|Outlet||This Week||Last Week||What They're Saying|
Washington is back where it belongs: first place in these rankings. The Capitals did fall by a 4-3 score in Dallas on Saturday, but that loss brought an end to a run of five consecutive wins.
With a seven-point lead on the Stars and two games in hand, the Caps are running away with the race for first overall in the league. Their plus-56 goal differential basically matches the total of second-place Dallas and third-place Chicago combined (plus-58).
By the numbers
The Capitals have an abundance of strengths, which makes them harder to beat because even when there's a slump in one area, they have the ability to cover it in others.
Since January 9, goaltender Braden Holtby—who has been extremely good for the vast majority of the year—has a mediocre 0.904 save percentage. His record over that span, however, is 9-2-1.(February 15)
|1||1||The Capitals reached 40 wins faster than any team in NHL history. Even if aided by three shootout wins (which didn't exist prior to 2005-06), it is a stunning accomplishment in today's NHL. (February 16)|
|2||3||The Caps have been out-shot in five of their last six games and may be relying a bit too much on Braden Holtby to keep them in games after some slow starts. The thing is there just aren't many teams out there with enough talent to take advantage as the Caps have still won five of their last six. (February 15)|
|1||2||The Caps rallied furiously but just fell short Saturday night against the Stars. It's so rare to see them lose. It's a potential Stanley Cup finals preview Tuesday night when the Kings visit. (February 15)|
|1||1||After two periods, the Capitals found themselves down 4-0 to the Dallas Stars. With just a minute remaining in the third, Washington had Dallas on their heels in a 4-3 game, and Tom Wilson rang one off the post. At any given moment, the Capitals can turn it on and light a team up, they just can’t take a period or two off, or it’ll cost them. (February 15)|
|3||1||After missing 40 games with an injury, defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the lineup and contributed an assist in the Caps 2-1 win over Los Angeles Tuesday night. (February 17)|
|1||1||Washington still has the league’s best record and goal differential. In fact, the Capitals are on pace for the fourth-most points in league history. (February 17)|
Hit: Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has 20 points, including 17 assists, and forward Andre Burakovsky has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the past 14 games. The Capitals are 10-3-1 in that stretch.
Miss: Washington's power play is 3-for-33 in the past nine games, but it did score in three straight games before going 0-for-5 against Los Angeles on Tuesday. (February 19)
|1||1||The unflinching Caps passed only one of their two tests against Stanley Cup contenders from the West this week, but remain on pace to finish with the most points in a season since the 1995-96 Red Wings. (February 17)|
|1||2||ISo the Caps finally lost their tenth game of the season in regulation. They became the last team to do so ... more than a month after Dallas became the 29th team to hit the mark. As frustrating as that 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Stars was, it serves to point out how consistently excellent Washington has been this season. Last week: 2-1-0 (February 16)|
|1||1||[Trade Deadline Needs Edition] With 41 wins, the Capitals tied an NHL record for most victories through 55 games. The Caps may look to make a small addition but nothing to upset the chemistry of a rolling club. Renting a depth defenceman (Roman Polak?) or a more proven backup goaltender for Braden Holtby (James Reimer?) could be an option, but don't be surprised if they stand pat. (February 18)|
|1||1||The Capitals continue to roll along at the top of the league and welcome back D Brooks Orpik after three months on the sidelines. This season's emergence of young forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky leaves Washington with few needs -- maybe a depth addition or two -- heading towards the trade deadline.
Key Injuries: C Jay Beagle (upper body).(February 17)
|1||1||Alex Ovechkin leads the league with 35 goals and is on pace to record at least 50 for the seventh season. (February 15)|
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