The track record was still long and sad. But the most important number was zero, as in the number of times they advanced beyond the second round.
This time, the other 30 teams were only allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. They beat an expansion team in the Cup Finals in its inaugural season. Lars Eller than pounded home a loose puck with 7:37 left after Brett Connolly's shot leaked through Fleury's pads and that stood up as the Cup-winning goal.
But the Knights responded once again 2:42 later, this time on a insane play where Tomas Tatar redirected Miller's shot in off Perron, who was battling with Capitals defenceman Christian Djoos and eventually ended up in the net with the puck for his first of the post-season.
"It's like the franchise was star-struck", said David Poile, who was Washington's general manager from 1982-1995.
As the Capitals streamed off the bench to pig-pile goaltender Braden Holtby at the far end of the ice, Haula stared dejectedly at them.
But surely it's not just the pre-game shows and dazzling lights of Sin City that has led to this phenomenal record? I don't think any disease is going to take this one away from him. Three of the four teams that had 10 road wins in a single postseason have won the Stanley Cup.
With one more victory, Ovechkin would finally have team success to complement his formidable individual accomplishments. There was no such falloff this time.
"I'm part of history".
"It doesn't matter what happened before", Ovechkin said through his gap-toothed grin. It's just something in it.
They had just scored two goals in seven minutes, the first being what felt like the umpteenth time of the playoffs that they answered an opponent's score immediately.
"We couldn't sell tickets", said Irene Pollin, now 93.
"I think the history of the organization is definitely an important thing, but we're focused on this group", Washington's Tom Wilson said. Then, after a few mediocre seasons, they got Alexander Ovechkin with the first pick of the 2004 National Hockey League draft, and by 2008, the Caps were a 50-win team.
Less than two weeks later, Poile changed the course of the franchise by acquiring eventual Hall of Fame defenseman Rod Langway. They got the go-ahead goal minutes later.
That became the Capitals' unwelcome hallmark. Las Vegas is 7-1 in its last eight games versus a team with a winning percentage above.600.
"This is incredible. I mean, I've grown up being disappointed and yet I still come back". "They were the better team in the series and they played great hockey". Later, though, Fleury got even by slashing Ovechkin's legs as they skated past each other.
That continued to Tikkanen in 1998 and into the "Rock the Red" era with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. "I said, 'Well we've got to win our first game of the playoffs and once we do that we're going to win the Cup, ' " Trotz said. "It's been a long time coming". He noted the turnaround seasons this year by Colorado and New Jersey.
The expansion Golden Knights ended their surprise season with the first four-game losing streak in franchise history. "You couldn't write the story better".
One city had been waiting 48 years for this. I'm in the right place. "You helped build the foundation a bit, but without actually getting your name on the Cup and the ring and stuff, it's a bit empty".
The ice may have been a factor - temperatures in Las Vegas hit 97 degrees, and the buidling was warmer than usual at faceoff.