|Outlet||This Week||Last Week||What They're Saying|
|1||1||The Washington Capitals are still the top-ranked team in the NHL. But it was close.
The Caps barely beat out the surging Los Angeles Kings to hold onto the No. 1 spot, by vote of a Bleacher Report staff that included myself, Carol Schram, Jonathan Willis, Allan Mitchell, Luke Richardson and Alex Ovechkin.
Just kidding on that last panelist. Washington finished one point ahead of the Kings, who displaced the Dallas Stars in the No. 2 spot.
The criteria, as always, includes a mixture of strength of schedule, current injury situation and realistic expectations based on payroll.
We're right about at the midway point of the NHL season, so it'll be tougher for teams on the bottom to make big runs toward the top. But this is still a league of extreme parity, so it won't be all that surprising should it happen.(January 3)
|1||1||The Caps have followed up their nine-game winning streak with two straight losses to the last two teams in their division, Carolina and Columbus. It's the first time they've lost back-to-back games all season. (January 5)|
|4||1||When healthy, the Caps have shown they are the best team in the NHL. When healthy. Now without John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Jay Beagle, the Caps lost two in a row for the first time this season. (January 4)|
|1||1||This was tough. The Caps have wobbled slightly since having their nine-game winning streak snapped last week, going winless (0-1-1) in two. But they are the cream of the NHL with the league's top winning percentage and a lineup that is Stanley Cup-worthy from top to bottom, bottom to top. Watch for Alex Ovechkin's assault on 500 goals this week. He's at 496. (January 4)|
|2||1||Slight hiccup this week, plus the injury bug bit them. Having Jay Beagle out for six weeks might sting a bit. (January 4)|
|3||1||The Capitals snapped their first two-game losing streak of the season with a 3-2 win over Boston Tuesday night, but have yet to lose two straight in regulation. (January 6)|
|1||1||The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and defeated the Bruins 3-2 on Tuesday night despite Boston shutting their top line down. This team’s depth is outstanding. (January 6)|
Good: If Mike Richards works out, the Capitals will have stronger center depth, especially when Jay Beagle returns from his injury.
Not so good: Their defense is being tested without John Carlson and Brooks Orpik in the lineup. (January 8)
|1||1||Washington's winning percentage in 2015 came in at .699. The Capitals didn't lose back-to-back games once from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015. [Ed. note: not actually true.] Yeah.
|2||1||The Caps had their nine-game winning streak snapped in Carolina, then were knocked off in a shootout in Columbus, giving them back-to-back losses for first time this season. Have to think coach Barry Trotz will get a quick handle on the defensive lapses that led to both. It'll help to have blueliner John Carlson (lower body) back soon. Last week: 1-1-1 (January 5)|
|1||1||["Fixing the All-Star Rosters Edition"]
Fans pick: Alex Ovechkin, captain
NHL picks: Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom
Our pick: Holtby
Ovechkin should be at the All-Star Game, no doubt. But Holtby's performance has been bonkers: 1.93 GAA, 25 wins, .932 save percentage. The Capitals are 12-0-0 this season when leading after one period. That's because Holtby slams the door. (Evgeny Kusnetsov made a strong case for himself, too.) (January 7)
|3||2||A nine-game winning streak had the Capitals poised to take over top spot, but with John Carlson injured, there are enough concerns on the blueline that the ascension will have to hold off for at least this week.
Key Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower body), D John Carlson (lower body), C Jay Beagle (upper body). (January 4)
|-||1||(Last updated December 21)|
|1||1||The Capitals come at you in waves: Six players with double-digit goals and eight with at least 20 points. (January 4)|
Click on logos for links to full power rankings.