The Capitals’ reputation as a team that can’t get it done in the playoffs is well-established. Considering Alex Ovechkin’s, Nicklas Backstrom’s and Mike Green’s impressive postseason numbers, it’s somewhat of a mystery. Here’s a look at how each playoff exit happened, with some help from ex-coach Bruce Boudreau:
Regular-season record: 43-31-8, 94 points
Playoff seed: 3rd
When Boudreau took over for Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving Day, the Caps were floundering. They turned things around quickly and finished the season with an 11-1 spurt to win the Southeast Division.
Facing the Philadelphia Flyers, who had one more point and were favored in the series, the Caps fell behind 3-1 before forcing Game 7 at home. Defenseman Tom Poti took a tripping penalty in overtime, and Joffrey Lupul scored the series winner on Philadelphia’s power play.
Regular-season record: 50-24-8, 108 points
Playoff seed: 2nd
Varlamov wasn’t himself late in the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It was Varly’s rookie year and he played a lot of games in succession. I thought maybe after Game 4 he was looking week, but I didn’t pull him,” Boudreau said. “If I’d have pulled him after Game 4 and put Theo in, I think we would have at least had a rested Varly for 6 and 7 because Game 7 he was horrible, Game 6 was a [5-4 overtime win]. Again, he looked weak.”
He allowed four goals on 18 shots in 23 minutes as the Caps got blown out 6-2 in Game 7.
Regular-season record: 54-15-13, 121 points