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Power Rankings: Capitals will clinch Presidents' Trophy, but it's not their goal

Ken Campbell
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Power Rankings: Capitals will clinch Presidents' Trophy, but it's not their goal

Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin.

Author: Rob Car/Getty Images

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Power Rankings: Capitals will clinch Presidents' Trophy, but it's not their goal

Ken Campbell
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The Capitals remain No. 1 in the final regular-season power rankings of the season. But they will only be measured on their post-season success.

The Washington Capitals could clinch their second straight Presidents’ Trophy as early as Wednesday night. If not, they’ll almost certainly do it soon after. All of that and about 14 bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

There will be no rejoicing of any consequence once the Capitals secure first place overall and home-ice advantage through the playoffs. Because if the Capitals team picture again this season includes the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup isn’t sitting beside it, this season will have been considered a complete failure.

That’s life at the top, which is exactly where the Capitals find themselves in the last regular-season installment of THN.com’s Power Rankings. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.):

THE CREAM OF THE CROP

1. Washington Capitals (1)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (9)
3. Montreal Canadiens (6)
4. Boston Bruins (13)
5. Anaheim Ducks (2)
6. Edmonton Oilers (3)
7. Chicago Blackhawks (8)
8. Minnesota Wild (20)
9. St. Louis Blues (5)
10. Winnipeg Jets (19)

Trade deadline acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk was finally credited with his first goal as a Capital when he scored on the power play in a 4-1 win over Toronto Tuesday night….Defenseman Trevor Daley, who has missed six weeks with knee surgery, is practicing with the Penguins and hopes to get back before the end of the regular season this weekend. They’ll need him with the news that Kris Letang is out through the playoffs…The Canadiens are 1-1-1 and have been outscored 10-8 in regulation time against the New York Rangers, who will be their first-round opponent…Patrice Bergeron went 17-0 in the faceoff circle and Brad Marchand went 1-0 in hitting opponents in the privates as the Bruins beat Tampa 4-0 to secure a playoff spot Tuesday night…If the Ducks face Calgary in the first round, they’ll do so knowing they’ve defeated the Flames 25 straight times. That’s an NHL record for most consecutive wins by one opponent over another…The Oilers gave up six goals against Los Angeles Tuesday night, the same number as they had given up in their previous four games combined…The Blackhawks had nothing to play for and gave up 51 shots and two shorthanded goals and blew a three-goal lead to the worst team in the league Tuesday night…With two games left, it looks as though the Wild has settled on a top line of Eric Staal between Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise…Jori Lehtera was back in the lineup for the Blues Tuesday night after missing three weeks with a concussion…The Jets wish they were in the playoffs and wish they were playing St. Louis. They’re 5-0-0 against the Blues this season and have outscored them 21-10.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE

11. New York Rangers (17)
12. San Jose Sharks (16)
13. New York Islanders (21)
14. Ottawa Senators (14)
15. Columbus Blue Jackets (4)
16. Toronto Maple Leafs (12)
17. Nashville Predators (15)
18. Calgary Flames (11)
19. Los Angeles Kings (24)
20. Tampa Bay Lightning (7)

Prized free-agent signing Jimmy Vesey has one goal in his past 21 games and was a healthy scratch for the Rangers 4-3 win over Philadelphia on the weekend…Already reeling, the Sharks will have to muddle along without Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, their top two centers, for the time being at least…Five points out of a playoff spot with three games to go and no John Tavares. The Islanders have easily been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season…A couple of months ago, the Norris Trophy seemed giftwrapped for Brent Burns. But now it would be a surprise if Senators superstar Erik Karlsson doesn’t pick up his third career Norris, and very serious consideration for the Hart Trophy, too…Since the Blue Jackets clinched a playoff spot, they’re 2-4-2 and have scored just eight goals for an average of 1.5 per game…The Leafs lost center Brian Boyle with an upper-body injury in their 4-1 loss to Washington Tuesday night…The Predators were 24-9-8 at home this season and, just as impressive, sold out every game at the Bridgestone Arena this season…Flames president Ken King said the team would have no choice but to move if they don’t get a new arena. And, surprise, surprise, they want taxpayer money to help them do it…The Kings got their first six-goal game in almost two months in a win over Edmonton Tuesday night…The Lightning still haven’t shut down Steven Stamkos for the season, but will if they lose to Toronto Thursday night.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE

21. Philadelphia Flyers (18)
22. Dallas Stars (26)
23. Detroit Red Wings (22)
24. New Jersey Devils (28)
25. Buffalo Sabres (23)
26. Carolina Hurricanes (10)
27. Florida Panthers (25)
28. Arizona Coyotes (29)
29. Colorado Avalanche (30)
30. Vancouver Canucks (27)

Defenseman Samuel Morin, the Flyers first-round pick in 2013, had seven hits in his NHL debut and looked good in a pairing with Shayne Gostisbehere…Defenseman Julius Honka’s first career goal was a big one, the overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over Arizona Tuesday night…After an impressive two-game trial, top prospect Evgeny Svechnikov was sent back to the minors by the Red Wings. He scored the shootout winner of Ottawa Monday night…Patrik Elias, one of the franchise’s all-time great players, will take part in the pre-game warm-up prior to the Devils last home game of the season, Saturday against the Islanders…Kyle Okposo is expected to miss the Sabres final three games of the season with an undisclosed, and seemingly undiagnosed, illness. “Very, as a coach and a person, concerned for him and his situation,” said Sabres coach Dan Bylsma…Two major reasons why the Hurricanes missed the playoffs again: They were a combined 1-5-2 against New Jersey and Colorado this season and they were 12-19-9 on the road…Jaromir Jagr said he will wait until the season ends to decide on his future, but the Panthers have already decided Tom Rowe will not be back as coach…Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was given permission to miss the last three games of the season to deal with the death of his mother in Sweden…Before scoring a goal and adding two assists in an overtime win over Chicago Tuesday night, Matt Duchene of the Avalanche had one goal in his previous 21 games…Big game for the Canucks Thursday night in Glendale. Loser of that game stands an excellent chance of finishing 29th and having a better seeding in the draft lottery.

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Power Rankings: Capitals will clinch Presidents' Trophy, but it's not their goal