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Indeed, the club was playing at such a high level down the stretch last season that injured Chris Clark began wondering: “Where am I going to fit in [when I come back]? The guys were meshing so well,” he says.

When a 30-goal man is worried about playing time, you know your team is Getting There. For the Caps and their rock star left wing, Ovechkin, it’s less a question of if, it appears, than of when.