On April 21, 2010, the Washington Capitals were poised to put away the Montreal Canadiens, leading the first-round playoff series 3-1. Just seven days later, the Habs stunned the hockey world, winning three games in a row to take the series, all while holding the regular-season offensive juggernaut -- 3.82 goals per game, the highest mark since the lockout -- to two goals or fewer in each of those games.
Given the disparity of Washington's 121 points, plus-85 goal differential and .738 point percentage to Montreal's 88 points, minus-6 goal differential and .537 point percentage, it appeared to be the biggest upset in recent playoff history. Until ...
You would have thought the Capitals had hit rock bottom last April, but this season's playoff exit -- a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a division rival and bottom-four seed -- has provided a new kind of humiliation.
The Lightning were a legit team this season, quickly rebuilt from an Eastern Conference cellar dweller through bold moves by new GM Steve Yzerman. Just based on the teams' records, Tampa had a solid 44 percent chance to advance past the Caps. In that context, the Caps' loss isn't altogether astonishing. However, there's a big difference between losing in six or seven games to a roughly equal team compared to getting skunked.