It seems for most of this past decade (2010’s), the Washington Capitals have had the misfortune of being the opposing team when the Stanley Cup winner raises their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters. That is certainly the case again for the 2019-20 season, when the Caps open the season in St Louis on Wednesday, the same day the Blues will raise their banner. Here’s a look at the last decade of witnessed banner raisings:
The Caps opened up the 2013-14 season on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 1, 2013. The Chicago Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup for the 2012-13 season and, prior to the game, held a 30-minute Banner Raising Ceremony at the United Center.
The Blackhawks won a very see-saw game that started off with the Blackhawks scoring and the Caps responding with an equalizer on at least three occasions. The Caps at one point lead 4-3 early in the third period. But the Blackhawks scored three unanswered goals after that, including an empty net goal at the end for a final score of 6-4. Center Mikhail Grabovski had a hat trick for the Caps in the losing cause.
This game was a harbinger of the Caps’ season in that defense would be an issue and that no lead was safe. The Caps ended up with a 38-30-14 record and missed the playoffs entirely. The Blackhawks were 46–21–15 for the season, finished third in the Central Division but advanced to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in seven games. Kings ended up winning the Stanley Cup Finals for 2013-14.
The Caps opened up the 2016-17 season on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 13, 2016. The Penguins had won the Stanley Cup for the 2015-16 season. The season was opening relatively late due to holding the World Cup that season.
In this game, Andre Burakovsky opened the scoring early in the game but then Pittsburgh scored the equalizer later during first period. Pittsburgh scored a go ahead goal during the second period. But the Caps tied it up in the third period, thanks to Burakovsky. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, proceeded to overtime and then to a shootout which the Penguins won 3-2.
The Caps ended up with a 55-19-8 record for the season and won the President’s Trophy. The Penguins ended up with a 50-21-11 record for the season and finished second in the Metropolitan Division and beat the Caps in the second round of the playoffs and and ultimately repeated as Stanley Cup Champions for the 2016-17 season.
The good stuff is here.
The Caps are to face the Stanley Cup winner in their opening game for the third time this decade. This time, they face the St Louis Blues on October 2.
By Diane Doyle