Capitals eliminated yet again by Penguins, face uncertain future

The Capitals fell to 1-9 in the playoffs in best-of-7 series against the Penguins. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

This year’s postseason meeting between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins marked the 10th time the two teams faced off in the postseason and the ninth time that the Penguins came out on top.

At 1-9, the Capitals now have a .100 postseason series win percentage against the Penguins. That marks the worst series win percentage in Stanley Cup playoff history against any one opponent among teams that have met at least five times in a best-of-seven series.

Beating the Capitals has been a prerequisite of the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup. The Penguins have never won a Stanley Cup without beating the Capitals in the playoffs during their championship runs (1991, 1992, 2009 and 2016).

Caps can’t get over the hump

The Capitals have not been to the conference finals since 1998. This is the sixth time they’ve reached the second round of the postseason.

Elias Sports Bureau research shows that Alex Ovechkin ranks second in career goals among players to never have played in a conference finals or Stanley Cup Finals. His 558 goals trail only Marcel Dionne (731).

The Capitals hired Barry Trotz before the 2014-15 season. Before that, Trotz coached the Predators since the franchise began in 1998-99. Despite his regular-season success, he has never made a Conference finals. Elias notes that Trotz has the most regular-season wins among head coaches to never reach a conference finals or Stanley Cup finals (713).

What's next?

This offseason, the Capitals will face some tough decisions as several key players become unrestricted free agents.

T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams and Karl Alzner combined for 173 points this season, and it is possible none of them play in Washington next season.

The Capitals will also lose a player to the expansion draft during the offseason, taking place June 18-20. Selections will be announced June 21. Las Vegas must select one player from each team for a total of 30 players.

Every franchise is able to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender.

George McPhee, general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, held the same position for the Capitals for 17 years until being fired in April 2014.