ARLINGTON, Va. -- Seeing the Washington Capitals' power play atop the NHL leaderboard should come as no surprise, considering they routinely have hovered near the No. 1 spot for the better part of the past several seasons.
What may come as a shock is that the Capitals' penalty kill, traditionally a liability, has recently joined their formidable power play among the League's elite.
Having finished in the bottom-third of the NHL nine times in the past 11 seasons, Washington's penalty-killing unit enters its game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild in unfamiliar territory -- leading the League at 91.5 percent.
Since the third period of the Capitals' 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 12, they successfully have thwarted 40 of their opponents' 41 power-play opportunities, including a stretch of 35 consecutive kills, their longest streak in more than a decade.
"It's something that everybody wants to do -- to be successful on both sides," right wing Alex Ovechkin said. "Power play and penalty kill can win the game and that's very important for you."