The Washington Capitals were one of two expansion teams to join the NHL in 1974. In the early years, the Capitals suffered the common fate of expansion teams—losing a lot of games. After setting a number of undesirable NHL records in their first season, including fewest games won (8), the Capitals struggled through nearly a decade of poor performance until they finally qualified for the playoffs in 1982-83. The team went on to become a regular presence in the playoffs, finally capturing their first division championship in the 1988-89 season.
In 1998, the Capitals made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be swept in four games by the defending champs, the Detroit Red Wings. After this near miss, the team was shifted over to the Southeast Division, then to the newly formed Metropolitan Division for the 2013-14 season. 2018 brought this hardy squad their first Stanley Cup Championship when they bested the Vegas Golden Knights in the Finals four games to one.
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