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Power Rankings: Capitals cruising thanks to dominance on home ice

Ken Campbell
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Power Rankings: Capitals cruising thanks to dominance on home ice

Nicklas Backstrom Image by: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

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Power Rankings: Capitals cruising thanks to dominance on home ice

Ken Campbell
By:

Capitals fans have had no problem rocking the red as its been more than a month since they've watched their team lose at home, and their dominance at the Capital One Arena has Washington atop this week's Power Rankings.

The last time the Washington Capitals lost at the Capital One Arena – yes, that’s what they’re calling it these days - Bitcoins were worth less than $10,000. That was 40 days and 11 games ago. They’ve picked up points in their past six games and have won their past five in a row, with four of those wins coming on home ice.

So it should come as no surprise that, with the bye week already in full swing or looming for a good number of teams, the Capitals find themselves atop thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings.

And as always, regardless of what team you support, I hate your favorite team and I hate you. I also love the team that you hate. Second, these rankings are subjective. Third, we base our rankings heavily on recent performance and we ask one question when we do the rankings: If you were playing that night, which team would you least like to face? And while we do take the standings into account, if we wanted their rankings to reflect where they are in the standings, we’d, you know, just run the standings. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.):

THE CREAM OF THE CROP
1. Washington Capitals (3)
2. Winnipeg Jets (7)
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
4. Vegas Golden Knights (1)
5. Colorado Avalanche (10)
6. Boston Bruins (5)
7. Nashville Predators (9)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (12)
9. Calgary Flames (23)
10. Dallas Stars (15)

Nicklas Backstrom has really turned it on of late with two goals and eight points in his past four games… It’s “cold and dark” in Winnipeg these days, but the Jets are red-hot…After scoring four goals and nine points in his first 22 games, Tyler Johnson has 12 goals and 25 points in his past 20…The Knights have lost just once in regulation since Dec. 3, going 13-1-1 in that time span…If the Avs make the playoffs this season, Nathan MacKinnon should be a Hart Trophy finalist…The Bruins have scored at least five goals in five of their past six games…The Predators 2-1 win over Edmonton Tuesday night was their 11th straight against the Oilers…Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 77 of 81 shots (.951 save percentage) in back-to-back wins over Florida and Toronto…Will Jaromir Jagr be forced to retire a mere 34 games short of Gordie Howe’s all-time games played record?...Guess who the leading scorer is among NHL defensemen. Anyone? Anyone? It’s John Klingberg.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE
11. Philadelphia Flyers (25)
12. Toronto Maple Leafs (16)
13. New Jersey Devils (11)
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (19)
15. St. Louis Blues (6)
16. New York Rangers (13)
17. Los Angeles Kings (4)
18. San Jose Sharks (14)
19. Chicago Blackhawks (17)
20. Montreal Canadiens (31)

Weird. The Flyers won 10 games in a row and failed to make the playoffs last season. They lost 10 games in a row and might make the playoffs this season…The Leafs have given up a league-high 1,491 shots this season…The Devils have already scored more shorthanded goals this season (seven) than they did all last season (six)…The Penguins have a new Sid and the Kids line, Crosby between Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon…Time to start worrying? Jake Allen is 1-8-0 in his past nine starts and was pulled in a 7-4 loss to Florida Tuesday…The Rangers hope the bye week means Kevin Hayes won’t miss any games after leaving Sunday’s loss to Vegas due to a hit from Nate Schmidt…If Kings defenseman Drew Doughty plays in the second half of the season the way he did in the first, he will win his second career Norris Trophy and his second in three years this season. Bank on it…The Sharks were 14-0-0 going into the third period until their third-period meltdown led to a 6-5 overtime loss to Ottawa last Friday...With six years left on a deal that carries a $6.9 million cap hit, Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks 8-2 win over Ottawa Tuesday night. Duncan Keith is the only Hawks defenseman who hasn’t been a healthy scratch this season…Well, this is great. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said earlier this week that Jonathan Drouin, for whom he traded future stud defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, is playing center only by default.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE
21. Anaheim Ducks (6)
22. Florida Panthers (22)
23. New York Islanders (24)
24. Minnesota Wild (18)
25. Detroit Red Wings (21)
26. Carolina Hurricanes (20)
27. Ottawa Senators (28)
28. Edmonton Oilers (26)
29. Vancouver Canucks (29)
30. Arizona Coyotes (30)
31. Buffalo Sabres (27)

Corey Perry returned to the Ducks lineup Saturday after missing 11 games with a knee injury and he was the usual burr under everyone’s saddle…Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo has missed 15 games with an injury and there’s no return in sight…If any team needed a victory in the worst way, it was the Islanders, who snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-4 shootout win over New Jersey on the weekend…Nino Niederreiter is expected to miss the next week with a lower-body injury…After three impressive outings, the Red Wings lost two straight and gave up a total of 12 goals…Hurricanes right winger Lee Stempniak has been activated from injured reserve and could make his season debut this weekend…The Senators have just six wins in 25 games since their overseas trip to Sweden…The Edmonton Oilers are a mess. That’s all we’ve got…Canucks super rookie Brock Boeser has cooled off a tad of late with just a goal and an assist in his past five, all Canuck losses…When you have too few NHL-caliber players and too many young players in roles for which they’re not ready, you have to go out and get veterans such as Freddie Hamilton. And that’s what the Coyotes did last week…In their first home game in almost three weeks, the Sabres gave up a seven-spot against Winnipeg Tuesday night.

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Power Rankings: Capitals cruising thanks to dominance on home ice