Washington Capitals give fans hope as NHL Playoffs begin Thursday night

Mike Green celebrates a game winner with Caps fans. (File photo)

It's time to Rock the Red!

Playoff hockey starts tonight for the Washington Capitals.

The New York Rangers are in town for Game One of their series with the Caps.

For most Caps fans this is an unexpected pleasure, a chance to let loose and cheer for their team in the postseason.

"They are playing great right now," says Caps fan Mary Wilkinson. "They have the momentum and they can take it all the way to the finals."

Just a few weeks ago almost no one in Caps Nation envisioned the team hosting the first round of the playoffs.

But here they were, at a morning practice at Kettler Arena. And after a horrendous start to the season, now fans are starting to believe again.

Given Washington's early exits in the playoffs in past years, fans are keeping cautiously optimistic and just enjoying every game from here on.

Perhaps no one will enjoy more than Frank Fehr, down from Manitoba, Canada. He's the father of Caps player Eric Fehr.

"I've never seen a playoff game before and it's my first playoff game with the Capitals," Fehr says.

So for at least a couple more dates at Verizon Center, the Capitals are the center of all our hopes. Hope that something unexpected but special can happen.

And it all starts tonight.