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What would the Capitals' all-time team roster look like?

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What would the Capitals' all-time team roster look like?

There’s no more accurate way to gauge how good a player is than to look at his video game rating. EA Sports has already declared Alex Ovechkin as the best left wing in hockey for the upcoming game NHL 18, but there’s another video game out there with a fun quirk worth exploring.

NBA 2K18, which will be released Sept. 19, features the all-time team rosters of all 30 NBA teams. Want to see how Michael Jordan would fare against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors? Want to see LeBron James of the Cavaliers play LeBron James of the Heat? Want to revisit the Magic Johnsvon-Larry Bird rivalry? You can.

But we're hockey fans. We don't care about that. Let's take this to the ice and figure out what the all-time roster of the Washington Capitals would look like.

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An NHL game roster consists of 20 players: 12 forwards, 6 defensemen and two goalies. Looking at all the players to don a Capitals sweater in franchise history, here's what Washington's all-time lineup would look like:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Mike Gartner
Dennis Maruk - Adam Oates - Peter Bondra
Dave Christian - Bobby Carpenter - Jaromir Jagr
Michal Pivonka - Dale Hunter - Dino Ciccarelli

There are not too many natural left wings on this list so I had to shuffle some players around to fill out the lineup. With the context of the team's playoff struggles, it can be easy to forget just how good Ovechkin and Backstrom are. The fact that Ovechkin is the best Capitals player ever is undisputed. Even for a team that boasts Oates, a Hall of Fame center, Backstrom still gets the nod for the top line. He often gets lost in the shadow of his Russian line mate, but he is just that good. Gartner vs. Bondra was a tough call for the top line. Ultimately I went with the stats. In his best season Bondra scored 85 points, a mark that Gartner matched or surpassed four times in his career.

Defensemen
Rod Langway - Larry Murphy
Scott Stevens - Kevin Hatcher
Sergei Gonchar - Al Iafrate

Langway and Stevens are inarguable and any all-time Caps roster that does not include both players should not be taken seriously. The tough part about the defense was not so much picking who was in, but the players who were left out. Brendan Witt, Sylvain Cote, Rick Green, Yvon Labre and Mark Tinordi were all considered and it was especially hard to leave out Mike Green and Calle Johansson. The problem, however, is if you put one of them in, someone else has to come out. Would you take out any of those six for Green or Johansson? I wouldn't.

Goalies
Braden Holtby
Olaf Kolzig

The only other goalie worth bringing up here is Don Beaupre, but ultimately he comes up short to Holtby and Kolzig. Holtby has established himself as one of the top netminders at a time when goaltending has become so dominant, the NHL has literally had to shrink the size of the goalie pads. Kolzig, meanwhile, has more than double Beaupre’s career wins in Washington with 301 compared to 128. And no, Jim Carey is not a legitimate answer. He had one great season earning a Vezina Trophy in 1996 before falling off the face of the Earth. Both Holtby and Kolzig have Vezinas of their own plus several years of consistently great play.

What would your all-time roster look like?

MORE CAPITALS: WHEN WILL TRANING CAMP START FOR THE CAPS?

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Bruins

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Bruins

The Capitals just can't seem to lose to the Boston Bruins. The Caps extended their win streak over the Bruins to 11 games on Thursday thanks to their 5-3 win in Boston.

Here's how the Caps extended the streak.

Braden Holtby, especially in the first and second period

Here is one where the box score won't tell the whole story. Braden Holtby gave up three goals on 37 shots. Looking at that, you may think to yourself that he was good, but not great. Let's be clear, Holtby was great in this game, especially early. The Bruins were buzzing in the first and second period—Washington was outshot 13-3 in the second—yet after 40 minutes Washington held a 2-1 lead. Holtby was brilliant allowing the Caps to take control of the game.

RELATED: CHECK OUT TARIK'S 3 STARS OF THE GAME

Finally solving Boston's penalty kill

The Bruins entered Thursday's game with the 3rd best penalty kill in the NHL. Washington failed to score on any of its first three power play opportunities in the first period so they changed things up. In the Caps' normal power play, there is some movement, but the setup is largely based on positioning. Players have spots they are supposed to be in and their movement is largely restricted to their specific areas. That changed in the second period. The players cycled frequently and managed to catch Boston's penalty killers off guard. Instead of playing the wall like he usually does, Backstrom was in front of the net for the easy tip-in off a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Rookies

Jakub Vrana scored one of the prettiest goals you will see this season as he split the defense and turned what looked like a normal play into a breakaway. In the third period, the ice began tilting in Boston's favor, but Christian Djoos slammed the door shut. Djoos took a pass at the blue line and had room to skate. He drove in, deked around Anders Bjork and set up Alex Chiasson beautifully right on the tape for the goal to make it 3-1.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE LATEST CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Alex Chiasson

Chiasson not only scored off of the great setup by Djoos, but he also was able to turn a blocked shot into a breakaway shorthanded goal. The Caps entered the third period up 2-1. Chiasson scored the next two to make it 4-1 and really iced the game away.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps make it 11 straight against Boston

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps make it 11 straight against Boston

The Caps simply don’t lose against the Bruins. Not with Barry Trotz as head coach, anyway.

On Thursday night, Nicklas Backstrom and Co. extended their dominance vs. the B’s to 11 straight victories thanks to a 5-3 decision at TD Garden. The winning streak dates back to 2014, Trotz’s first behind the Washington bench.

Overall, the Caps have now won nine of their last 11 games. Brad Marchand and the Bruins, meantime, lost for the first time in four games.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Chiasson, Capitals

The winger struck twice in the third period, including a shorty, to put the game on ice. Chiasson gave the Caps a 3-1 lead when he whacked in his own rebound following a setup slick pass from Christian Djoos.

No. 39 then sealed the victory on the penalty kill, blocking a shot and taking off on a breakaway. At the net, he flipped a backhander over Anton Khudobin for his first two-goal game of the season and second multi-point performance.

Chiasson now has six goals on the season, including five in the last 15 games.  

2- Jakub Vrana, Capitals

Late in a scoreless opening frame, No. 13 controlled the puck in the neutral zone, turned on the afterburners, split the Boston defense and sniped a shot over Khudobin to put the Caps up 1-0.

The goal was Vrana’s 10th of the year and 6thin the past 11 games. It also marked the fifth time Vrana this season scored Washington’s first goal of the game. (We won’t mention that he was in the penalty box for the Bruins’ goal).

MORE CAPITALS: THE CAPS HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN THE LAST MONTH

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

As I’ve said on many occasions, Holtby (34 saves) could be one of the Caps’ stars every night, especially after victories. Against the Bruins, though, he might have been the best player on the ice when the outcome was still in doubt. His best sequence came late in the opening period. First he made a point-blank stop on David Krejci and, moments later, he used a perfectly-timed poke check on Patrice Bergeron. Vrana put the Caps up 1-0 a short while later.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.