If you could put together a checklist of everything that could have gone wrong in Game 7 for the Capitals, Washington pretty much ticked off everything on that list.
The team's young netminder, Simeon Varlamov, let in a couple of bad goals, the team's struggling defenseman, Mike Green, was benched in the third period because he "wasn't very good," according to Bruce Boudreau, and the team came unhinged in an ugly 6-2 loss to the Penguins that puts an end to the Caps' season.
Despite an uplifting Game 6 victory in Pittsburgh, the Caps came home to a raucous crowd, but the team turned in a performance that was the second-most lopsided Game 7 loss by a home team in NHL history.
The night didn't start out too badly, as Alex Ovechkin broke in on Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway just three minutes in, but he was stuffed as he was a bit too close to the keeper when he shot the puck.
But after a fairly even first 10 minutes of the game, the door opened for the Penguins when Shaone Morrisonn was whistled for slashing with 8:31 left in the first period. Pittsburgh then got a good bounce when a Sergei Gonchar shot was deflected off of Tom Poti to Sidney Crosby, who put the Penguins up with 7:24 left in the frame.
However, after the ensuing face-off, the Penguins broke in again, and Craig Adams put a puck past Varlamov for a 2-0 lead just :08 later and the Capitals were really putting themselves in a hole.
Pittsburgh finished the first period outshooting Washington 16-5, and any hope Washington had of making a run at the Penguins ended early in the second period.
Bill Guerin scored on a feed from Sidney Crowby after the Pens' star wasn't challenged on a break by Mike Green, putting a wrister past Varlamov for a 3-0 Penguins lead just :28 into the second, and then Kris Letang beat Varlamov less than two minutes later for a 4-0 Penguins' lead.
After that, Bruce Boudreau pulled the 21-year-old rookie, putting in Jose Theodore, who hadn't seen any action since losing Game 1 in the Rangers series, explaining afterwards he thought his goaltender was struggling and wanted to take him out.
Unfortunately, the change didn't do much for the Caps, as Jordan Staal pretty much ended the competitive portion of the evening with a goal with 8:23 left in the period.
Alex Ovechkin got a gift goal for his final point of the postseason late in the period, as Fleury made an errant pass right to the Caps' star, who put it in an empty net to put the Caps on the board with 1:51 left in the second period. Washington put a bit of a flurry on in the final 111 seconds, but the damage was done to the team's hopes of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Penguins made it 6-1 after Brooks Laich was called for a high-stick on Sidney Crosby just :26 into the period, and Crosby was able to take a loose puck for a breakaway as the Capitals were pressing on the disadvantage and beat Theodore with 2:02 gone in the period.
Laich did give the Caps' fans one last chance to cheer this season with a goal with 13:24 left in regulation, but the clubs played as the result was a foregone conclusion with the Penguins moving on to the next round.
The fans who remained in the stands gave the Capitals a nice salute in the final 90 seconds of their season with a standing ovation, however, and the team responded in kind after the traditional handshake by lifting their sticks to the fans.
Some interesting developments came out of the last period and postgame, as Green was held out for most of the third period, with Boudreau saying "he wasn't very good."
When asked if Green was hurt, Boudreau said he was, but declined to specify what the injury was, saying he didn't want to use injuries as an excuse - although Capitals Insider reported it was his shoulder, the one that was injured earlier this year in Anaheim.
Boudreau was asked about Ovechkin's health, and Boudreau said he was hurt as well, and he wouldn't have been playing had this been a regular-season game with an apparent groin injury.
But, with a thud, the Capitals' season comes to an end, as despite recording the most points in team history, the team ends up falling with a 7-7 playoff record, winning against the Rangers in seven games and losing to the Penguins in seven games.