At long last, hockey is almost back! The Capitals begin the 2020 postseason on Aug. 3, nearly five months after the 2019-20 season was initially paused due to the coronavirus. That’s a long time ago. Let’s take a look back at the biggest stories of the 2019-20 season to refresh our memories before the Caps continue their quest for a second Stanley Cup.
With the regular season officially over, the Capitals are the Metropolitan Division winners for the fifth consecutive season, but just barely.
From the start of the season to Dec. 22, Washington was the best team in the league with a 26-6-5 record. That was five points clear of the St. Louis Blues and six points clear of the Boston Bruins. From Dec. 23 to the pause, however, the Caps really struggled. After starting off 26-6-5, Washington went 15-14-3. To make matters worse, the Philadelphia Flyers were suddenly one of the hottest teams in the NHL and hot on the heels of the Caps in the division standings.
A race that looked like it was already over in December was suddenly heating up.
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On March 9, the Caps had to rally from a 2-0 third-period deficit against the Buffalo Sabres just to salvage a point. The next day with a chance to claim the division lead, Philadelphia lost 2-0 to the Boston Bruins. That was the final game either team would play.
Two third period goals from Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov in a shootout loss to one of the worst teams in the NHL proved to be the difference for the Caps.
Had the season played out as scheduled or even if just another five games had been played, Washington almost certainly would have lost the division to the Flyers. Heck, had both teams played one more game, Philadelphia may have won it.
Time, however, was on the Caps’ side and their fifth consecutive division title is now the longest run of division titles for Washington in franchise history.
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