What Is the Best Moment in Capitals’ History?

Posted July 26, 2010

Washington Capitals fans have more to be upset about in their history than they have to celebrate. Capitals Outsider readers picked the 2010 playoffs to be the worst moment in Capitals’ history in last week’s poll, with Esa Tikkanen’s missed shot in the 1998 Finals coming in a distant second. But let’s forget about those bad moments for a minute and vote on the best moment in Capitals’ history. This past year, a DVD came out of what they call Washington’s ten greatest games in franchise history. We’ll include most of those, plus other noteworthy moments, and you can vote on the best moment at the bottom.

1988 – Patrick Division Semi-final

The Caps rallied from a 3-1 series deficit against Philadelphia as Dale Hunter scored a breakaway OT game-winner against reigning playoff MVP Ron Hextall.

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 6 Philadelphia 4 Washington 2
April 7 Philadelphia 4 Washington 5
April 9 Washington 3 Philadelphia 4
April 10 Washington 4 Philadelphia 5
April 12 Philadelphia 2 Washington 5
April 14 Washington 7 Philadelphia 2
April 16 Philadelphia 3 Washington 4 OT

1990 – John Druce Steps Up

The Capitals walked past the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, and the New York Rangers, 4-1, to advance to their first Wales Conference Finals. John Druce stunned the NHL with 14 playoff goals in 15 games.

1994 – Eastern Conference Quarter-finals

For all the times the Capitals lost to the Penguins in the playoffs, they did beat them in 1994. Washington was 7th-seeded and the Penguins, 2nd.

1998 Eastern Conference Finals

Joe Juneau scored the game-winner in OT against Buffalo to send the Caps to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Eastern Conference Quarter-finals

Boston vs. Washington
Date Away Home Notes
April 22 Boston 1 3 Washington
April 24 Boston 4 3 Washington 2OT
April 26 Washington 3 2 Boston 2OT
April 28 Washington 3 0 Boston
May 1 Boston 4 0 Washington
May 3 Washington 3 2 Boston OT
Washington wins series 4–2

Eastern Conference Semi-finals

Ottawa vs. Washington
Date Away Home Notes
May 7 Ottawa 2 4 Washington
May 9 Ottawa 1 6 Washington
May 11 Washington 3 4 Ottawa
May 13 Washington 2 0 Ottawa
May 15 Ottawa 0 3 Washington
Washington win series 4–1

Eastern Conference Finals

Buffalo vs. Washington
Date Away Home Notes
May 23 Buffalo 2 0 Washington
May 25 Buffalo 2 3 Washington OT
May 28 Washington 4 3 Buffalo OT
May 30 Washington 2 0 Buffalo
June 2 Buffalo 2 1 Washington
June 4 Washington 3 2 Buffalo OT
Washington wins series 4–2 and Prince of Wales Trophy

2004 NHL Entry Draft

With the first pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals select: Alexander Ovechkin. Also Jeff Schultz, Mike Green, and Chris Bourque.

Oct. 5, 2005 – Ovechkin’s NHL Debut

Ovechkin’s first shift in the NHL had him checking a Blue Jacket so hard into the boards that the glass became dislodged. Later, he scored twice to lead the Caps to a 3-2 victory, making an instant impact for the team and the league.

Jan 16, 2006 – The Goal in Phoenix

Alex Ovechkin scored one of the most incredible goals of all time, in front of Wayne Gretzky, as he fell on his back, swept the stick over his head and swatted the puck past the goaltender. The real significance of this goal was the incredible PR for Ovechkin, the Capitals, and the NHL.

Jan. 31, 2008 – Ovie Breaks Nose, Scores 4 Goals

In one of the most amazing displays of athleticism in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin broke his nose, scored four goals, and had the game-winning assist in a 5-4 victory against Montreal.

2008 Down the Stretch

The Caps won 11 of the final 12 regular season games to become the first team in NHL history to make the playoffs after being ranked 14th or lower in the conference standings at the season’s midpoint. The Caps edged out the Hurricanes for the Southeast Division title in the final game of the season.

2009-10 – Presidents’ Trophy Winners

The Capitals dominated the regular season in 2009-10, exceeding all expectations in those 82 games.

Honorable mention

  • Abe Pollin gets Washington a team
  • Ted Leonsis buys the team
  • The Langway trade

The Capitals, Ovechkin especially, had many other great moments, including clutch hat-tricks, amazing goals, milestone goals, trophies, etc., but we’re sure this list already includes ‘the best moment’ even if we expanded the list. Let us know in the comments what you think should’ve absolutely been included.

What is the best moment in Washington history?

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