ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - The Washington Capitals have decided it would be nice to finish first, after all.

The Capitals are tied with Philadelphia atop the Eastern Conference with three games to play. Not long ago, coach Bruce Boudreau and his players weren't putting a high priority on repeating as the conference regular season champs, but the competitive juices are kicking in now that there's a realistic chance.

The Capitals lost in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 1 seed a year ago. Hockey players are known to be superstitious, but right wing Matt Bradley put things in context Monday: "What are you going to do? Are you going to try to finish second?"

Washington's next game is Tuesday at Toronto.