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NHL Power Rankings: Finishing strong?

NHL Power Rankings: Finishing strong?

Despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season, Washington again fell short in the postseason with a second-round exit to the Pittsburgh Penguins. There are many theories as to why this happened, but one is that with the Presidents’ Trophy wrapped up in late March, there just wasn’t much to play for. When the playoffs rolled around, Washington could not simply flip the switch to get back to the level they had been playing earlier in the season.

Could history be repeating itself this season?

SEE THIS WEEK’S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

In the month of March in 2016, Washington managed a 9-4-2 record. In 2017, they have gone 9-5-1. That may be surprising to some as it doesn’t feel like the Caps are cooling off, especially after winning eight of their last ten games. Here’s why this year feels different:

  • Washington’s 2017 March record is dragged down by a stretch of four consecutive losses from early in the month. The Caps have rebounded for a strong finish to March.
  • Washington had essentially nothing to play for in March 2016 and everyone knew it. This year, they are locked in a tight race for the Metropolitan Division with Pittsburgh and Columbus.
  • The Caps had no control over who they played in the playoffs last season. In 2017, they lose the division, they could face Pittsburgh or Columbus in the very first round.
  • The 2015-16 season was year one of the Caps’ two-year championship window as declared by general manager Brian MacLellan. Now in year two, there is more of a sense of urgency.
  • The Caps added a top-four defenseman at the trade deadline, rather than depth pieces.
  • Washington wrapped up the regular season in 2016 with losses in four of their last five games. With a win over Columbus on Sunday, the Caps would have to lose each of their last four this season to repeat that feat.

If this year feels different to you, it should. With four games left in the season, Washington still has plenty to play for.

In the final week of the regular season, who is make a strong push to enter the postseason on a hot streak? Who looks like they just want to pack it in and enjoy summer? Find out in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.

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Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

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USA TODAY Sports, Marvel and DC Comics

Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the Washington Capitals!

It's not hard to picture your favorite athletes as superheroes. What the Caps are able to do on the ice seems almost superhuman at times.

Heck, they even have uniforms!

SEE EVERY CAPITALS PLAYER'S SUPERHERO CHARACTER HERE

But the similarities don't just end with the physical attributes and abilities. When you begin to really think about each player, you can see a lot of similarities between each of them and some well-known superheroes.

If each Caps player was a superhero, which one would they be? Check out each player's superhero character here.

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

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USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

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