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Capitals head into bye week on top of the NHL

Chicago Blackhawks v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammate Matt Niskanen #2 after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-0, at Verizon Center on January 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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It’s unlikely that every person in the NHL agrees with Ron Hextall that the bye week is “asinine.” Considering the bumps and bruises accrued in a schedule this tight, many are probably delighted to get a breather.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Capitals experienced some mixed feelings heading into their bye week.

By holding off the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-4, they’ve now won six games in a row. Remarkably, Washington is now on a 12-game winning streak at the Verizon Center.

Their offense has been particularly hot, generating six goals twice, five goals three times and three goals once. Their 84 standings points easily towers over that of any other team. No one can compare to their +71 goal differential.

So ... to some extent, the Caps probably wish the playoffs would just start tomorrow. They’re on fire and relatively healthy. Maintaining this level of play won’t be easy.

The Capitals played five of their last six games at home, and with more challenging days ahead, some might feel the urge to blame “rust.” They’ll begin a run of five of six road contests after their bye week, beginning with a trip to Joe Louis Arena next Saturday (Feb. 18), so there’s at least a chance they could stumble.

With the way Washington is playing, it might not matter. Then again, what if they lose their edge after some time off?