19 years.

It's been 19 years since the Washington Capitals made a surprising spring run to the Stanley Cup Finals against a powerful Detroit Red Wings team that resulted in a series sweep for the Hockeytown faithful.

Since then the Capitals, despite consistently ranking among the top regular season teams in the National Hockey League, haven't advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

Many observers have called this Capitals team the best ever constructed. It dominated the regular season en route to a second consecutive Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top regular season team. So is this finally the year?

Teams that win the Presidents' Trophy have about a 26 percent chance of winning Lord Stanley's Cup, and of the five teams who've previously repeated as regular season champs, three have gone on to capture spring glory.

The Capitals open the first round Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and if they advance will face the winner of the highly anticipated Penguins-Blue Jackets series. All that just to get out of the second round for the first time in 19 years.

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