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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

One Capital achievement down, one to go.

Washington was the best team in the regular season, which won’t amount to a Capitol Hill of beans if Alex Ovechkin and Co., can’t parlay that into some playoff success.

The Caps haven’t been past Round 2 in Ovie’s first two post-season forays and the time is now for that to change.

Taking one last look at the regular season schedule, Washington was clearly the class of the field in a season that yielded its share of surprises. How many people had Buffalo winning the Northeast? Phoenix and Colorado in the playoffs? Yeah, right. Most thought Columbus and St. Louis were teams on the rise, not ones that would be feeling blue by early April.

The 82-game dress rehearsal is over; let’s see what surprises the second-season has in store.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

1

54-15-13

6-1-3

Have to like Round 1 draw because Habs won't do much to wear down anybody

2

2

51-20-11

8-1-1

Another team that has to like its first round matchup; especially after facing a vicious No. 8 Ducks team last time

3

5

52-22-8

6-3-1

Last year they were the darlings of the playoffs, but there are big expectations this time

4

4

49-28-5

5-4-1

Henrik got it done in the regular season, winning the Art Ross. Now he and his bro have to show for the big games

5

6

44-24-14

8-1-1

It wouldn't be the post-season if there weren't questions about Detroit's goaltending; this time they surround rookie Jimmy Howard

6

7

50-25-7

5-3-2

Does the magic end against the rolling Red Wings?

7

11

48-27-7

5-2-3

Haven't been past Round 2 since winning the Cup in 2003

8

3

47-29-6

6-3-1

Looks like leading goal-scorer Patric Hornqvist will be ready for Game 1 after missing the last game of the year with an upper-body injury

9

8

47-28-7

5-4-1

No team has successfully defended the Cup since Detroit in 1998

10

10

45-27-10

5-5-0

Thomas Vanek comes back on fire after a groin injury, closing the season with five goals in two contests

11

12

46-27-9

4-3-3

Jonathan Quick needs to get things turned around fast for the Kings to hang with Vancouver

12

9

44-32-6

7-2-1

Brian Elliott isn't just new to the NHL playoffs; this is his first post-season foray as a pro, period.

13

18

41-35-6

4-5-1

Found a way to get in; can they get the goaltending to move on?

14

14

39-30-13

6-3-1

League's lowest-scoring team will find it tough scaring up goals against Ryan Miller

15

16

43-30-9

3-5-2

Just making the second season has to be viewed as a success

16

13

39-33-10

3-4-3

Just like last year, Canadiens barely scrape in and will be bounced out with no trouble

17

19

39-32-11

5-2-3

Maybe we haven't seen the last of Teemu Selanne after all?

18

21

40-32-10

6-3-1

With the exception of Alex Steen, every important St. Louis forward delivered less offense than anticipated

19

17

40-32-10

4-5-1

A modest Jarome Iginla trade proposal.

20

15

38-33-11

7-1-2

Coach John Tortorella won't explain why Marian Gaborik wasn't one of his three selections in the shootout for the playoffs

21

22

37-31-14

6-4-0

Safe to say Year 1 under GM Joe Nieuwendyk and coach Marc Crawford didn't go according to plan

22

23

35-37-10

5-3-2

Things are looking up for next year; Canes have some good young players and went 25-14-3 after Jan. 1

23

20

35-34-13

3-5-2

I guess it's appropriate Evander Kane was named after Evander Holyfield

24

27

38-36-8

3-5-2

See Stars, insert Chuck Fletcher for GM and Todd Richards for coach

25

24

34-37-11

5-4-1

A lottery win would be massive for a team that still needs some major building blocks

26

29

34-36-12

6-4-0

Steven Stamkos' Rocket Richard-sharing season is all the more remarkable given the state of this team

27

28

32-37-13

2-6-2

Nine seasons and counting without a playoff game

28

25

32-35-15

3-4-3

Shortcomings this season go beyond a sophomore jinx for Steve Mason

29

26

30-38-14

4-4-2

For all that talk of a strong finish, Leafs won just two of their last seven

30

30

27-47-8

4-5-1

Taylor or Tyler?

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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