Caps fans, players brimming with enthusiasm: 'It's the best time of the year'

The Capitals' Stanley Cup run was one for the ages in 2018, an occasion many fans thought may never come.

Almost from the time the Caps hoisted the Cup, the question shifted to: Can they do it again?

The time to answer that question is drawing near, one month out from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Caps – winners of five straight, four since the trade deadline – look like they've kicked it into gear.

"That trade deadline for everybody is a stressful time, especially for guys who, you start hearing your name a little bit in some talks and you prepare for maybe something to happen," Caps winger Brett Connolly said during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, presented by F.H. Furr.

"But once it finishes and once everybody's settled in, and we know our team moving forward," he said, "I think you kind of just settle in and you just go out there and play.

"I think it's been good for our team, good for a few individuals. We obviously won last year. Mac went out and got a couple depth pieces to add to our group, who was already very talented and obviously proved that last year. It's good to get past the trade deadline and know what your team is and just work towards really building and playing good hockey at the right time of the year."

Connolly has noticed an extra pep in the step of his teammates since the deadline, and has even seen the fanbase – beaming with hope to replicate the unbridled joy of 2018 – become more engaged.

"We're all really excited. It's the best time of the year right now," he said. "Guys are more energized coming to the rink and you see it. We're a month away here from the playoffs. We all know how fun it was last year, everyone in this city knows how fun, and the fans are starting to get a little more engaged and get a little more excited for that time of the year, so it's gonna be a lot of fun.

"Hopefully we can build off what we did last year and do the same things, and not put too much pressure on ourselves. Just go out there and play the same way and play the right way and see what happens."

"Anything can happen in the playoffs," he said. "So it's an exciting time to be a Capitals player, fans and we're really excited."

Anything can happen, even that one thing that eluded the Caps for so many years.

Now they're playing with the confidence of a team that knows anything can happen, too.

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