The Washington Capitals have somehow managed to make the transition from the laughable chokers of the league to the dominating force with three chances at a Stanley Cup title. Of course, it is not too late for them to choke this one away, but a championship title has never been so attainable.
One of the big reasons why is that they’ve shown absolutely no quit this year. When they were down 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round and it seemed like another typical Caps playoff showing, they fought back to win four straight.
They have also had to deal with playing in 35.8% of the entire post-season’s overtime minutes in that series, falling less than a minute shy of a whole other 60 minutes added on to the six game series. They finished with 39% of overtime play once the Game 6 against the Penguins, in which Evgeny Kuznetsov eliminated the Caps nemesis 5:27 into overtime.
That’s resilience in itself, but it’s actually even more resilient than that.
If they manage to finally secure the Stanley Cup, they will be only the 2nd team to have done so while trailing at some point in all four playoff series. The first team to do so was the 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins (who ironically beat the Caps in a second round matchup that saw Washington up one game to none at one point).
Pretty resilient, but just to make it a little more so (and to distinguish it from their biggest rival), they have won each advancing game on the road. This makes it just a little more impressive, seeing as each of the Pens’ advancements in Rounds 1, 2, and 3 came with the backing of home ice advantage.
A win in either games 5 or 7 would keep that streak going, and the Caps would go down as one of the most resilient teams to ever take on the NHL playoffs. Pretty ironic for the team previously known as perennial chokers.