Ranking the 5 Best Moments from Washington Capitals' 2013-14 Season so Far
So far, the 2013-14 season hasn't told us much about what kind of team the Washington Capitals are, as Adam Oates' squad has looked like a postseason force on some nights and headed for the draft lottery on others.
At the beginning of the year, one had to think that the Caps were a near-lock to make their seventh consecutive playoff trip, as the addition of Mikhail Grabovski and return to dominance from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom had D.C. hoping this crew would finally make a conference final appearance.
Unfortunately, things haven't fallen into place for Washington on a regular basis, and that's why the Caps are in the midst of a dog fight to grab one of the final postseason berths in the East.
That being said, there have been a number of high points for Ovechkin and company through the first 59 games of the season.
With the Olympic tournament now just a couple of days away from finishing up, here's a look at the best moments from the Capitals thus far in 2013-14.
Ovechkin Saves the Day Against Detroit
For 60 minutes, Detroit managed to hold Ovechkin at bay, as the league's top sniper was blanketed by Red Wings every time the puck was anywhere near him in the offensive zone.
However, after Detroit was assessed a minor penalty early in the overtime period, the captain delivered the goods in the clutch to send the Verizon Center faithful into a frenzy.
As John Carlson received a pass from Backstrom at the right point, Ovechkin discreetly readied himself for a one-timer, and once Carlson made the pass across the top of the box, the Russian star hammered the puck into the net so hard that it's easy to miss, even on the replay.
Coming Back vs. Calgary
In Washington's home opener, Oates' boys fell behind by two goals against the visiting Calgary Flames midway through the second period, and things looked bleak for the Caps.
But, with the game at 3-1, Ovechkin notched a pair of power-play markers to bring the Caps even, although Jiri Hudler would give Calgary the lead again in the third.
Despite the setback, the Caps fought back once again, with Backstrom tying the game in the game's dying moments, and after overtime solved nothing, this one went to a shootout.
There, Grabovski and Ovechkin each found the back of the net and sealed Washington's first victory of the season in style.
Blowout in Philadelphia
During the early stages of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers looked lost, which is why Peter Laviolette quickly became the first coach to be fired in 2013-14.
In hindsight, it seems that the Caps traveled to Philly at just the right time, because Washington absolutely demolished the Flyers on home ice, which isn't something that happens often.
But on this early November night, Washington put together a dazzling 60 minutes of hockey, and wound up pummeling one of their most hated rivals by a score of 7-0.
What made this win especially impressive was the fact that it came without Ovechkin in the lineup. In his absence, grinders like Jason Chimera (who scored a beautiful breakaway goal) and Joel Ward picked up the slack, and helped lead D.C. to an emphatic victory in enemy territory.
The Losing Streak Ends
In January, the Capitals limped through a seven-game losing skid, which was among the worst in recent franchise history.
Sure, Washington lost the first two in shootouts, but after five consecutive losses in regulation, the Caps needed points in the worst way when they traveled to take on Montreal in late January.
And at the Bell Centre, the Caps put together a stunning effort that ended in a dominant 5-0 triumph, thus ending a miserable 13-day stretch.
After missing two games due to injury, Ovechkin returned in a big way to score a pretty goal, as well as set up Casey Wellman for his first goal in a Caps uniform.
Four Goals for the Captain
In early December, the Capitals found themselves down 3-0 to their former Southeast Division foe the Tampa Bay Lightning in Washington.
In the first, Ovechkin found the back of the net off a one-timer to bring the Caps within two, and in the second period, he then tallied a pair of goals with the man advantage to even the score at four.
But in the third, the Caps fell behind once again, and with less than a minute remaining in the game, Washington looked doomed to drop a crucial conference clash despite a hat trick from their captain.
However, Ovechkin once again rose to the occasion, as the three-time league MVP sent a bullet from the left point that fooled Ben Bishop with 32 seconds to go, sending the game to overtime.
In the later shootout, the Caps completed the miraculous comeback, and it was all because of Ovechkin's four-goal outing.