Boudreau coaching timeline

Two days after a humbling loss to a depleted Sabres squad, the struggling Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau as head coach, replacing him with Dale Hunter.

In his four-plus seasons behind the Capitals' bench, Boudreau posted a regular season record of 201-88-40 in 329 regular season games, recently becoming the fastest coach to record 200 regular season victories. Below is a timeline of his tenure with the Capitals.

Nov. 22, 2007

(Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

The last-place Capitals fire Glen Hanlon after a 5-1 rout to the Atlanta Thrashers at home. The defeat was Washington's fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games, and dealt crushing blows to the players' confidence and the team's playoff hopes.

Bruce Boudreau, coach of the franchise's American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Pa., takes over the 6-14-1 Capitals.

Nov. 23, 2007

Boudreau wins his NHL coaching debut, an emotional, 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Once they taste success, you get hungrier for it because it's great to be happy," Boudreau said of the win. "When you're losing, you get dejected. Life is no fun. There's a lot to work on, but it's a great start."

Dec. 26, 2007

The Capitals remove the "interim" from Boudreau's title after a five-week evaluation period in which he guided the last-place club to a 7-5-3 record.

"There was just something about it that seemed to fit and feel right," General Manager George McPhee said.

April 5, 2008

Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post

Needing a single point to win the Southeast Division, the Capitals beat the Florida Panthers, 3-1, to complete an improbable comeback under Boudreau and clinch their first playoff berth in five years. "There was never a word of 'we couldn't' or 'we wouldn't' or 'we can't,'" Boudreau said. "I just hope I wake up tomorrow, and yeah, we're [still] in."

April 22, 2008

The Capitals had rallied from a series deficit of three games to one and dominated the third period of Game 7 at sold-out Verizon Center, but ultimately fall to the Flyers, 3-2, in overtime. Despite the loss, the players -- and Boudreau -- walked away feeling like the season was a success. "I just told them they gave me the best year of my life, and I thanked them," Boudreau said after the defeat.

June 12, 2008

Boudreau takes home the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year. "The one thing I want to do is enjoy and remember this," Boudreau said. "Because a lot of times, it happens right off the bat so people think, 'Oh, this is going to happen every year,' and then they never get another chance again. You may never get here again."

April 3, 2009

The Capitals clinch the Southeast Division title for the second straight year under Boudreau.

May 14, 2009

John McDonnell/Washington Post

The Capitals make it out of the first round but are taken down by their most reviled rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, en route to a humbling 6-2 defeat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"It certainly wasn't the way I would have envisioned it, scripted it, you know, whether we won or lost," Boudreau said.

Feb. 10, 2010

A 6-5 loss in Montreal ends the Capitals' historic winning streak at 14 games. The streak was tied for the third-longest in league history (with the 1929-30 Boston Bruins) and set a franchise record.

April 2, 2010

The Capitals clinch the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history. "It's nice to set records,"Boudreau said. "It gives us a goal to shoot for next year."

April 28, 2010

In their worst flameout to date in the Bruce Boudreau era, the Capitals, who finished the regular season with a franchise-record 54 wins and 121 points, become the first No. 1 seed to to blow a three-games-to-one series lead to an eighth-seeded team. The collapse also marked the eighth time the Capitals blew a two-game series lead and the fourth time they surrendered a 3-1 edge.

"I told them I felt exactly like they did," Boudreau said after the loss. "I thought we had a good chance to win the Stanley Cup this year. I would have bet my house that they wouldn't have beaten us three games in a row and that we wouldn't have scored only three goals [the past three games]."

Dec. 19, 2010

After dropping eight games in a row, the Capitals finally snap out of their worst skid under Boudreau, beating Ottawa, 3-2. Boudreau had never lost more than four straight in his career coaching at any level, and the skid created speculation about his job status. "We went 0-6-2, and after what we had done, it seems ludicrous to think that that could happen," he said about the possibility of getting fired. "But I'm also not dumb. I was in the minors for 30 years and you see this happens in our business all the time. People who say they don't ever think about it are nuts or are not telling the truth."

May 3, 2011

After the Capitals dispatched the New York Rangers in five games in the first round, the spring appeared destined for a different, better, perhaps historic conclusion. But then Washington was snuffed out of the Eastern Conference semifinals as the Lightning completed a tidy, four-game sweep with a 5-3 win at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Capitals had not advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs in the four postseason trips during Boudreau's tenure, during which they compiled a 17-20 record.

Oct. 27, 2011

The Capitals' season-opening, seven-game win streak ends with a 2-1 loss in Edmonton, but the team is inspired by a strong start. Washington had become just the fifth team in league history to start a season 7-0-0 and the first since the 1994-95 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nov. 1, 2011

(Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

Boudreau takes his "accountability" theme of the season to its highest level, opting to keep Ovechkin off the ice late in regulation of an eventual 5-4 overtime win against Anaheim. The star left wing was not pleased with Boudreau's decision and cameras caught him cursing as he turned away from his coach and took a seat.

Nov. 18, 2011

The Capitals suffer their fourth straight loss and their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 7-1 thrashing in Toronto. It was only the latest game in which the team's top players looked utterly uninspired.

"We're obviously not getting the job done right now," Boudreau said.

Nov. 21, 2011

The Capitals find a spark after Boudreau scratches Alexander Semin for poor play, rallying to beat Phoenix, 4-3, and snap a four-game losing streak. It was also Boudreau's 200th NHL win.

"I would have traded 199 of them for that one today," said Boudreau, who reached the mark in 326 games -- faster than any coach in NHL history.

Nov. 25, 2011

Washington breaks down in the second period, allowing four goals in a 6-3 loss at home to the Rangers. Boudreau said after the game that he sensed that the players were starting to feel sorry for themselves.

Nov. 26, 2011

The Capitals fall to 3-7-1 in their past 11 games after getting routed, 5-1, by a Sabres team without nine regular players in its lineup. Ovechkin was on the ice for the first Buffalo goal and each of the final three in what was an uninspired effort by the captain.

Asked how the team could find its mettle and rebound, Boudreau was stumped. "It's got to come from within, I've got to believe," he said. "I'm hoping that's got to come from within because if I've got to teach them how to be tough, then I don't know quite how to do that."

Nov. 28, 2011

Hunter is shown in a 1999 Post file photo.

Washington fires Boudreau and replaces him with former Capitals great Dale Hunter.

"The reason for the change was we weren't winning, obviously, and this wasn't a slump," McPhee said. "You can ride out slumps. This was simply a case of the players were no longer responding to Bruce.

"Bruce did a terrific job here," McPhee added, "but when the players aren't responding you have to make a change."

GRAPHIC: Lindsay Applebaum - The Washington Post. Published November 28, 2011.