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Washington Capitals

Conference: Eastern

Division: Metropolitan

Stadium: Capital One Arena (capacity 20,356)

Head Coach: Spencer Carbery (2023-present)

Starting Goaltender: Darcy Kuemper/Charlie Lindgren

Star Players: Dylan Strome (C), Tom Wilson (RW), Alex Ovechkin (LW)

2022-23 Regular Season: 35-37-10 (13th in Eastern Conference)

2023 Playoffs: Did not qualify

Legendary Former Players: Peter Bondra (RW), Nicklas Backstrom (C), Mike Gartner (RW), Kevin Hatcher (D), Dale Hunter (C)

Stanley Cups (NHL Championships): 1 - 2018

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals led a pretty forgettable existence in the time between joining the NHL in 1974 as part of the post-Original Six expansions of the league and 1990, when they made their first-ever run to the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating their local rivals the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers en route. The Capitals were easily swept by the powerful Boston Bruins, but things seemed in place for the team to push on in the years to come. Unfortunately (for the Capitals), this period coincided with the rise of Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins, who seemed to play the Capitals every year in the early 1990s, sending them off to the golf course early on every single occasion. The breakthrough finally came in 1998, when the team from D.C. upset the Bruins in a six-game series before downing the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres to reach the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Capitals found themselves up against a high-powered Detroit Red Wings team who rolled over them in four games to sweep the series. Disappointed, the Capitals returned in subsequent years to their favorite hobby: losing in the playoffs to the Penguins. Buoyed by the extraordinary talents of career-Capital Alex Ovechkin, however, the team stayed competitive, making the playoffs consistently and winning back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 (though crashing out in the playoffs in both years to – you guessed it – the Pittsburgh Penguins). Glory came at long last in 2018, when the Capitals not only managed (finally) to beat the Penguins, but won the Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven to set up a Stanley Cup Finals showdown with a group of upstart newcomers known as the Vegas Golden Knights. The Capitals were in no mood for a Cinderella story, though, and took the series in five games to bring their first-ever Stanley Cup back to D.C. after 44 years of trying. The team has tailed off a bit since, even missing the playoffs last year, but with Ovechkin still in the lineup (trying to chase down Wayne Gretzky’s goals record), it would not be a surprise to see the Capitals rise again (if they can beat the Penguins).

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