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Power Rankings: Holtby and Capitals putting together a season for the ages

Ken Campbell
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Ryan Getzlaf (left) and Braden Holtby (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Power Rankings: Holtby and Capitals putting together a season for the ages

Ken Campbell
By:

The Washington Capitals are on pace to record the league's highest point total and largest margin of victory for the Presidents' Trophy in 20 years. But will it be enough to get them their first Stanley Cup?

Just how dominant have the Washington Capitals been this season? Well, consider the fact that goalie Braden Holtby has 41 wins this season. That total is more than any other team with the exception of the Chicago Blackhawks, who are tied with Holtby’s total.

The Capitals are on pace to finish the season with 127 points and with the Blackhawks and Dallas Stars on pace to finish with 106 each, the Capitals point total and margin of victory for the Presidents' Trophy would be the highest recorded in exactly 20 years. The last time a team was this dominant in the regular season was 1995-96, when the Detroit Red Wings finished with 131 points, 27 ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

And by virtue of the fact that they knocked off the league’s hottest team, albeit by a razor-thin margin in a shootout, the Capitals find themselves perched atop thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings once again. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

THE CREAM OF THE CROP
1. Washington Capitals (4)
2. Anaheim Ducks (1)
3. New York Islanders (10)
4. Nashville Predators (3)
5. St. Louis Blues (7)
6. Boston Bruins (12)
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
8. New York Rangers (5)
9. Chicago Blackhawks (6)
10. Dallas Stars (11)

In four games together, the Capitals fourth line of Mike Richards between Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik has an absurd 79.1 percent Corsi rating…With their 11-game streak with at least a point, the Ducks went a full month without losing one game in regulation…The Islanders are in the midst of a brutal road stretch. Their 2-1 win over Pittsburgh was their first time at home in eight games before going back on the road for five of their next six…With a 4-2 win over Winnipeg Tuesday night, the Predators extended their franchise-record point streak to 13 games…Injured Alex Steen and Brian Elliott both practiced for the first time since their late February injuries, but both are still at least a couple of weeks away from returning…Claude Julien on becoming the Bruins winningest coach with a 5-4 overtime win over Florida Monday night: “The fact that I’ve avoided being fired for the last nine years helped (me) get that many wins here.”…Jonathan Drouin will get a chance to showcase himself in the AHL when Syracuse plays three games in three nights this weekend…The Rangers have not lost consecutive games in 2016. The last time they did it was Dec. 18 and 20, a span of 32 games…Corey Crawford has allowed just seven goals in his past four games and is on pace to play more games this season than any other in his career…Jason Spezza needs two more points to hit the 800-mark for his career.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE
11. San Jose Sharks (9)
12. Florida Panthers (8)
13. Los Angeles Kings (13)
14. Philadelphia Flyers (15)
15. Pittsburgh Penguins (17)
16. Minnesota Wild (16)
17. Detroit Red Wings (14)
18. Colorado Avalanche (20)
19. Carolina Hurricanes (18)
20. Montreal Canadiens (24)

James Reimer picked up his first win as a Shark in San Jose’s 3-0 win over Edmonton Tuesday night. The win gives him a 5-0-0 career record against the Oilers…Since the trade deadline when the Panthers supposedly loaded up, they’ve won just one of six games…The Kings might want to avoid San Jose in the first round, since they’re 1-3-0 against the Sharks this season with one game left to play…The Flyers were 5-1-0 on their six-game home stand and moved to within two points of the last playoff spot…Marc-Andre Fleury’s next victory will be his 350th, making him the 20th goalie in NHL history to hit the milestone…With the Wild in the battle of their lives for a playoff spot, it’s safe to say they’d welcome the prospect of the Devan Dubnyk they had last season stepping forward right about now…Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was perplexed by the lack of urgency with which his team played Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to Columbus…Semyon Varlamov looked sharp in stopping 37 shots in a 3-1 win over Arizona Monday night after briefly losing his No. 1 spot to Calvin PickardJeff Skinner has four goals and six points in his past four games…If Alex Galchenyuk has not proven he’s the No. 1 centerman on this team with his play of late, he never will.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE
21. Columbus Blue Jackets (22)
22. Ottawa Senators (19)
23. Buffalo Sabres (26)
24. Edmonton Oilers (23)
25. Vancouver Canucks (25)
26. Calgary Flames (28)
27. Winnipeg Jets (27)
28. New Jersey Devils (21)
29. Arizona Coyotes (29)
30. Toronto Maple Leafs (30)

The Blue Jackets have suddenly become a scoring machine, finding the back of the net at least four times in their past six games…Mike Hoffman has more goals than any other Senator, but clearly is not a favorite of coach Dave Cameron, who benched him for the third period in a win over Toronto Saturday night…The Sabres are dead-last in the NHL in first-period goals with just 36…Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, out with a broken hand since mid-January, is expected to make his return to the lineup either Saturday against Arizona or next Monday against Nashville…It’s looking more and more like the Canucks will buy Alexandre Burrows out of the final year of his contract…Dennis Wideman, whose 20-game suspension is under appeal, has already missed 18 games…Scott Kosmachuk made his NHL debut in Winnipeg’s 4-2 loss to Nashville Tuesday night, becoming the sixth Jets player to make his NHL debut this season…The Devils signed free agent winger Nick Lappin out of Brown University. Lappin’s father, Peter, played seven NHL games back in the day for the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks…The NHL suspended Coyotes defenseman Jarred Tinordi, who had played in seven of 23 games since being acquired by Arizona, 20 games for violating the performance enhancing substance abuse program…Defenseman Matt Hunwick, one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal season, is out for the rest of the season with sports hernia surgery.

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Power Rankings: Holtby and Capitals putting together a season for the ages