In recent years, the Washington Capitals have been dynamic, but not dynamic enough. They've been great in some areas, but not enough of them to go deep into the playoffs. This year appears very different.
The Capitals have 86 points which is good enough for best in the NHL. The team that is in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers, are a staggering 14 points behind with just 72. It appears that this season will be different for a multitude of reasons. Here are three reasons why this is the year that the Caps' will finally bring home a Stanley Cup trophy to the Nation's Capital
1. Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby has been an absolute stud for the Capitals the entire season. There is a good chance he is on his way to winning the Vezina trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL's best goalie. He has a record of 35-6-3 this season which is a big reason why the Capitals have the NHL lead in points (86) with just a few months left until the postseason. This year Holtby has 35 wins, 2 shutouts and a save percentage of .926. Thanks to his superb regular season thus far, he has helped keep the Caps' in games even when it seemed that they were being dominated. If Holtby keeps up his marvelous play this year the Caps' will be in a very good position to win the first Stanley Cup in the teams history.
2. Offensive Depth
The Capitals have one of the strongest rosters in the NHL. When they traded for T.J Oshie this past summer they assembled one of the best top lines in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been great together for years but have lacked an elite right winger to play with them. They finally got that winger when the St. Louis Blues dealt Oshie to the Capitals. That is only the first line.
The second line is filled with a mix of young and potentially future superstars in Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov, alongside a seasoned veteran and proven playoff stud Justin Williams. These players have come up clutch for the Caps' all season and will look to keep it going as the Capitals march towards the playoffs. The Capitals have a third line of Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson. A good mix of size and talent that can wear down on an opponent.
The fourth line includes the likes of Michael Latta, Brooks Laich and Mike Richards.
3. Power Play
The Capitals have had the NHL's best power play for some time now and this season has been no different. The Capitals have scored on a league leading 23.7% of their power play chances. It will help the Capitals in the playoff push if they continue to convert on the other teams mistakes.
Successful power play units win Stanley Cups; depth wins Stanley Cups; and excellent goaltending wins Stanley Cups. The Capitals have hit on all three this season. Let’s also not forget defense and a smart head coach, which the Caps' have in Barry Trotz.
When you add it all up, this is the Capitals’ season to take their game to the highest level and finally bring D.C. a Stanley Cup victory.