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Tale of the Tape: Capitals vs. Rangers

Feb 11, 2012, 8:41 PM EST

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Ovechkin Callahan

On Sunday, the Washington Capitals will take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m ET, NBC) — here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

New York: 35-13-5, 1st in Atlantic Division. Leading scorer: Marian Gaborik (26G-18A-44PTS)

Washington: 28-21-5, 2nd in Southeast Division. Leading scorer: Alex Ovechkin (23G-20A-43PTS)

The teams have split the season series 1-1.

Nov. 25, 2011 — Rangers 6, Capitals 3. New York matched its season high for goals in a single game on the strength of two goals from Ruslan Fedotenko and three assists from the game’s first star, Ryan Callahan. Interesting to note that, just three days after this loss — a game in which Bruce Boudreau said the Caps were “feeling sorry” for themselves — Boudreau was fired and replaced by Dale Hunter.

Dec. 28, 2011 — Capitals 4, Rangers 1. Washington registered a big win behind Alex Semin‘s two-goal performance, but the victory came with an asterisk as it was backup Martin Biron in goal, not Henrik Lundqvist. No disrespect to Biron (who’s had a very solid season) but Lundqvist has been brilliant this season — he’s probably the leading Vezina candidate and could even get some MVP consideration if New York continues to reign atop the Eastern Conference.

Playoff History

Much of the malice between the two clubs stems from the playoffs, as the Caps and Rangers have met twice over the last three preseasons.

2011: Washington wins 4-1 — The Caps entered as the No. 1 seed in the East and took care of a Rangers team that gave them fits in the regular season (New York won the season series 3-1,winning the last three games by a combined score of 15–1.) Washington didn’t TCOB very easily, though — two of the five games were decided in overtime and none were decided by more than two goals. The Rangers’ biggest downfall was a lack of offense as they only scored eight goals throughout the entire series with Brian Boyle, Derek Stepan and Fedotenko all failing to register a point.

2009: Washington wins 4-3 — This was the series that started it all. The Caps fell behind 3-1 thanks to some stellar goaltending from Lundqvist and poor goaltending from Jose Theodore, who was eventually pulled in favor of Semyon Varlamov. Game 5 proved to be the turning point as the Caps won 4-0, chasing Lundqvist from the net and rattling the suspect New York offense (held to just 20 shots on goal.) Washington rallied and completed the stunning comeback with under five minutes to go in the third period of Game 7, when Sergei Fedorov scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 Caps victory.

Of note: This was John Tortorella’s first playoff series as Rangers head coach — it was also the scene of his infamous altercation with a fan that got him suspended for Game 6.

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