If you peek at the NHL standings this season, you will see a very familiar site – the Washington Capitals are dominating the regular season. For the fans of the team from the District of Columbia, this is as common as seeing a politician make false promises.
This season has been especially impressive. Currently, the Capitals have the most points in the NHL. Along with that, they are leading the league in goal differential AND fewest goals allowed. Their power play and penalty kill both rank among the top ten in the NHL. However, this kind of dominance during the regular season is nothing new for the Capitals.
Unless Washington has a major letdown, they will finish winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the second straight season and the third time since the 2009-10 season. All of those teams that won the trophy ranked either first or second in goals scored. This year’s team, like last year, should also finish first or second in fewest goals allowed. At the same time, they are leading the league in goal differential.
For fans in Washington, regular season dominance is now something of a bore. Their fans have been there and done that. What they haven’t been able to do though, is turn the regular season dominance into a deep playoff run.
Starting with their first 100-point season in franchise history in 1983-84, the Capitals have recorded 9 seasons of 100 points or more. All of those regular seasons full of success have one thing in common – not once did they reach the Conference Finals. To make matters worse, four times in those previous nine seasons, they were eliminated in the first round.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDZEd2IRpfE (Stepan’s Game Winner)
Looking deeper at the Capitals playoff history, not much has changed in the 17 other playoff appearances the organization has made. They have only reached the conference finals just twice in 26 previous postseason appearances.
The Capitals organization doesn’t just disappoint their fan base in the postseason, they leave them scarred for life. Five times in their playoff history, Washington has blown a 3-1 series lead in a best-of-7 series. No other team in the NHL has done that more than three times. Perhaps the most heartbreaking and most recent, the loss that occurred in the second round of the 2015 Playoffs against the Rangers. Washington was just 1:41 away from advancing to the Conference Finals, but the Rangers forced overtime and went on to win that game and complete the series comeback.
Most Series Losses, NHL Playoff History Leading Series 3-1
Washington Capitals 5 Detroit Red Wings 3 Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets 3 Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Time will tell if this season will be different for the Capitals and their fans. However, there isn’t much more that this franchise can do to disappoint a very beleaguered fan base.