Losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in a heartbreakingly epic seven game series last year did this team a lot of good. You have to lose in order to know how to win, and with some key additions last summer and trades throughout the season, the Caps have been winning. A lot. They have a maturity they never needed to have before. All of their young, somewhat naive players got a taste of victory in the post season with a first round victory over the New York Rangers. And this spring they'll be back for more. Anything short of the finals would be considered a disappointment, and the Caps won't be fully satisfied until they have a parade down Constitution Ave. Until that parade, they will have to answer questions about defense and goaltending. The only way to shut up their critics is to win hockey's Holy Grail, and this team is more than eager to hear that silence.
Only one goal left to make this the most successful team in the franchise's 35 year history.