The Caps have come a long way from the Southeast Division.
In the final years of the Southeast, Washington won the division in five out of six years. In many cases, the race was not competitive.
Yet, that regular season success never translated into the postseason leaving many to wonder whether more competition within the division would benefit the Caps in their quest for the Stanley Cup.
Be careful what you wish for.
The Metropolitan Division has established itself this season as the best division in hockey with the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins all rattling off long winning streaks in the month of December. Five of the top seven teams in the NHL are from the Metro.
But Braden Holtby doesn't mind the competition.
It's good for us. When you look in terms of comparing these last two years, it almost affected us negatively, the separation, and you can tell we're building our game because of the fact we can't take nights off. We need to focus on every game to get as many points as we can because those teams are going to be right there with us if we do those things. It's fun. It's fun to be challenged all year long and looking at those teams, I don't think any of them are going to go away so it's going to be a grind all year long.
After a six-game win streak, Washington currently has the sixth-most points in the NHL. Where do they stand in the Metropolitan Division? Fourth place and in the wild card.