Late last week, the Caps' organization officially dimmed the lights on the 2018-19 season when its AHL Hershey affiliate was ousted in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs. While we can still watch the last month of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the IIHF World Championship and the conclusion of the Memorial Cup playoffs in the coming weeks, by this time next month we'll be at or near the conclusion of another hockey season.
In winning the Stanley Cup last year, the Caps avoided one of the bleakest days on the hockey calendar, the exit interview/breakdown day that comes a day or two after a team has been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Capitals still conducted such a day in 2018, but they did so on June 13, the day after a massive and jubilant Stanley Cup parade in downtown D.C.
Brock McGinn kept his team alive by sweeping a loose puck out of the Carolina crease late in regulation, and he scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 victory over the Capitals in Game 7 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series between the two Metropolitan Division rivals.
Old Number Seven - The Capitals find themselves in familiar territory on Wednesday as they get set to host a decisive Game 7 in a Stanley Cup playoff series, this one to settle their first-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Since Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin started their NHL postseason careers in 2008, Wednesday's Game 7 is the 12th one they will have played in together, a record for two NHL teammates.
Fade To Blue - The start was there, but that was it. The Caps had a pair of precious one-goal leads - the first leads any road team has forged in this series - in the first period of Game 6 in Raleigh on Monday night. But Washington was unable to add to or to protect either of those leads. And as the game wore on, it was unable to match the desperation and drive shown by its hosts, the Carolina Hurricanes. The result was a 5-2 loss to the Canes, and a deciding Game 7 back in Washington on Wednesday night.
With a chance to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in Monday's Game 6 against the Hurricanes in Carolina, the Caps managed a decent enough start. But their failure to add to the first leads a road team has owned in this series - combined with some self-inflicted wounds and a controversial disallowed goal - left them short at the end.
Close The Door - The Caps come into Game 6 of their first-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes on the heels of their best performance of the series, a 6-0 win in Game 5 on Saturday night in Washington. That victory broke a 2-2 series deadlock and gives the Caps an opportunity to close out the Canes in Carolina in Monday's Game 6.