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Forum Index > and rookies Christian Djoos

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From general manager Brian MacLellan's perspective, the Washington Capitals' window to win the Stanley Cup remains very much open. It's not the same Patrick Sharp Authentic Jersey window they had the past two seasons when they won the Presidents' Trophy before failing each time to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But with the Capitals again in first place in the Metropolitan Division, MacLean looks around the NHL and sees a different opportunity to win a championship. "I think the whole League is wide open," MacLellan said. "The market is such that a lot of teams have holes. A lot of teams are trying to manage around holes that have happened because of the salary cap, because of the expansion draft. [The Vegas Golden Knights are] a good team for a reason. Pierre Pilote Authentic Jersey Teams lost good players. Our whole division is pretty close. If you can manage around your holes, depending on what they are, you have a chance of coming out here." Washington is four points ahead of the second-place Columbus Blue Jackets and three points ahead of the third-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division. "All these teams are good teams," he said. "We're all close to each other. So to count anybody out would be wrong. Everybody's in the hunt." MacLellan noted that the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lead the NHL at 31-9-3 with 65 points, are the one team that has separated itself. "They seem to be Richard Panik Authentic Jersey a little deeper than everybody else," he said. After the offseason departures of defensemen Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt and Kevin Shattenkirk, and forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik, the Capitals don't have that kind of depth anymore. Yet, they are 27-13-3 with 57 points and two games left before their mandated five-day break, a home-and-home series against the Carolina Hurricanes that begins at Capital One Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, FS-SE, NHL.TV). MacLellan believed the Capitals would be better than some predicted, but is pleased they've changed the outside perception. "We're used to being the team that's competing, that should win," he said. "There's a lot of expectations, a lot of pressure. I don't think that's part of Ryan Hartman Authentic Jersey the narrative this year. It's more, 'These guys shouldn't be good. They're not good. How come they're doing better than we thought?'" Initially, that wasn't the case. The Capitals went 10-9-1 in their first 20 games and struggled to find their identity. There were questions about coach Barry Trotz's future because his contract expires after this season, and whether this group would be able to move on emotionally from the disappointment of last season. Following road losses to the Nashville Predators (6-3 on Nov. 14) and Colorado Avalanche (6-2 on Nov. 16), the Capitals have gone 17-4-2. After dropping from 50 goals in 2015-16 to 33 last season, captain Alex Ovechkin shares the League lead with Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning with 27. In a contract year John Carlson is among the League leaders in ice time (26:17 per game) and points from defenseman with 34 (five goals, 29 assists), and rookies Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey, Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson have grown into their roles.

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