A throwaway line from a Capitals Insider post on Saturday night may hold more meaning than its parenthetical aside nature originally intended. The line:
“(Weird, meaningless fact: The Caps' season began and ended with a 7-4 loss.)”
That season-beginning loss, of course, was what turned out to be a minor setback in Atlanta. The Caps went 50-23-8 after that game, compiling the fourth-best record in the NHL. We weren’t worried about that loss, and we aren’t worried about this meaningless season-closing contest against the non-playoff-bound Panthers.
Then, as now, prophets of doom reacted to a 7-4 defeat with their well-prepared statements of optimism-hating: Jose Theodore stinks and was a disastrous signing, the defense is incompetent, George McPhee assembled a team incapable of winning anything.
So perhaps it was appropriate that the regular season was bookended by losses of the same score, to remind us how the naysayers were proven wrong in October, and how they can be proven wrong again in April, May, and June. The Caps rebounded nicely from that dark night in the early fall to put together a historical season. There’s no reason they can’t rebound again and put together a historical post-season.