Top Five: Postseason losses by D.C. teams over the last 20 years

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,MLB,Nationals,NHL,Capitals,College,Brian McNally

There are sports fans who wrap themselves in misery like a security blanket. It begins to define certain teams -- or in some cases, when the losing spreads across sports, entire towns. Cleveland and Buffalo come to mind. But in the 20-plus years since the Redskins won their last Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 1992, Washington isn't far behind. Here are the five most crushing postseason defeats:

5. May 1, 1992: Penguins 3, Capitals 1 (Stanley Cup playoffs, first round, Game 7, Capital Centre) » The Caps have blown plenty of 3-1 series leads in the playoffs. But this time it happened against a Penguins team that not only went on to win its second title in a row but whose players still claim that this was by far their toughest series.

4. April 28, 2010: Canadiens 2, Capitals 1 (Stanley Cup playoffs, first round, Game 7, Verizon Center) » The Caps led the NHL in goals, won 14 games in a row at one point and finished with the NHL's best record. None of it mattered after they blew a 3-1 series lead to No. 8 seed Montreal. Fans still remember an Alex Ovechkin goal 24 seconds into the third period being waved off because Mike Knuble was ruled in the goal crease.

3. Jan. 15, 2000: Buccaneers 14, Redskins 13 (NFC divisional playoff, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.) » The Redskins have made the playoffs only four times since 1991, but this team seemed legitimate after winning the NFC East with a 10-6 record. They led 13-0 late in the third quarter but gave up two touchdowns, and then a bad snap prevented them from getting off a potential game-winning 52-yard field goal with 1:17 left.

2. March 31, 2001: Duke 95, Maryland 84 (NCAA Final Four, Metrodome, Minneapolis) » After building from the rubble of NCAA probation in the early 1990s, the Terrapins not only had made it to the Final Four for the first time, but they were crushing their most hated rival in the process. But a 22-point first-half lead in a national semifinal evaporated, and Duke went on to win the game and the national title.

1. Oct. 12, 2012: Cardinal 9, Nationals 7 (National League Division Series, Game 5, Nationals Park) » It might be because it's so fresh, but this has to top the list. The Nats finished with the best record in the majors, took a 6-0 lead in the deciding Game 5 of an NL Division Series and blew a 7-5 lead in the ninth.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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Brian McNally

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner