NHL Team Guide: Washington Capitals

NHL Team Guide: Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals were part of the NHL’s expansion in 1974 joining the league alongside the Kansas City Scouts. Despite a relatively short NHL existence, the Capitals have enjoyed their fair share of success and won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2017-18.

Washington fans enjoy a Capitals TV schedule that includes a number of nationally televised games on NBC and NBCSN. Most of the Capitals complete schedule is available on NBC Sports Washington (NBCSW). Fans can also stream games through NBCSW and NHL.com.

NHL Standings

When the Capitals entered the league in 1974, the NHL realigned to four divisions in two conferences. Washington was a member of the Norris Division in the Wales Conference. After a move to the Campbell Conference, the Capitals returned to the Wales Conference in the early 1980s. The Wales Conference eventually became the Eastern Conference of which the Capitals are a member. They now play in the Metropolitan Division along with Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the New York Rangers and Islanders, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Championship History

The Capitals have made 29 playoff appearances in their 46-year history. They have qualified for the postseason the last six years straight and in 10 of the past 11. There have been 12 division championships in franchise history: 1988-89, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19.

Washington has won two Eastern Conference championships, 1997-98 and twenty years later in 2017-18. The Capitals have won just one Stanley Cup (2017-18). They have won three President’s Trophies (2009-10, 2015-16, and 2016-17).

The Capitals Home

Washington originally played its home games at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, a D.C. suburb. In 1997, the Capitals moved into their new home appropriately named the Capital One Arena. It is located in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. and seats 20,656 fans for hockey games.

Best of the Capitals

The top two scorers in Capitals history will one day be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are not in the Hall yet because they are still playing for Washington. Backstrom was the fourth overall pick of the 2006 draft. He has played his entire 13-year career in the nation’s capital and has totaled 873 career points. His 642 assists are the best in franchise history. Backstrom began a streak of at least 50 assists per season in 2013-14. He is well known for his playmaking abilities.

Ovechkin was the first overall selection of the 2004 NHL draft. He has won more Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies – given annually to the league’s top goal scorer – than any player in NHL history (eight). Ovechkin has scored 50 or more goals in eight of his 15 seasons with Washington. He leads the franchise in scoring with 1,211 points and is tops in goals with 658. Ovechkin is second to Backstrom in career assists (553).

Ovechkin has won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL MVP three times, three Ted Lindsay Awards, an Art Ross Trophy (NHL points leader), a Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year), and one Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the NHL playoffs in 2017-18. That, of course, is the year the Capitals won the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup.

Author: Dan Anderson