One team, the Washington Capitals, managed to finally slay the beast known as the Pittsburgh Penguins in an NHL Playoffs series. Another team, the Toronto Raptors, was unable to stand against their tormentors – LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Capitals have lost in a playoff series to the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, both times in the second round. Both times the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup, while the Capitals, a franchise without a Stanley Cup trophy, extended their conference finals drought. Their last appearance in the conference finals? 1998, making it to the Stanley Cup finals, only to get swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Overall, in the Ovechkin-Crosby era, the Capitals have faced the Penguins 3 times in the postseason, losing all 3 times in the second round, when all 3 times (the first one in 2009) resulted in Pittsburgh winning it all.
In the NBA, the #1 seeded Toronto Raptors weren’t so fortunate. Heading into game 4 in Cleveland, already trailing 3-0, it was clear that a win wasn’t going to turn the series, but only delay the inevitable.
The Raptors were blown out by 35 points in game 4, completing a second consecutive sweep by the Cavaliers over the Toronto team, when in 2016 it took the Cavs six games to beat the Raptors in the conference finals. Despite their regular season success and consistency, the hurdle known as LeBron James has been too much to handle for Dwane Casey, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and the changing crew around them.