About Washington Capitals
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The Washington Capitals were part of a two team expansion of the National Hockey League for the 1974–75 season. The other team was the Kansas City Scouts, who became the Colorado Rackies and, in 1982, the New Jersey Nets. The Capitals first season was, even by the low standards set by other NHL expansion franchises in their first seasons, ugly. The team finished the 80-game regular season with a record of 8–67–5. The .131 winning percentage set a record (for teams playing at least 70 games) that still stands today. Things could only get better.
The Washington Capitals made it to the post-season for the first time in 1982-83, its ninth season in the league. They lost the opening round 5-game series 1-3 to the New York Islanders. It was a quick end to the team’s postseason, but not to the Capitals appearance in the playoffs. The team did not miss the playoffs again until 1997-98. The next season they squeaked into the postseasons with 92 points, good for third place in their division, and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. On their road to being swept in straight games by the Detroit Red Wings, the Capitals ended the Cup dreams of the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres, winning the only Conference title in the history of the franchise.
Post-lockout the Washington Capitals have had two poor seasons and one surprisingly good one. The 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons ended with identical finishes: 70 points, 5th place and no playoffs. Then, in the 2007-08 season, the team took the division title with 94 points, only to lose a bruising Quarterfinal series in 7 games to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The 2007-08 season was remarkable for a number of reasons. After starting 6–14–1, head coach Glen Hanlon was fired and replaced by Bruce Boudreau, head coach of the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Despite a young defense and injuries to Michael Nylander and Brian Pothier, the team managed a memorable turnaround aided by league-highest goal scoring from both offensive (Ovechkin: 65 goals) and defensive (Mike Green: 18 goals) players. Down to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 in the Quarterfinals, the team came back to force a 7th game which they lost 3-2 in double overtime.
The Washington Capitals are in the Southeast Division of the 3-division Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League
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