Alex Ovechkin is back. After back-to-back seasons below forty goals, we all thought that Alex Ovechkin might be trending downwards. Then he opens the 2017-18 season with seven goals in his first two games.
With 17 games left to play Alex Ovechkin has already hit the 40 goal mark and leads the league in goals. He’s back.
Which of course means that the Washington Capitals are a force in the Eastern Conference. But unlike other years the Capitals aren’t sitting at the top of the Conference or even the league.
The Capitals are getting superstar levels of production from Alex Ovechkin, but that isn’t the case with Braden Holtby. The Vezina trophy from two seasons ago hasn’t been the same shot-stopper. With a .908SV% and 3.02 GAA he’s well off his career totals of 2.40 GAA and .920SV%.
That’s the strength of this team. Their starting goalie can be having an off year and they still win. Again, they aren’t at the top of the league. But I doubt that matter for the Capitals.
For two years in a row, the Washington Capitals won the Presidents Trophy for the top team in the league. It was all for naught as the Caps were bounced in both seasons from the second round of the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Capitals focus isn’t on the regular season. It’s clearly on the playoffs. The 82 game regular season is but a formality.