Washington Capitals

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NHL Power Rankings: Coming down to the wire

NHL Power Rankings: Coming down to the wire

After four straight regulation losses, the Caps may have righted the ship with a point streak of three games including two wins.

It may be a bit early to conclude whether Washington is back on track, but with games against Calgary and Columbus upcoming, we should find out pretty quickly.

SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

What we do know is that the Caps’ recent slump has suddenly reopened a division race that looked all but over. After Sunday’s games, Washington and Columbus sit tied atop the Metropolitan Division standings with 100 points while Pittsburgh is just behind with 99.

It looks like we could be headed for a photo finish.

Which of those three teams is playing the best right now and where do they all stand among the rest of the NHL? Find out here in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.

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Hello Old Friend: Marcus Johansson returns to Kettler ... as a Devil

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Hello Old Friend: Marcus Johansson returns to Kettler ... as a Devil

The Capitals had to say goodbye to several talented players and fan-favorites this offseason. 

Marcus Johansson was one of those players, as the Capitals traded the Swedish forward to the Devils for a second and third-round draft pick in order to clear up cap space to make room for Evgeny Kuznetsov's eight-year contract extension.

So you can imagine the surprise when Johansson returned to the Capitals' facility at Kettler IcePlex on Wednesday to workout with his former teammates on the ice.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY ... THE FORWARD?

Now, it's not at all surprising to see former teammates workout together. But it was a bit surprising to see Johansson rocking the Capitals' colors once again.

You will notice that Johansson was wearing Devils gloves and Devils pants. After all, the Devils have yet to have an organized practice, so while he could probably get his hands on some gloves and pants, practices jerseys may not be issues until a bit later.

Also, it's not like Johansson can stop by his local DICK's Sporting Goods to pick up a practice sweater.

Johansson will make his first official return to Washington, D.C. when the Capitals host the Devils at the Capital One Arena on Saturday, Dec. 30.

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Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

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Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

Braden Holtby is an elusive guy.

The 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner might be large in stature, but keeps to himself. When you do see him, he's typically covered in layers of goalie pads or briefly chatting with the media following a game.

So imagine the surprise to see Holtby take the ice at Kettler IcePlex well before training camp begins with zero goalie pads on.

That's what took place on Monday morning. As several players hit the ice for some unofficial workout sessions, there was the 6-2 Saskatchewan native strolling onto the ice, with a regular stick, regular skates, regular gloves and Andre Burakovsky's helmet.

RELATED: 2017-18 CAPITALS SEASON PREVIEW SERIES

Frankly, it was a bit odd to see Holtby skate up and down the ice.

Maybe it's because we're used to seeing him in the crouch position. or maybe it's because we actually see his entire figure, not just a pile of leather pads.

But even goalies need to work on non-goalie skills. The more familiar you are with position players, the better you will be to stop them from scoring.

But man, seeing Holtby skate like a forward sure does take some time to get used to. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS