May 10, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals players celebrate after beating the New York Rangers 2-1 in overtime in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Metropolitan Division Preview: Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals are the only team besides the Carolina Hurricanes joining the Metropolitan Division from the Southeast Division.

Canes’ fans are used to the Caps’ high-flying offense led by Alex Ovechkin that have been controlling most of the Southeast for the past few years.

Ovechkin is joined by linemate Nicklas Backstrom, Martin Erat and Brooks Laich. The Capitals have less of a skilled lineup and more of players put in role positions to lead to more wins. This is a change from previous years.

But, the Caps lost Mike Ribeiro in free agency and now have a big opening at second-line center that will either be filled by Laich or Marcus Johansson.

The defense has a little more depth than the offense with Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Mike Green.

The ‘D’ corps is made up of puck-movers with Alzner being the only great shut-down defenseman among them, similar to the Canes’ defense last season.

Alex Ovechkin had a bouce-back season scoring 56 points in 48 games last season. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In net, Washington has two youngsters that could play as the starter with Braden Holtby and Michael Neuvirth. Both have impressed over their short careers, but it is expected that Holtby will play the majority of the games.

The Hurricanes will need to slow down the Ovechkin line to beat the Caps. A lot of the offense is carried in that line and the team will become frustrated when their top players can’t score.

Washington’s defense is also prone to mistakes, which the Hurricanes will need to jump on.

The Capitals will be a familiar face in the Metropolitan Division and the Canes will need to use this to their advantage to gain points in a competitive division.


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