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NHL Power Rankings: Caps are starting to hit their stride

NHL Power Rankings: Caps are starting to hit their stride

Through the first half of the regular season, one thing is very clear: The Washington Capitals are a very tough team to beat when they are firing on all cylinders.

We have seen glimpses of that all season. After getting shutout by San Jose, the Caps managed a road win in Chicago. After two straight losses, Washington trounced rival Pittsburgh 7-1. But the ultimate beatdown came this week against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Columbus had looked unbeatable with 16 straight wins, just one shy of tying the all-time NHL record. Then the Blue Jackets came to Washington and the Caps obliterated them 5-0.

The important thing now is for Washington to build some consistency off of that win and extend their five-game win streak.

With how dominant the Metropolitan Division has looked this season, the Caps began sliding in the standings, causing many to wonder just how good this team really is. Thursday gives you the answer. When this team wants to play, they are pretty darn good. Now they just need to bottle that up to keep pace in the division and make a deep playoff run.

The big win over Columbus and the five-game win streak have Washington climbing in this week's Power Rankings. Find out just how high here.

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The Caps hung out with a bunch dogs and puppies, and it was a great day

NBC Sports Washington

The Caps hung out with a bunch dogs and puppies, and it was a great day

The Capitals had just about the best kind of afternoon anyone could have: They hung out with a bunch of dogs and took some pictures together. 

The team had its annual Caps Canine Calendar shoot Monday, and, of course, the photos from it capture some of the most adorable images of the players and their four-legged friends. While we'll have to wait for the actual calendar to come out to see everyone's perfect poses and smiles, here are a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos of the Caps and their pups. 

MORE CAPS: Where Washington falls in the latest NHL power rankings

MORE CAPS: Ovechkin says he expects to be fine after injury scare

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What does Andre Burakovsky's injury mean for the Caps?


What does Andre Burakovsky's injury mean for the Caps?

While the Caps got some good news on Alex Ovechkin, the outlook wasn’t as positive for Andre Burakovsky on Monday.

Burakovsky, who suffered an upper-body injury late in Saturday’s game, could be sidelined, according to Coach Barry Trotz.

“I think he’s going to miss a little bit of time,” Trotz said after Monday’s practice, adding that he'll know more on Tuesday.


Without Burakovsky, the Caps’ forward lines were as follows:

Tom Wilson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Alex Chiasson
Brett Connolly – Lars Eller – Jakub Vrana
Nathan Walker – Jay Beagle – Devante Smith-Pelly

The changes include Chiasson moving to the second line, Vrana dropping to the third and Walker drawing back into the lineup.

As for Burakovsly, the nature of his injury remains unclear. The 22-year-old winger, however, appeared to hurt his left hand in the closing minutes of the Caps’ 4-1 loss to the Panthers. After drawing a hooking infraction, he removed his glove and began flexing his hand.


If Burakovsky is unable to suit up—the Caps make stops in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary later this week—Washington would likely recall Chandler Stephenson from Hershey, Trotz said.

The Caps have 12 forwards, but the team would not want to be on a five-day trip to Western Canada without an extra forward. (Tyler Graovac is week-to-week with an upper-body injury and Trotz said he will not travel with the team).

Stephenson was one of the last cuts at Caps training camp and has a Hershey-best five goals in six games after recording a hat trick over the weekend.