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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.

RELATED: TOM WILSON CAN'T JUST BE A FOURTH-LINE ENFORCER ANYMORE

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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How the Caps got Alex Ovechkin wide open for the overtime winner in Detroit

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How the Caps got Alex Ovechkin wide open for the overtime winner in Detroit

The Washington Capitals are back in the win column thanks to a 4-3 overtime win in Detroit on Friday. Alex Ovechkin netted the game winner on a wide-open one timer that beat goalie Petr Mrazek.

How does Ovechkin get wide open in overtime? Because the Detroit Red Wings all got caught watching Nicklas Backstrom on a beautiful cycle by the Caps.

When you have to cover Ovechkin in a four-on-three penalty kill, you have your hands full. There is a lot open ice for the power play to work with in those situations. In a regular power play, we often seen teams play Ovechkin closely, sometimes even dedicating a player specifically on him and going four on three with the rest of the power play.

RELATED: ANDRE BURAKOVSKY WAS CHALLENGED BY HIS COACH AND HE RESPONDED

Look how closely the Red Wings were covering Ovechkin on a power play earlier in the game.

There’s not a lot of room to work with, but you can’t play that tight on a four on three penalty kill.

With only three penalty killers on the ice, they have to play closer into the net. You may leave end up leaving Ovechkin open for the shot, but at the very least you can get a body in front of him to either block the shot or pressure him when he has the puck.

Here is what Detroit’s three-man penalty kill looks like when it is set up.

The Red Wings are yielding the point to John Carlson but are tight in front and in good position to attack the players set up in more dangerous areas.

But this all breaks down if the players get caught watching the puck instead of focusing on their assignment. We saw this in the second period when, on a five-on-four, all four of Detroit's penalty killers move too far over to one side leaving Ovechkin wide open for a one-timer.

Somehow Mrazek stopped it, but I am sure his life flashed before his eyes when he saw the Great 8 stepping up for the clear shot. Even though it did not result in a goal, it was a clear breakdown by the defense as the Caps were able to draw the penalty killers out of position.

On a three-man penalty kill, the penalty killers do not want to move. They want to stay in position and attack you when you come too close. So how do you draw them out of position? You cycle.

Watch how much the Caps move with and without the puck on this power play.

MORE CAPITALS: WHO STOOD OUT IN DETROIT?

What the Caps are essentially doing here is fishing. They have their line out and are waiting to catch one of the penalty killers. Backstrom eventually does as Luke Glendening chases after him and the puck. The result?

Yeah, can’t leave that guy open twice and live to tell about it.

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Game 9: Capitals vs. Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 9: Capitals vs. Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET. Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with Capitals FaceOff.

How to Watch: Capitals vs. Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals vs. Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (4-3-1) take on the Panthers (2-4-0) Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Capitals FaceOff gets things started at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra followed by Caps Overtime and Caps in 30 for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps OverTime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as the pre and postgame shows, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

WHAT ARE THE LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines:

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

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Goalies
Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches
Nathan Walker, Aaron Ness, Tyler Graovac (injured), Matt Niskanen (LTIR)

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.