NHL Power Rankings: Still on track

J.J. Regan
NBC Sports Washington

Bringing home two points out of a possible six on a three-game road trip is not a great result. The Caps won only one of their three games in California. As they are locked in a tight division race, leaving four points on the table could prove costly.

But there are a few reasons why fans should not be overly upset about how the Caps performed in California.

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S UPDATED NHL POWER RANKINGS

First, Washington went 0-3-0 last season on the California gauntlet. Managing even two points is not insignificant, especially when those two points came in San Jose where the Caps had not earned a regulation win in nearly 25 years. Second, Philipp Grubauer played well in his two starts. He stopped 50 of the 52 shots he faced and earned the shutout win against the Sharks. The immediacy of getting Braden Holtby back on track is relieved somewhat by Grubauer's play. While getting Holtby over his slump remains one of the top priorities until the playoffs begin, Washington at least can feel comfortable with letting Grubauer play this out as long as he needs to.

Third, and most important, the road trip did not do all that much damage to the Caps in the standings.

Washington returns home in second place in the Metropolitan Division trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point with two games in hand. The Philadelphia Flyers trail the Caps by two points and have played one more game than Washington.

There are no moral victories in professional sports. The California road trip was not a successful one for the Caps, but there are enough positives to come from it that it may not be as disastrous as some fans think.

The road trip did not really cost the Caps in the standings or the rankings. See where they land in this week's NHL Power Rankings.

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