Capitals would have gone the distance in NHL playoffs

Washington Capitals (Photo by Avi Gerver/Getty Images)
Washington Capitals (Photo by Avi Gerver/Getty Images) /

Today was supposed to be an exciting day for Washington Capitals fans. Their journey to their second Stanley Cup would have begun.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs would’ve likely been tonight or tomorrow night at Capital One Arena. Instead, the Washington Capitals like the other 30 teams are waiting on the NHL’s decision on whether or not to resume the season.

Could that mean finishing out the regular season or jumping straight to the playoffs? An encouraging sign is the NHL is determined to award the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. A discouraging sign is everything is still in limbo.

Garnet Hathaway recently said on NBC Sports Washington’s Capitals Talk podcast, which you can listen to here, that the team was starting to find their chemistry. It’s unknown now if that chemistry would have been the same togetherness that the 2017-18 Stanley Cup team showed.

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Watching that team from afar with a keen eye both as a fan and a writer, something was truly different about that team from the moment Alex Ovechkin arrived prior to training camp looking like he was in game shape.

We all know the rest of the story. Ovechkin finished with 49 goals that season and 51 the next year. Now he’s stuck at 48 and there’s no telling if he would have another 50-goal season in him.

Speaking of Ovechkin, how many goals would he have finished the season with? I would guess somewhere around the 56-goal range with the way he heated up in mid-January on his quest to 700 goals. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

Who would the Caps have faced tonight in an alternate universe if the playoffs were to start today? Looking at the standings, the Caps would’ve had a rematch from last year with the Carolina Hurricanes.

But what if the Hurricanes falter down the stretch. If that’s the case there is still those tough matchups in John Tortorella’s Columbus Blue Jackets or dare me to say it, Barry Trotz’s New York Islanders.

The New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers also join the Islanders as being on the outside looking in and it would’ve been a fight to the finish in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

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But instead, we’re sitting here, just like you are, waiting for the season to come back if at all possible. We watch old games from 2018 hoping this team, if it comes back, can replicate the same success.