With apologies to the the other team juggernauts in the NHL currently, right now, the Washington Capitals are the best team in the sport. After Saturday’s 3-1 win vs their closest adversary in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadians, the Caps now have an unfathomable 54 points in only 34 games played for a record of 26-6-2. The 54 points are the best ever at this point in team history and give them a 10 point lead in the Atlantic Division (over the New York Rangers) and simultaneously the Eastern Conference.
One thing is for certain with this team, they are lead by perennial MVP candidate Alexander Ovechkin and his longtime linemate Nicklas Backstrom but whenever a team seems to overachieve as the Caps are right now, the influx of new blood and the best goaltender in the league are the main catalysts. Second year stud center Evgeny Kuznetsov has taken a leap to another level, tied with Backstrom with a team leading 30 points, newcomers Justin Williams and TJ Oshie have contributed 10 and 13 goals apiece as the Caps are the only team in the NHL to have six players with 10 or more goals this season.
One of the troubling patterns during the original “Rock the Red” era Capitals was the fact that the team either didn’t stick with a goalie or chose not to develop one of the young goalies in the farm system. Under Coach Barry Trotz, 5th year goalie Braden Holtby has rewarded the patience of his coach and organization by becoming the best goalie in the league with a league leading 22 wins in just 28 starts. His 1.92 Goals Against Average (GAA) is again the best in the NHL. Do you sense a pattern here?
Coach Trotz has pushed all the right buttons since his arrival last season. He finally has a team that is a two-way juggernaut that can beat you in multiple ways even if Ovechkin isn’t the main guy scoring all the goals. With the All Star break approaching, its going to be nice watching a team with legitimate championship goals try to deliver on such a lofty goal each and every evening.