Since drafting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals have built an entire team around its superstar forwards.
As they go, so go the Caps.
The 2016 playoffs showed, however, that a strong supporting cast is just as important in a Stanley Cup run than the top playmakers. With that in mind, Wednesday's result was a very good sign for the Caps.
In a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche, five different players scored for Washington. None of those five players were Ovechkin or Backstrom.
In fact, both Ovechkin and Backstrom were held without a single point in the win.
How rare is that? Washington has scored five or more goals in 20 games this season and either Backstrom or Ovechkin had at least one point in every one of them until Wednesday.
The last time the Caps scored five or more goals in a game and Ovechkin and Backstrom were held without a point was April 23, 2015 in a 5-1 playoff win over the New York Islanders. The last time it happened in the regular season was on Dec. 18, 2014 in a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Getting increased scoring depth was a major focus for the Caps heading into the 2016-17 season after seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins' depth carry them to a Stanley Cup in 2016. Obviously, Washington will need production from its top two playmakers in the postseason in order to be successful, but the fact that they can rely on their depth at times when they need to is a really good sign.
With just six games left to go in the regular season, the Caps are showing they have the depth to make a run in 2017.
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The Capitals had an off day on Sunday ahead of their Monday matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to spend some time with his son.
Sergei and his dad came across a baby hockey stick and Ovechkin decided to teach his son a few moves.
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ARLINGTON, Va -- The Capitals are riding a six-game win streak and already have the most points in the NHL and now they will be adding one of their best players back into the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom said Sunday after practice that he is "ready to go" for Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be his first game since Nov. 18.
An upper-body injury forced Backstrom out of the lineup for the last eight games. Despite returning to practice during the team's road trip through California, he did not get into a game as the team preached caution with its star center. As the team returned home, Backstrom took line rushes on Sunday and both he and head coach Todd Reirden confirmed he would be back in for Monday's game.
"It was good to see him out there in full practice," Reirden said. "Did some drills specifically to help prepare him for tomorrow. He's good to go for tomorrow."
Backstrom said he knew when he woke up on Sunday that he was ready.
"As of today I'm good to go," he said. "I woke up and felt good. It's like that guy in 'Mighty Ducks,' I woke up, no pain."
It does not appear as if Backstrom will be eased back into the lineup as he skated on the top line in practice alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov had been playing in that spot, but the top line had grown stagnant. Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov combined for only one even-strength point in the past three games.
Barring something unexpected, the return of Backstrom should give the Caps their full lineup for the first time all season. Considering what the team has been able to accomplish thus far while having to shuffle the lineup because of injuries and suspensions, this has been an impressive start.
"I think that shows the depth that we have all the way through our lineup: forward, defenseman and our goaltending has been strong," Reirden said. "I think it's a clear understanding that it's a competitive situation that we've had since training camp that players are ready to take advantage of their opportunities that they get and they know that they need to otherwise there's a chance they could find themselves on the outside. The inner-competition we've had has probably helped push that a little bit. That's been a good problem to have, and it's allowed us to see some other players get opportunities and showcase some of the abilities they have."
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