Washington, D.C. — The Capitals are a team that, like the NHL itself, has a history of changing through the decades.
The franchise began in the NHL’s American Hockey League, but its roots were in the Pacific Northwest, where the Caps have played their home games since the 1940s.
But the franchise has never been a powerhouse in the regular season.
The Capitals have had three consecutive playoff appearances, but they have never been the team that wins it all.
That changed this season, when the Capitals reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history, and they took home their first playoff win since 1995.
Now, it’s a story that can be told with relish and relish, thanks to the Capitals’ remarkable success in the postseason.
“It’s the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the Washington Capitals,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said.
“The Stanley Cup is something that we’ve always dreamed of and dreamed of winning, and the Stanley Championship Series is something we’ve been striving for.”
It’s a long way to a Stanley Cup win, but it’s one that could easily be considered a Hall of Fame-caliber achievement.
The Caps have won three of the past four Stanley Cups in Washington, and that success has been largely attributed to their young core of players.
Ovechank has emerged as the franchise’s most dynamic player, leading the team in goals (25), assists (30), and points (77).
He’s scored six goals in three playoff games and has seven points in the past three games, including two goals and two assists.
The first goal of his career came in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The second goal came in the final seconds of Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ovi had a goal and two points in that Game 6.
Oli Kapanen was the only other Caps forward to score in that game.
He has eight points in his past 10 games, and Ovechiemi is tied for the team lead in points (10).
Kapananen had 10 goals and 13 points in 20 playoff games.
“He’s just a phenomenal player and a phenomenal leader,” Ovi said.
Ovochkin had his best postseason goal in Game 6, a power-play goal in the third period.
It was his sixth goal in nine playoff games, his first since January, 2018.
“We’re just looking forward to the next game, and hopefully we can go win it,” Ovechuk said.
The playoff run was an incredible achievement for Ovi and Kapan, who were teammates in the 2015-16 season.
“This is what I love about playing the game and I love being on the ice with the Caps, and I think that’s what you always want,” Kapano said.
Both Ovechenkos are also members of the NHL All-Rookie team, which also includes Alex Olesen, Ryan Strome, and Joel Ward.
Oleser is the only player on the Capitals roster to have multiple seasons with more than 30 goals, and he has the second-highest total of points (55) in franchise postseason history behind Ovechniks.
“Ovi and Ovi have been great together,” Kano said.
It wasn’t just Ovi who was able to have an impact on the game, either.
Olyesen scored four goals in six games in his first Stanley Cup Final appearance, but he only played six games for the Caps this season.
Oleg Kuznetsov, who has three goals in his career, also helped the team get a big win in Game 7, scoring a goal in overtime to lift the Capitals to a 3-1 series lead.
Kuznyshev has been a strong playoff contributor, too.
He had three goals and a goal on the season in Game 4 against the New York Rangers.
“I’m a little nervous, because we’ve lost a lot of games,” Olesin said.
Kano and Olesenko had their best playoff performances of the postseason when it came to the power play, which was Olesins best offensive tool, and Kuznets best offensive weapon in the playoffs.
The two have each scored four points in five games, which is the best total of any Caps player in the series.
The team is also on pace to be the highest-scoring team in franchise playoff history.
Oates, who had two goals in five playoff games for Washington, has two goals on the year.
Kukanov has one goal and three points in four games.
Olin also has three points on the team.
“That’s why it’s important to win,” Olysekin said of having Kuznech and Kannes score goals in Game 5.
The goal-scoring has been even more significant for the young team than it was in the season’s first two games