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Capitals Power Rankings Roundup: Week 17

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

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Outlet This Week Last Week What They're Saying
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The Washington Capitals have a three-point lead on Chicago for the Presidents' Trophy and also enjoy the advantage of having four games in hand. They're in a good position to finish first overall in the league when all is said and done. The East is basically a given at this point, as Washington sits 12 points ahead of the second-place Florida Panthers.

By the numbers

Washington's power play is clicking at 27.1 percent—the league's best number. The club has also surrendered only two shorthanded goals against this season—one of the NHL's better marks. The top unit, built around Alex Ovechkin's shot, has been lethal, but the Capitals also have a sneakily effective second unit.

To illustrate, Washington has nine skaters with at least seven power-play points this year. Each first-unit power play around the NHL consists of five players, meaning there are 150 first-unit quality skaters in the league (five players multiplied by 30 teams). A player with seven power-play points is currently tied for 133rd in NHL scoring, meaning Washington has nine skaters scoring at a first-unit power-play level. (January 25)
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1 1 The only thing that's been able to slow the Caps down this year is snow. The severe winter storm postponed a pair of games, but that just means a longer break for the team with a silly plus-55 goal differential. (January 26)
1 2 Snow seems to be about the only thing that can stop the Caps these days. These unexpected snow days could be a blessing in disguise as it gives a break for Braden Holtby and a chance to stay hydrated. (January 25)
1 2 The Capitals got a snow weekend off but they're still the standard-bearers in the NHL. Wouldn't it be nice to see Evgeny Kuznetsov at the All-Star Game? Just saying. (January 25)
1 1 With two games postponed due to Winter Storm Jonas, the Capitals had an unexpected week-long break. That allowed the Chicago Blackhawks, the team with the second-most points, to sneak within three points of the Caps for the top spot in the NHL. The Blackhawks have played six more games than Washington. (January 25)
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2 2 After digging themselves out of a blizzard, the Capitals played Wednesday night in what will have been their only action in a span of almost two weeks. (January 28)
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1 1 Washington is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games and leads the league with an astounding plus-55 goal differential. (January 27)
1 1 Good: They have a 15-point lead in the Metropolitan Division. The biggest lead any team had at the All-Star break last season was the Anaheim Ducks' eight-point lead in the Pacific Division.

Not so good: Alex Ovechkin will not participate in All-Star Weekend because of a nagging lower-body injury. Per NHL rules, he isn't eligible to play in Washington's game on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. (January 29)
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1 1 The Caps haven't played a game since our last edition thanks to the blizzard along the East Coast, so it would be unfair of us to move them down.

Alex Ovechkin's handiwork with a snowblower keeps Washington in the top spot this week. (January 27)
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1 2 he record-setting snowstorm curtailed their week, but not before the Caps improved their January mark to 7-1-1 with a win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Evgeny Kuznetsov had four apples in that one, and now leads the league with 28 primary assists. Explain to me why he is not an All-Star. Last week: 1-0-0 (January 26)
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3 2 (January 26)
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1 2 [Child-Held Sign Ideas Edition] "The only thing better than a Snow Day is a not-cancelled Caps game!" (January 28)
1 1 Evgeny Kuznetsov's quantum leap forward this season (48 points in 46 games after 37 points in 80 games last season) has made the Capitals nearly impossible for opponents to get favourable matchups with Washington's top two scoring lines.

Key Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower body), D John Carlson (lower body), C Jay Beagle (upper body). (January 25)
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- 1 (Last updated January 18)

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