The 2007-08 Washiington Capitals were the beginning of the Rock the Red era.
But it wasn’t that way in the beginning. The Washington Capitals were in last place at Thanksgiving with a 6-14-1 record. It was the team’s worst start since the 1981-82 season. This prompted changes fast and coach Glen Hanlon was fired in favor of Bruce Boudreau. What happened next was a remarkable run that will go down in Capitals history as one of the best.
Boudreau helped turn around the franchise. After three consecutive last place finishes, the Caps came back and won the Southeast Division. In March they lost a heartbreaking game to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They could have folded.
Instead, they showed their resiliency like they had all season. They only lost one game since, going 11-1-0 to turn their season around, win the Southeast Division and make the playoffs. Prior to the season they changed their jerseys from black to red and the fans followed suit, and Rock the Red was born.
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Alex Ovechkin had a monster year, his best season statistically with astronomical numbers. The Great Eight scored 65 goals and added 47 assists for 112 points. Ovechkin even had two four goal games, one on the road against the Ottawa Senators and at home against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Caps didn’t make any splashes at the trade deadline but added a reliable goaltender in Cristobal Huet. He went 11-2-0 in the homestretch of the season with a 1.63 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.
Boudreau was the fastest coach in Capitals history to 30 wins as he finished his first season with a 37-17-7 record, an unprecedented turnaround that helped him win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year.
Back to Ovechkin, his 65 goals led the league and helped him win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Ovechkin would then be honored in D.C. and presented a key to the city.
The Caps drew the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 would prove to be memorable as the Caps came back and won thanks to Ovechkin scoring the game-winning goal. Unfortunately, the Caps would drop the next three games to go down 3-1.
They did rally to force a Game 7 but fell short in overtime, ending an incredible season that saw the team go from the basement to the top. It was the beginning of us getting spoiled with winning hockey year after year and the beginning of making D.C. into a full time hockey town.