Let’s just assume the Capitals, down 3-0 to Tampa Bay, lose this playoff series. Maybe not tonight, and maybe not in Game 5, but lose it they will.
That would leave them with one playoff series victory in these 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It would be disappointing for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, certainly, but not out of line with the performances of 1 seeds since the lockout that canceled the 2004-05 season.
Over the past five years, No. 1 seeds have averaged just 1.3 playoff series wins. The only No. 1 to break through and win it all was the Red Wings in 2008. Three No. 1s, including the 2010 Caps, failed to win a series, and three No. 1s won just one series.
Of course, this would be the second straight season the Caps entered the playoffs as a 1 and exited without so much as a finals appearance. The same happened to Detroit in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 they won the Cup. It also happened to San Jose in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 they are still playing.
(Image taken with love from the Washington Examiner.)