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Capitals Power Rankings Roundup: Week 21

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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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1 1 Big picture

What a season it's been. This team has an honest-to-goodness shot at tying the all-time NHL record for most wins in a season (62). Of course, Cup-starved Caps fans would trade that record in for the silver chalice, which has eluded the franchise since it joined the league in 1974.

The worry right now in Washington—and there is always worry among Caps fans—is boredom. Can the Caps, so far ahead of the field for the top spot in the East, stay sharp in the final couple of months? To that end, coach Barry Trotz is experimenting with his lines in a move to give the players some variety.

Trotz, for example, moved Alex Ovechkin onto a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov instead of his usual center, Nicklas Backstrom. He then sounded like Dr. Phil in explaining why.

"Just sometimes it’s a little refreshing," Trotz told the Washington Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan. "Sometimes it’s like a marriage. You got a line that’s like a marriage. Sometimes the love goes out of the marriage a little bit. You get it separated a little bit. You know, you get a little vacation from each other."

By the numbers

Seven hundred ninety-eight games. That's how long it took for Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik to score a game-winning goal.

It happened against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Orpik finally scoring the deciding goal in a win.(February 22)
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1 1 The Caps are the team everyone is chasing right now and it seems unlikely anyone will catch up. The President's Trophy and home ice throughout the playoffs seems nearly a sure thing. (February 23)
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1 2 A night off for Braden Holtby against the Kings? A late game-tying goal for the Islanders? A third period deficit against the Devils? None of it matters to the Caps who keep finding ways to win. (February 22)
1 1 Oh, baby, next Sunday's matinee matchup at Chicago has potential Stanley Cup finals preview written all over it. The rolling Caps have to play the Coyotes, Canadiens and Wild before that, though. (February 22)
1 1 When it is Brooks Orpik who scores a game-winning goal, you know the Capitals are absolutely humming. (February 22)
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1 3 Considering the fact that the Washington Capitals have to clear cap space to get Jay Beagle back in the lineup, they’d have a lot of work to do to get their hands on Andrew Ladd before the trade deadline.

The Capitals, among a lot of other contenders, have been mentioned as a possible destination for Ladd. And even though the Capitals are humming along nicely, how would they look going into the playoffs with a battle-proven Stanley Cup winner who has a penchant for scoring big goals?

Ladd would tick off all the boxes the Capitals have when it comes to their playoff needs. He’d look great in that lineup, if only GM Brian MacLellan could find a way to do it. (February 24)
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1 1 The Capitals, who’ve won four consecutive games and nine of their last 10, acquired more blue line depth by trading for Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber on Tuesday. It only cost Washington a 2017 third-round draft pick. (February 24)
1 1 Hit: Brooks Orpik played in his 800th game Wednesday, which is a milestone for him and great news for the Capitals because it means one of their most important defensemen is back in the lineup. It was his fifth game since returning from a 40-game absence because of an injury.

Miss: It wasn't a good night against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, but it still was just their third loss in 12 games this month.

Need: None. (February 25)
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1 1 The Capitals became the fastest team to 44 wins in NHL history on Monday. With a matchup against the Canadiens on Wednesday, something tells us they'll be the fastest team to hit the 45-win mark too. (February 24)
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2 1 It might seem unfair to drop a team that’s won four in a row and is 11-2-1 in its past 14, but there’s no denying what the Ducks have accomplished, either. So let’s focus on the positive: How about that penalty kill? A perfect six for six in Monday’s 3–2 win over the Coyotes to go 12 for 12 on the week. Mike Richards and Brooks Laich are turning into one of the top forward duos in the league, just in time for the stretch run. Last week: 4-0-0 (February 23)
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- 1 [Trade Deadline Needs Edition] W (Last updated February 18)
- 1 s

Key Injuries: C Jay Beagle (upper body).(Last updated February 17)
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- 1 (Last updated February 15)

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