The ups and downs of the Washington Capitals' 2010-11 season have been well-documented. According to Capitals PR guy Nate Ewell, when the Caps face off against the Eastern Conference-best Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday, it will be the fifth time in eight games in 2011 that they will play a team that is equal to or above them in the standings. But Ewell also made another interesting point that puts the Capitals' recent dominance in perspective.
According to Ewell, the Capitals did not play a game against an opponent better than them last season after December 30 against the San Jose Sharks. Entering that game, Washington had a 24-9-6 record (54 points) and San Jose had a 24-8-7 record (55 points). From that point on (no pun intended), the Caps had an advantage in the standings against every opponent.
The Capitals have had their fair share of struggles this season: an 0-6-2 slide, two separate three-game losing streaks and overall scoring problems. Perhaps Caps fans have gotten spoiled with all of the teams' recent success over the years, but even with such issues this season, Washington remains in the mix for the conference and league's best record. Something to consider before you throw your Alex Ovechkin jersey into the back of your closet.