ponder this possibility without having folks resort to confining me in a jacket with long sleeves that buckle in the back.
In this NHL, with 32 intradivision games, it's all in the division play. Last year, the Caps were 11-14-7, the only sub-.500 club in the division (and that is even considering the SO/OT losses as plain old losses). I happen to think the rest of the division has come back to the pack, as it were, and the Caps are better.
Add to that the fact that the Caps were 5-2-3 in their last 10 divisional games last year -- a far cry from their hideous start to the year when they were pasted in back to back games, 15-4, with the season barely started. The Caps didn't even get a regulation win in the division until January 21st.
If the club can find a way to extend their late-season success over the entire season (I doubt they will, but let's start there), that would mean earning 42 standings points in the division over the season. They earned 29 last year. That gets them to 83 this year without any change in their out-of-division record from last year. It goes a long way to getting into the playoff hunt.
Again, I don't think the club will ultimately make the playoffs (the club really lacks depth and experience for that kind of run), but they could make for an interesting winter.