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Capitals Play Down To Competition, Forget That They Are NHL's Best Team

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The Washington Capitals entered Monday's game with the New Jersey Devils with the NHL's best record of 14-5-2. The Devils, on the other hand, were near the bottom of the league at 5-13-2. That didn't matter too much as the Devils defeated the Capitals 5-0 Monday.

This is not the first time that Washington has played down to inferior competition this season. In fact, this is not the first time that the Caps have played down to worse teams in recent years.

The Capitals essentially handed the Devils their second home first victory of the season; New Jersey's one home win coming in was a league-worst. The Devils also averaged a league-worst 1.8 goals per game and second-to-last 10.2% power play. The Devils nearly tripled their usual production Monday and their power play had a 50% success rate.

Washington also gave the Buffalo Sabres their first home win of the season November 13. And lest we forget the Capitals' first round playoff series against the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.

None of the Capitals' 14 victories have been dominant. Despite scoring five or more goals seven times this season, the Capitals have not put teams away in any of those games. In fact, most of those high-scoring games are back-and-forth contests. Much has been made of the lack of a Capital killer instinct. As lofty as the expectations are for this team, playing down to struggling teams will not allow Washington to reach their potential anytime soon.