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NHL Power Rankings: Caps are starting to hit their stride

NHL Power Rankings: Caps are starting to hit their stride

Through the first half of the regular season, one thing is very clear: The Washington Capitals are a very tough team to beat when they are firing on all cylinders.

We have seen glimpses of that all season. After getting shutout by San Jose, the Caps managed a road win in Chicago. After two straight losses, Washington trounced rival Pittsburgh 7-1. But the ultimate beatdown came this week against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

Columbus had looked unbeatable with 16 straight wins, just one shy of tying the all-time NHL record. Then the Blue Jackets came to Washington and the Caps obliterated them 5-0.

The important thing now is for Washington to build some consistency off of that win and extend their five-game win streak.

With how dominant the Metropolitan Division has looked this season, the Caps began sliding in the standings, causing many to wonder just how good this team really is. Thursday gives you the answer. When this team wants to play, they are pretty darn good. Now they just need to bottle that up to keep pace in the division and make a deep playoff run.

The big win over Columbus and the five-game win streak have Washington climbing in this week's Power Rankings. Find out just how high here.

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Game 46: Capitals at Stars game time, how to watch, open thread

Game 46: Capitals at Stars game time, how to watch, open thread

The red-hot Capitals will look to finally end the curse of the Dallas Stars, a team they have not beaten since 2008. Just two days after chasing goalie Jake Allen in St. Louis (twice), Washington's red-hot offense will face another struggling goalie duo in Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen who each have managed a save percentage of only .902 this season.

Stream the game via CSNmidatlantic.com/CapitalsStream or tune in to CSN+ at 7:30 p.m. for coverage. Here is everything you need to know:

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

When: Saturday, 1/21 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How to Watch: Capitals at Stars will be broadcast on CSN+.

When is the Capitals-Stars game?

The Capitals (30-9-6) play the Dallas Stars (19-20-8) Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

What channel is the Capitals-Stars game on?

The Capitals-Stars game is broadcast on CSN+. The coverage of the game begins at 7:30 p.m. with Caps GameTime. The game begins at 8:00 p.m with Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin. For postgame coverage, stick around for Caps Extra following the game and Caps in 30 at midnight. (CSN channel Finder)

Where can I stream the Capitals-Stars game?

The Capitals-Stars game, along with Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here on csnmidatlantic.com/CapitalsStream and the NBC Sports app and is available to authenticated CSN Mid-Atlantic subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

What are the lines for the Capitals-Stars game?

Based Thursday's game, here are the projected lines:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Defense
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Taylor Chorney - Nate Schmidt

Goalies
Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches
John Carlson

Capitals-Stars Open Thread

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals Digital Producer JJ Regan and the CSN Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and CSN's Facebook page.

Keep up with all the action here with Capitals GameZone and join in on the conversation here with Capitals Pulse.

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At 35, Caps' Justin Williams is still getting it done

At 35, Caps' Justin Williams is still getting it done

It’s been a few weeks since Justin Williams started producing like Justin Williams again. But what he’s managed to do during the Capitals’ hot spell has got to be heartening for the team and its fan base.

Since the Caps’ offensive breakout began 11 games ago in New Jersey, the 35-year-old winger leads the team in goals (8) and ranks second in shots (27).

No one in the league has scored more goals than Williams since New Year’s Eve.

Compare that to the two goals Williams mustered in the first 24 games and, yeah, that slow start is disappearing in the rearview mirror—fast.

RELATED: Andre Burakovsky is on a roll

Over the last 22 games, in fact, Williams has been a point per game player, racking up 14 goals and eight assists in that span after scoring in Thursday’s 7-3 win in St. Louis.

With 16 goals on the season, including four in the last three games, the veteran is on pace for 29 goals, which would be his highest total since he potted 33 as a Hurricane in 2006-07.

After the St. Louis game, Williams said Coach Barry Trotz’s decision to keep together the forward lines in recent weeks has helped boost everyone’s production.

“There’s something to be said for chemistry within lines,” said Williams, who has been skating with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson. “Once you’re with someone for a little bit, it’s just human nature that you’re going to learn their ticks and where they’re going to be and their voice, all of the above.”

The Caps are 17-2-1 this season when Williams records a point.    

On Saturday, Williams and his teammates will wrap up the two-game Dad’s Trip with a stop in Dallas, where they’ll face a Stars’ team they have not defeated since 2008.

“As I said earlier, I’m 35-years-old and I still want to impress my dad,” he said of his father, Craig. “I feel his eyes on me. He’s watching. I can see him sitting up there in the press box. It’s fun having him here, that’s for sure. You don’t know how many more we’re going to get, so you just enjoy the time that you have together.”

MORE CAPITALS: Q&A: Why a move at the trade deadline is a bad idea