The Caps waited two long years to return to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Just how long? Coach Bruce Boudreau will tell you.
"If I wasn't coaching in this series, I'd be picking my hair out 'cause I'd be brooding somewhere," Boudreau said.
The Caps clinched their series against the New York Rangers in five games, but every other first round series in the East went to seven. So, the Caps spent a week resting and practicing for an undecided opponent.
"It's amazing quite frankly, the difference of knowing who your opponent is and not knowing," Boudreau said. "You're sort of waiting and lost in space."
With Montreal's overtime loss to Boston, it all came down to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Sean Bergenheim put the Bolts on the board, and goalie Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves to shut out the Penguins and clinch the series.
"The experience is there, he seems like he competes every night," defenseman Mike Green said. "He's going to make it tough on us I know, but as long as we get pucks in the net and bodies in front of him, it doesn't matter who's in net."
The Caps square off with the Lightning in Game 1 Friday night at 7 o'clock.