I feel this article would lose all credibility if it only focused on the cheerful of the most unbelievable moments involving the Washington Capitals.
Let's face it Caps fans: The past 39 years have held more tragedy than triumph for our boys.
The Caps have had so many playoff failures that it is hard to pick just one as the most heartbreaking.
We already talked about the multiple disasters against the New York Islanders.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are another level of a nightmare altogether for the Caps as Washington has lost seven of the eight playoff series against the Pens, including blowing a 3-1 series lead twice and blowing a 2-0 series lead twice more.
As for pure unbelievability, nothing can top what happened in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. I am not sure if I have invented this phrase—I kind of doubt it—but it is something I call The Montreal Meltdown.
The 2009-10 Washington Capitals were not just good—they were great. They won the Presidents' Trophy with a record of 54-15-13, amassing 121 points along the way and becoming the first non-Original Six team to crack the 120 point barrier.
The team was absolutely loaded with talent, and they had weapons up and down the lineup. Alexander Ovechkin was playing better than ever, as were Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green. If ever a Caps team seemed destined for greatness, it was this one.
When the playoffs began, the Caps drew the No. 8 seed, the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps had finished the regular season 33 points better than the Habs. Nevertheless, the Caps and Canadiens split the four regular-season battles they had that season.
In retrospect, perhaps what transpired was not such a surprise at all.
Yeah right...who am I kidding.
Problems began in Game 1 when the Caps lost in overtime, 3-2.
In Game 2, the Caps had to rally from a three-goal deficit to win in overtime, 6-5.
After the Caps won Games 3 and 4 in Montreal to take a 3-1 series lead, it was all over, except the shouting.
But, as Caps fans know, nothing is ever that easy.
In Game 5, the Caps came out flat, never found their rhythm and lost, 2-1.
In Game 6, the Caps threw everything they possibly could at Canadiens' goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak had other ideas, though, as he stopped 53 of 54 shots fired on him, and Montreal tied the series at 3-3 with a 4-1 win.
At that point the entire series was already bordering on unbelievable. Game 7, however, was another realm of incredulity entirely.
Just over halfway through the first period, Alexander Semin had a glorious opportunity to score. But, as was often the case with Semin in the playoffs, he fell short, striking the post.
Then there was the Caps' power play. The Caps had the best power play in the NHL during the regular season. Against the Habs though, the power play went a pathetic 1-for-33. In Game 7, the Caps had four more power-play opportunities and they failed each and every time.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens capitalized on one of their power-play chances and held a 1-0 lead into the third period.
In the opening moments of the third period, it looked like the Caps had tied the game at 1-1, but a very controversial goalie interference call nullified the score.
As the third period rolled on, the Caps had chance after chance after chance—but Halak stopped them at every turn.
The Habs took a 2-0 lead with just under four minutes to go. Brooks Laich finally got one past Halak to make it 2-1, and the Caps would get a glorious power-play chance in the closing moments with a chance to tie the game and extend the season.
It never happened, and the Canadiens became the first No. 8 seed to rally from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat a No. 1 seed.
Halak ended up stopping 131 of 134 shots over the final three games. The Caps simply did not know how to excel in a playoff game when their offense was taken away from them. Many, many Caps fans felt, and still feel, that the 2009-10 Caps offered the franchise their best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.
Watching it all unravel the way it did—and having to endure one of the biggest upsets in NHL playoff history—is, unfortunately, one of the most unbelievable moments in the history of the Washington Capitals.