Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Taking Control

By Colin Likas
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) celebrates with teammates after the Capitals
Nov 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) celebrates with teammates after the Capitals /

No. 6: Washington Capitals

Previous: 7th

Season record: 11-5-2

The Caps have shown a balanced effort no matter where they’ve played, sitting at 6-3-0 at home and 5-2-2 on the road. But unlike last season, they’re doing it almost entirely on the back of their goaltender instead of with help from the offense.

Alex Ovechkin isn’t leading the team in points and has just a one-goal lead in the scoring column, so that alone should tell you things aren’t perfect in D.C. That’s not to say they’re bad, of course. Nicklas Backstrom boasts 17 points in 18 games, while Ovechkin (13 points with nine goals) and T.J. Oshie (12 points with eight goals) are also assisting, along with Marcus Johansson (13 points).

Some better players like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams are struggling to produce early. But goaltender Braden Holtby continues to be solid, drumming up a .927/1.99 statline.

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