NHL Power Rankings: A tough trek through the desert


A red-hot Capitals team went out west into the desert and suddenly came up dry. After a strong December in which they had lost only one game, the Caps got the road trip off to a hot start, but stumbled with two losses to earn only three out of a possible six points.

A win in Dallas was encouraging considering the Caps never seem to be able to earn two points there. Then, however, Washington went to Arizona and suffered an overtime defeat at the ends of the lowly Coyotes who boast the worst record in the league. That game was followed by a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights just one day later.

The way the road trip ended was not ideal and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth heading into Christmas, but there are a few big-picture points to keep in mind.


Earning three out of six points on a road trip is ultimately not terrible. Plus, Vegas is a pretty darn good team that the Caps had to play on the backend of a back-to-back.

If you had offered Washington three points before the trip, considering they played the Stars who always give them fits and a Vegas team who is playing like one of the best teams in hockey, those three points may have looked like a pretty good outcome.

Really, the issue for Washington is not what happened on the trip as a whole, but specifically what happened in Arizona. That was a game you likely had written down in your calendar as a win, but the Coyotes tied the game with 61 seconds remaining before winning in overtime. That is only Arizona’s eighth win of the season.

That’s what stings.

Three out of six points is not the end of the world, but the Caps no doubt feel like they should have had at least four. You would hate to see that point come back to haunt them at the end of the season.

Where do the Caps land on this week’s NHL Power Rankings after their road trip? Find out here.

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