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Capital achievement

Jose Theodore, Alex Ovechkin and the Caps clinched the Presidents' Trophy as the league's best regular season team. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jose Theodore, Alex Ovechkin and the Caps clinched the Presidents' Trophy as the league's best regular season team. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

If past Presidents’ precedent can be believed, there’s about a 30 percent chance the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup.

The Caps have clinched their first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history by posting more regular season points than any other team. Of the 23 previous clubs to enter the post-season with a political endorsement, seven went on to win the Cup.

The odds improve when you limit your analysis to the last 10 regular season champs, because of those squads, four (or, obviously, 40 percent) proved they had what it takes to rule the post-season, too.

Many believe Washington doesn’t have the goaltending to do that, but all it needs is more of what it’s been getting from Jose Theodore. The league MVP from 2002 has had a couple hiccups of late, but for the most part he’s provided more than adequate goaltending for a team that scores a league-leading 3.80 goals per game.

That formula worked during a successful presidential campaign and it’s almost time to find out if it jives in the playoffs, too.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Washington Capitals
1
51-15-12
6-1-3
Set new franchise marks with 51st win and 23rd road victory
2
San Jose Sharks
2
48-20-11
5-4-1
Entering the playoffs with an extremely healthy team
3
Nashville Predators
8
46-28-6
7-2-1
Just two regulation losses in their past 13 outings
4
Vancouver Canucks
5
48-27-4
5-4-1
Shane O'Brien says 'Shame on me' for forgetting how good life as a pro is
5
Chicago Blackhawks
7
49-22-7
5-4-1
Have clinched their first division title since winning the old Norris in 1992-93
6
Detroit Red Wings
4
41-24-14
7-1-2
Johan Franzen has nine points over his past six contests
7
Phoenix Coyotes
3
48-25-6
6-3-1
We're all about to find out fast how good this team actually is
8
Pittsburgh Penguins
6
45-26-7
5-3-2
Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin each post two points after returning to the lineup for Saturday's OT win over Atlanta
9
Ottawa Senators
11
43-31-5
6-4-0
Captain Daniel Alfredsson will play his 1,000th NHL game on Tuesday
10
Buffalo Sabres
9
43-25-10
7-3-0
Looks like Tim Connolly and Thomas Vanek will both miss the rest of the regular season with lower body injuries
11
New Jersey Devils
10
45-26-7
4-2-4
Ilya Kovalchuk returns to Atlanta on Tuesday as a Devil
12
Los Angeles Kings
12
44-27-7
4-4-2
Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002
13
Montreal Canadiens
14
39-32-8
5-3-2
Back-to-back shutouts from Jaroslav Halak solidifies Montreal's hold on a playoff spot
14
Boston Bruins
13
36-30-12
6-4-0
Finished second overall with 270 goals last year, but may not even hit 200 this season
15
New York Rangers
21
36-32-10
6-3-1
Have taken 11 of a possible 12 points in their past six games
16
Colorado Avalanche
17
42-29-7
3-6-1
Need to play like the team we saw in October for one more week
17
Calgary Flames
18
40-30-9
6-4-0
Probably need to run the table in their three remaining games
18
Philadelphia Flyers
16
39-34-6
3-6-1
Huge home-and-home with the Rangers to close out the season and likely decide who gets the eighth seed
19
Anaheim Ducks
23
38-31-9
7-2-1
Deadline pickup Curtis McElhinney has filled in brilliantly for injured starter Jonas Hiller, but it's too little, too late for the Ducks
20
Atlanta Thrashers
15
34-32-13
5-3-2
Got surprisingly productive seasons from both Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov
21
St. Louis Blues
19
38-31-9
6-4-0
This year may have been a step back, but the future still looks pretty good in St. Louis
22
Dallas Stars
20
35-30-14
5-4-1
Could Mike Modano go from player to part owner of the Stars, along with Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull?
23
Carolina Hurricanes
24
33-36-10
5-3-2
Brandon Sutter could become the first player since Sergei Berezin in 1999-2000 to finish the season with more than 20 goals and just two penalty minutes. The downside is if he doesn't get more penalty minutes next year he might be kicked out of his family.
24
New York Islanders
26
33-35-10
6-3-1
Blake Comeau has two points in each of his past three contests
25
Columbus Blue Jackets
27
32-34-13
5-3-2
Antoine Vermette's strong play has been one bright spot this year
26
Toronto Maple Leafs
22
29-36-14
6-2-2
Dion Phaneuf still hasn't scored in 23 games as a Maple Leaf
27
Minnesota Wild
25
37-35-7
3-6-1
Next year will be a big one for Brent Burns after two injury-ravaged campaigns
28
Florida Panthers
28
31-35-12
3-5-2
Will settle the issue of who is the state of Florida's worst team when they close the season with a home-and-home versus Tampa
29
Tampa Bay Lightning
29
31-35-12
3-7-0
Late-season nosedive means Bolts could draft as high as No. 2 overall for the third straight year
30
Edmonton Oilers
30
24-46-8
3-6-1
Could help Calgary with a win over Colorado on Wednesday; maybe Oilers fans want them to lose that one?

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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