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Capitals Power Rankings Roundup: Week 15

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Our weekly temperature-taking of the mainstream media's opinions on the Washington Capitals

Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
Outlet This Week Last Week What They're Saying
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1 1 Big picture

The Capitals probably don't even worry about the Metropolitan Division standings these days given the 18-point lead they have on both the Rangers and Islanders. Dallas' slip has left them with a five-point lead on the Stars for first in the league too. But still, they've won four in a row because that's what they do.

By the numbers

Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th and 501st goals on Sunday against Ottawa, just one night after he potted his 498th and 499th against the Rangers. That puts him 42nd all time, and if he keeps scoring at the pace he has this season, he could move up another 10 spots before the season ends. Sportsnet reported he's the fifth-fastest player to reach the plateau, and he didn't have the luxury of playing in the 1980s. (January 11)
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1 1 The Caps continue to pull away from the rest of the pack. They're 10 points clear of any team in the East thanks to a 15-2-1 run since the beginning of December. They're ridiculous right now. (January 12)
1 4 Injuries, suspensions, none of it matters as Washington continues to roll. Even with the Caps missing John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Marcus Johansson, they just keep right on winning. (January 11)
1 1 So much to like about the NHL's best team. Even with key regulars Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, Jay Beagle and Marcus Johansson injured or suspended, Alex Ovechkin (Mr. 501), Evgeny Kuznetsov, Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom and Justin Williams keep the Caps rolling. They are 13-2-3 in one-goal games, the top winning percentage in the NHL. (January 4)
1 2 The Capitals are off to one of the best starts the NHL has ever seen and their wins are always thrilling. This week they had an overtime thriller and an Ovechkin milestone. (January 4)
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3 3 There is no rush to get Mike Richards into the lineup. Coach Barry Trotz said his goal is to deploy Richards sometime before the all-star break…Keep the games against the Pacific Division coming. (January 13)
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1 1 A four-game win streak and an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games has the Caps atop my power rankings another week. Did I mention Alexander Ovechkin leads the league in goals scored? (January 13)
1 1 Good: The defense is holding up without Brooks Orpik and John Carlson because Nate Schmidt, Dmitry Orlov, Aaron Ness and Taylor Chorney generally have played well in elevated roles.

Not so good: Why nitpick?
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1 1 Five hundred goals and some Powerball tickets. Just another few days in the life of Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's brightest star. (January 13)
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2 2 .The Caps are humming again after a brief stumble, winning four straight to take over top spot in the league. Congrats to Alex Ovechkin, who scored five goals on the week, including the 500th of his career. While the milestone generated headlines, he really deserves acclaim for his commitment to playing a more complete game. Ovi has become a more effective player this season than at any point in his illustrious career. Last week: 3-0-0 (January 12)
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- 2 (Last updated January 4)
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1 1 [Big Bargain Players Edition] The NHL-leading Capitals' top producer outside of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kusnetsov, 23, has another year at $3 million. Top-three forward making bottom-six money. (Note: If new guy Mike Richards can make an impact in the playoffs, his pro-rated $1-million price tag could become the best value.) (January 13)
1 3 One regulation loss in the past 15 games is enough for the Capitals to finally take over top spot for the first time this season. It's great that Alex Ovechkin can be recognized as a great goal-scorer, now that he has 501, instead of just 499, but he's on a roll (12 goals in 12 games) right now.

Key Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower body), D John Carlson (lower body), C Jay Beagle (upper body). (January 11)
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- 1 (Last updated January 4)

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