The year is 1994. Bill Clinton is in the White House, the Dallas Cowboys (yes it was so long ago they actually made the Super Bowl!) hand the Buffalo Bills their fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss, 30–13, Nancy Kerrigan is clubbed on the right leg by an assailant, under orders from figure skating rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband. Kurt Cobain, songwriter and frontman for the band Nirvana, is found dead at his Lake Washington home. He is believed to have committed suicide three days before he was found. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered outside the Simpson home in Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson is later acquitted of the killings, but is held liable in a civil suit.
Many interesting things happened in that year. It was also the last and only time that the Caps beat the Pens in the Playoffs until now. The Pens are now 9-2 against the Caps all time in the Playoffs. These are the all time stats for the series;
The last time the Caps got a “W” against the Pens in the Playoffs these girls were in grade school
Let’s look at some other stats of this rivalry and what this loss means for the Pens. It’s been 8,777 days since the Caps beat the Pens in the post-season. Now that’s not as impressive as the 15,685 days since the Flyers won the Cup but its quite a long time. This loss also ends the Pens streak of 9 consecutive playoff series wins. The Pens have been Cup champions for 695 days. The Pens and Caps have met in the Playoffs in 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2016, 2017, and now 2018. All since the 1994 series the Pens have won. This is the Caps’ Cup. Ted has pen(i)s envy. They beat the Pens and now move on to face Tampa and most likely get shit stomped.
“No thanks we already won OUR Cup this year!”
Let’s not kid ourselves as the Caps were due statistically and on the ice. They did not faulter, they did not choke, they did not underachieve, they did not shoot themselves in the foot. The Pens after 61 playoff games in 3 years did not come through like they have in the past 2 years. While we CANNOT blame all of this on MAF or Cole leaving alone or say had they been here the Pens would have been playing Tampa on Friday. In this day and age you cannot be successful and keep every player. The salary cap ensures that. Management made moves and several didn’t payoff where in years before they did. Injuries happens. And yes, the Caps showed up and won. Sid and Jake cannot solely carry this team. Malkin was dinged up and I guarantee you it will come out that Phil is hurt. You cannot lift a Stanley Cup filled with hot dogs year after year and not hurt yourself.
And also we cannot sit here and act like this isn’t huge for the Caps to beat the Pens. We like to act like we own the Flyers but history says other wise. The Penguins had a 42-game winless streak at the Spectrum from February 7, 1974, through February 2, 1989, the Penguins were 0–39–3 at the Spectrum. From 1967–1989, Philadelphia went 86–36–19 against Pittsburgh. Here are those all time stats;
Now we take it for granted we will beat them. In fact Scott Paulson and Jim Krenn, from DVE morning show went toe Philadelphia and found a way onto the ice in the Spectrum in full witch doctor garbs to lift the hex.
This modern group of Caps have done it. This is deserving of a post!
We have won 11 in a row. A franchise record. We are now first in the East. We are TEN POINTS ahead of New Jersey who is in second place. We are first in our division, 25 points ahead of our nearest competition. And we are now FIRST in the NHL with 82 points. Click here and see. We are first in the NHL in goals scored. And first in a bunch of other team and individual stats. For just today we have arrived. We don’t have miles to go before we sleep. We have arrived. Savor it. Enjoy it. Please for just one day. I beg of you. No negative emails. No negative vibes. Tomorrow all bets are off. We can worry, we can vent, and we can go back to our individual dark places. But for 24 hours I declare a no fly zone on negativity and unhappiness. We deserve our success. We are what our record says we are. At least for one shining moment. Ok back to work. Go Caps. I hope you are as proud as I am.
So let’s look at who is left in these Playoffs to take out the Caps;
Tampa is the only team remaining that has won a Cup.
This is the first time the Caps have made it past the 2nd round since 1998. If they win ONE game in the Finals they will have increased their Finals win total instantly.
This year is the first time either iteration of the Jets has won a Playoff series.
Nashville hasn’t won a Cup either…..I think we all know why;
And lastly we have the Knights. Yeah, one season in with a stacked roster that Gary ensured would win to make expansion work.
In conclusion look at the bright side. The Pens reign as Champs has ended after 2 seasons. It was the first time a team had won the Cup back-to-back since the Wings did it in 1997 to 1998. All good things must come to an end.