Capitals/Hurricanes preview: Washington's 8-2 start turning heads across league

Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin celebrate the game-winning goal Tuesday against Anaheim.

By no means is anyone talking Stanley Cup after just 10 games, but there's no doubt that the Washington Capitals' 8-2 start is turning heads across the National Hockey League.

ESPN ranks the Capitals #1 in their latest Power Rankings, as does The Hockey News.

However, as Washington enters Friday night's game at division-rival Carolina, the Capitals are still keeping their sights set on the short term.

That short term begins again tonight in Raleigh, where the Hurricanes have won three of their last four games.

Washington will have to keep their eyes on standout left wing Jeff Skinner, who scored twice in Carolina's 4-2 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Skinner, the 2011 NHL Rookie of the Year, is following up his strong freshman campaign with six goals and six assists to start this season.

"It takes incredible balance and strength to be able to handle some of those big guys and still control the puck and change directions," Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice said of Skinner in the Raleigh News & Observer.

The Capitals are coming off a dramatic win of their own, rallying from down 4-2 in the third period Tuesday to beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in overtime at Verizon Center.

Nicklas Backstrom tied the game with 42 seconds left, then scored the winner in the extra period.

However, the story after the game wasn't about who was on the ice when the Caps tied the game, but who wasn't - Alexander Ovechkin. Bruce Boudreau benched his captain for ineffective play in the 3rd period against the Ducks.

"It’s just a little bit frustrating because I’m a leader on the team and I want to be on that kind of responsibility," Ovechkin told Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.

The Post also reports that defenseman Mike Green, who has been sidelined with a tweaked ankle, still may not be ready to go for tonight's game.

Green hasn't played since scoring twice in the Capitals' 7-1 win over Detroit on Oct. 22.