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Series at a glance: New York-Washington playoff preview

Apr 27, 2012, 11:01 AM EDT

Backstrom Richards

Schedule

All times Eastern; *if necessary

Game 1: Saturday, April 28 at New York 3 p.m. (NBC, CBC)
Game 2: Monday, April 30 at New York 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 3: Wednesday, May 2 at Washington 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 4: Saturday, May 5 at Washington 12:30 p.m (NBC, CBC)
Game 5: *Monday, May 7  at New York, TBD
Game 6: *Wednesday, May 9 at Washington, TBD
Game 7: *Saturday, May 12 at New York, TBD

Three storylines to follow

1. We meet again. This is the third time in four postseasons the Rangers and Capitals have squared off, but the first time New York comes in as the higher seed. In 2009, the eighth-seeded Blueshirts pushed top-seeded Washington to Game 7 before Sergei Fedorov sent the Caps through. In 2011, No.1 Washington eliminated No. 8 NY in five games, with two of the games going to overtime.

2. Looking for a breakthrough. It’s bee a while since either club has gotten past the second round — the Rangers haven’t been to an Eastern Conference final in 15 years, the Capitals 14.

Teams that have advanced over that span? Philadelphia, (x4), Buffalo (x3), Pittsburgh (x3), Carolina (x3), New Jersey (x3), Toronto (x2), Ottawa (x2), Tampa Bay (x2), Montreal and Boston.

(Teams that haven’t? The Islanders, Panthers and Thrashers/Jets.)

3. Bruised shins. No two teams blocked more shots in the opening round: New York had 155, Washington 139 (comparatively speaking, Ottawa blocked 80, Boston 92). The Rangers were led by defenseman Dan Girardi — who leads all postseason skaters with 30 — while Washington is paced by the Karl Alzner-John Carlson-Roman Hamrlik trio, who combined for 50.

Records (reg. season)

No. 1 New York: 51-24-7, 109 points (1st in Atlantic) | No. 7 Washington: 42-32-8, 92 points (2nd in Southeast)

Leading playoff scorers

New York: Brad Richards (2G-3A-5PTS) | Washington: Alex Ovechkin (2G-3A-5PTS)

Starting goalies

New York: Henrik Lundqvist (4-3, 1.70 GAA) | Washington: Braden Holtby (4-3, 2.00 GAA)

Head-to-head

Season series split 2-2.

Nov. 25: New York 6, at Washington 3
Dec. 28: at Washington 4, New York 1
Feb. 12: At New York 3, Washington 2
Apr. 7: Washington 4, at New York 1

Playoff history

Washington leads 4-2.

1986: New York 4-2 (Patrick Division finals)
1990: Washington 4-1 (Patrick Division finals)
1991: Washington 4-2 (Patrick Division semifinals)
1994: New York 4-1 (Eastern Conference semifinals)
2009: Washington 4-2 (Eastern Conference quarterfinals)
2011: Washington 4-1 (Eastern Conference quarterfinals)

2012 playoffs

New York: Def. Ottawa 4-3 (EC quarters) | Washington: Def. Boston 4-3 (EC quarters)

2011 playoffs

New York: Lost to Washington 4-1 (EC quarters) | Washington: Def New York 4-1 (EC quarters), lost to Tampa Bay 4-0 (EC semis)

Stanley Cups

New York: Four (1928, 1933, 1940, 1994) | Washington: None

Injuries

New York: Brian Boyle (concussion), Steve Eminger (ankle), Mats Zuccarello (wrist), Michael Sauer (concussion) | Washington: Tomas Vokoun (groin).

Poll

  1. jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    very different this season for a ton of factors.
    1. rangers have home ice advantage.
    2. brad richards wasnt on the Rangers last season. He brings leadership and a good playoff player.
    3. no carl hagelin or chris krieder last season.
    4. ryan callahan their capatain and most valuable skater didnt play in the series
    5. marc staal had a concussion
    6. marian gaborik was nursing a concussion and was useless (does he have one again bc he was useless in rd 1)
    7. michael del zotto was injured and didnt play in that series.
    those are a ton of factors being left out.

    • govtminion - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Point #4 in your post could stand alone as the reason things are different this time. Callaghan is probably the Rangers’ best performer in clutch situations- just having him on the ice makes them a far better team than last year’s group.

      Rangers in six, but take it from a Bruins fan- Holtby’s not going to be easy to deal with.

      • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        why would our comments warrant thumbs own when they are facts? The 7 i listed all actually happened, it isnt an opinion. None of those guys played in last yrs series and they didnt have home ice.

        Youre right about holtby, but this isnt a fact, but an observation. In two series against the rangers Varmalov and Neuvrith stole the show, both getting minutes and for the most part finally getting actually burn, similar to what Holtby did against the B’s but then both continued to implode in the next round. I wonder if things will be different this yr.

    • tackledummy1505 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Ok, here’s a great fact for you, home ice means nothing in hockey. Having home ice in the playoffs is like sitting at home and getting beat at NHL 12, this way you don’t have to go far to grab a beer to forget about the loss. Home ice means nothing, second who cares about the players who did play and who didn’t play. Look at the Penguins, Flyers series. The Penguins were fully healthy for the 1st time going into the playoffs in a long time. 1st round exit. Caps are playing amazing hockey right now, Lundquist is holding the Rangers ship above sea-level right now. If I was a Rangers fan I would be asking myself, “Can my team score enough against a hot Holtby to win this series.” Instead of making up facts of reasons why you didn’t take the last series. lol Flyers play the Devils, do I think that series is going to be dominated by the Flyers? Probably not, it’s going to be another war and I really don’t have the slightest clue on who’s going to win. The one thing I do know is that anything can happen in playoff hockey. That’s why I love playoff hockey more than any other sports playoffs.

      • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        huh? when did i guarantee a Rangers victory? All i keep reading by people posting is that the capitals own the Rangers and have beaten them in the playoffs the last two series. So all i mentioned were the factors and how it’s different this season. And sorry, Ryan Callahan playing is an enormous factor, as is brad richards. And let me reiterate, those arent making up facts. Those are facts, those people didnt play last season. If i said ryan callahan had 2 hat tricks last series vs the caps that would be making something up. And who cares about the players who did play and didnt play? we arent talking about marginal players here. Callahan, richards, staal and del zotto, hagelin and krieder are pretty impt players. Even caps fans will agree. Did i say the rangers will win this series? No. I dont even understand half your post aside from the fact that youre a Flyer fan putting your 2 cents in and mentioning what they have accomplished in the first round. again, how are these making up facts when they actually occurred? Im not being argumentative here, im just playing devils advocate how a lot of factors have changed. so youre saying im making up a fact eventhough it happened and started your argument “heres a great fact for you” that home ice means nothing in the playoffs. You do realize the team with the home ice advantage all time in the nhl playoffs have a higher winning % right?

      • tackledummy1505 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        You just said that about the Rangers to the Flyers. lol this is why you’re dumb. The reason why they’re talking about your series is because the Penguins are out of the playoffs and your the next big thing to talk about. Flyers played a hell of a 1st round, yet we didn’t get a write up until we won. lol I’m not surprised because the NHL hates us, so they can’t talk about our series (Even though the rivalry is more there than the Rangers-Capitals) so they have the story of the Rangers. Have fun with that, just can’t wait to see it

      • jpelle82 - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        please provide numbers supporting the “fact” that home ice does not have an advantage. all i can find is that home teams win 55% of the games. strange. seems like that does matter.

      • tackledummy1505 - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        So the home team has a 50-50 chance of winning? lol seriously you came at me with a stat that proves me right. So there’s a slight advantage of the home team winning? Whoaa, watch out now. Gee I take back what I said. That 5% swing is huge and now I’m worried that the Flyers have no chance at winning the Cup, since the Rangers have home ice. We might as well just give the Rangers the cup with that big percentage shift lol Funny guy, thanks for the humor lol

      • critter69 - Apr 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        I believe the Rangers/Caps series will be played in 2012? And we currently are in 2012?

        Some FACTS about the 2012 season to date:

        Road teams finished the opening round with a 30-18 (.625) record.

        New York in regular season against the Capitals? One win at home, and one win away.

        Washington in regular season against the Rangers? One win at home, and one win away.

        And if we are going to discuss concussions – The center for the Capitals first line was out for 40 games because of a concussion.

        Mark Stall?

        “Marc Staal has simply not been the same player since returning from his concussion. I’d say for every good game he has played he has played three, four, or even five bad games.” (Not my words – http://www.sportsoverdose.com/topic/marc-staal-concussion-news.html)

        I seem to remember more than 1 in 5 at PHT thinking the Penguins would win the Stanley Cup this year (isn’t it the Penguins lockers now cleared out?), and four of the five ‘writers’ on this site saying the Bruins in five games.

        How many were saying the Caps would lose because they were starting a rookie goalie? Remember, EVERY player in the NHL was a rookie at some time or another. And some rookies develop into VERY IMPORTANT players – HoF in fact.

        Anything predicted is just an opinion, and you know that saying – everyone has one, just as everyone has an a******.

        Oh, and your pouting about [everyone] ‘posting [ ] that the capitals own the Rangers and have beaten them in the playoffs the last two series’? Weren’t you telling us you were only presenting FACTS? And don’t the FACTS tell us that in 2009, the Washington Capitals beat the Rangers 4 games to 2, and in 2011, the Washington Capitals beat the Rangers 4 games to 1? That is not a prediction of how this series will go, but those are FACTS, whether you want to believe them or not.

      • rsl22 - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        Critter69,

        Not sure if this matters, but in regard to your “every player was a rookie at one point”…

        Every Caps playoff victory since the lockout has been by a rookie goalie. 3 of the Flyers best players in the first round against Pitt were rookies (Schenn, Courtier and Reed). The Rangers are playing Chris Kreider as a rookie and he’s been really solid for them. Gabriel Bourque in Nashville is playing great. Adam Henrique was the Devil’s hero in game 7.

        I wish the Caps would play Orlov instead of the pylon that is Jeff Schultz, but they won’t “because he’s a rookie.” Stupid. A good player is a good player, it shouldn’t matter if he’s a rookie.

    • supafinger - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      jkay – The Rangers aren’t playing the 2010-2011 Caps. Last years results are completely meaningless because….. They were last year! Both teams are different and the only thing that matters is what happens in THIS series.

    • dipthatchip - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      valid points on the Rangers end, but the Senators did push you guys to a game 7…

      The Caps are a very different team from last year as well, seeing as we have a bit more blue line cohesiveness and much more controlled neutral zone play.

      Regardless, stoked I get to see my team go one more round

      • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        senators always give the rangers a tough time, all season long too. That was the one lower seed team most NYR feared in round one.
        This should be an excellent series, good luck.

      • rsl22 - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I’m sorry, I just can’t believe the Sens were the team that the Rags feared most…

        As a Caps fan, the one team I feared was the Penguins. The Caps have absolutely owned the Pens over the last 4 years in the regular season with a record of 12-1-3, but the playoff history is lopsided (ugly) in the Pens favor. No chance I wanted re-live that torment, especially in the first round.

        It seems unlikely that the Rags could just ignore the fact that Lundqvist has been burned by the Caps repeatedly and that the Caps have won 4 out of the last 5 series against them.

    • avallstar - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      except that these are barely facts

  2. villi5ed - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Stanley Cups

    New York: Two (1940, 1994) | Washington: None

    Uh, Mike H, the Rangers have won four Cups. 1928 and 1933 are omitted. Maybe so long ago
    that you forgot?

    • Mike Halford - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Accidental omission. Has been fixed.

  3. sdelmonte - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I just love that the old Patrick Division lives on in the eastern bracket. Just like the old, old days. Only, alas, without the Islanders.

  4. tackledummy1505 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Rangers- When was the last time you guys played a complete game? Hope to score and then sit on it. You play lame hockey and I guess whatever works for you. I so hope the Flyers play the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. I want to just want to see our guys bring the pain and watch you big wusses fall and cry. Someone get the Rangers coach a tissue, cause the crying and whining is about to start. They hit my player too hard, their attacking my goalie unfairly, my guy only touched their guy. Rangers are such cry babies I love it. I got the Caps in 7, but I really want to see Flyers v. Rangers.

    • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      I dont know, but i can tell you 6 times this season the rangers played a complete game. When they beat the flyers all six times they have faced them. Can you stop commenting? you are making some knowledgeable flyer fans look bad. The fact you wrote “big wuss’s” mean’s you’re a complete tool, who talks like that? YOU BIG WUSSIES. So you have the caps in 7 but really want to see the rangers win to face the flyers. you have to beat NJ first.
      for a team that can’t play a complete game, they had major luck against Philly. they swept the series 6-0, zilch, no wins. The big wussies outscored philly 24-11. Your vaunted offense scored under 2 goals per game. You LOST on national TV in philly during the winter classic. check the stat sheets homie, you got outscored and got outhit every game too.

      • tackledummy1505 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Can’t wait to hear the crying after this series. The crying was starting when you went down 3-2. So lucky to win out your series. I guess better lucky then skilled. lol Oh by the way the 6 games during the season, is during the season. Playoff hockey is a lot different. Ask the 2010 Bruins about that. Oh wait I’m dumb right lol. Your a tool

  5. jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    your grammar is unbearable, how old are you? Are you sneaking in these posts during class? exactly, very lucky, and if how the rangers dominated the flyers all season long is indicative of things to come, i would pray if you beat the devils, that the capitals take care of business. What don’t you get? this isnt the penguins defense or fluery flopping around. In any sport you dont win without a great defense and in hockey without a great goaltender which philly doesn’t have. And since you mentioned boston, they had an incredible goalie and d last yr, sort of like the NYR. if you think the flyers are going to score 8 a game against the goalies and defense left in this tournament, you are smoking crack. This season wasn’t a small sample size, the rangers absolutely manhandled the flyers. They are a more physical team, they have a better defense, they outhit you guys, had more blocked shots and with your goalie, even an anemic offense at times like the rangers score. being beat 6-0, and outscored 24-11 is a cause for concern, if you dont see that, youre delusional. But first, both teams need to worry about this series.
    Lucky to win out this series, they won, thats the bottom line. Sens actually match up real well against the rangers.

    • rfoster75 - Apr 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      weak post. don’t come on a sports forum and starting talking about grammar. Serious??? I don;t even like to write incomplete sentences anymore, and I always hit the semi-colon button when I mean to do an apostrophe—If you can;t figure out what is being implied from the post maybe you should just leave it alone and move on to another thread.

      • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        are you joking? i didnt even notice his apostrophe’s. I meant his incoherent sentences and rambling.

      • jkay1818 - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        wasnt much about grammar at the fact he wasnt making any sense and is just talking complete nonsense. not to mention, his grammar was about one sentence in my rant. it was more to the extent his posts were immature and at the end of the day, has nothing to do with the rangers vs caps series.

  6. rfoster75 - Apr 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    There is no telling what will happen in this series. Lundquist has to be fantastic in my opinion to take the series. I’m not saying that Hotlby doesn’t, but, Caps have beaten the Rangers with two different goalies in two different series in the past few years. Richards is a nice addition, but Backstrom washes that out–particularly because he’s got fresh legs. Find me a person on the Rangers roster that we can’t compete with and it might be a different story, but that’s not the case. Lundquist is certainly the X.

    Caps are throwing people off because they have completely changed their style–the pundits on TV, Melrose being the biggest culprit, seem to thing that this team is the Tallahassee Warthogs, and good things have happened out of luck. But truth be told, last time I checked, this team has 4 consecutive SE titles, two times Eastern Conference top seeds, President’s trophy winner, and played some damn good hockey down the stretch to get into the playoffs and almost win the division again. The feather missing from the cap is a deeper cup run. This team has character now and the experience to get it done, and this is a natural next step for these “same core guys.” Unfortunately, I think your running into the wrong team at the wrong time. And this ain’t going back to NY for a game 7.

  7. biffnasty - Apr 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    @tackledummy
    What was the season series between the Rangers and flyers?
    You guys brought it real hard
    Hahaha

  8. drewzducks - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    In a totally unrelated story am I the only one who was a little freaked out with the sudden appearance of all these Farmersonly dating commercials? I mean Ashley Madison? No brainer. Christian singles? Ok I get that. But the way those cows were ogling that poor lonely farmer girl was a bit disturbing. Again I could see if it was a Calgary Edmonton matchup but really?

  9. caps247 - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Jesus, calm down about grammar. This is a hockey blog, not an English class.
    All that aside, this is going to be one amazing series — if the Rangers win, they will probably face the Flyers in the EC Finals showdown. If the Caps win, they will be one step closer to a Stanley Cup in more than 14 years.
    I expect this series to be very physical, with plenty of blocked shots (both teams playing a defensive style).
    Holts vs. Lundy — another rookie vs. probable future Hall of Famer.
    Each teams top lines to me cancel each other out, so it may be up to the 3rd or 4th lines to be the heroes again.
    Hopefully this series won’t have dirty after the whistle BS, so as a proud caps fan I’m pumped for tomorrow.
    Hopefully the Caps can pull another underdog upset victory in this trilogy of playoff affairs.
    CAPS IN 6, LET’S GO CAPS!

  10. chocolatecitywarrior - Apr 27, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    All I hope is that the Rangers don’t try to grow out their playoff “beards” again…Dubinsky and Boyle’s mustaches from last years series looked like they belonged in Cell Block C with the rest of the petter asses

  11. moagecu - Apr 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Looks like jkay needs a job.

    • critter69 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      ‘jkay’ probably is a pimply-faced teenager who is happy the weekend is here, and is posting his homer posts either from school or from home after an appointment with the doctor to see if his/her/it’s acne can be cleared up.

  12. nyrangersfan - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    First off it doesn’t matter weather you’re in English class or a sports blog, typing correctly and making sense of your sentences not only will help you make your point come across more clearly but also shows that you aren’t illiterate and ignore and you’ll be taken more seriously. It shows class. Any way, Philthy fans are just so shocked they played the way they played against the pens, they think they’re unbeatable now. Too bad once Bryz let’s that first goal go passed him he drifts back off to his universe. I mean really BOTH goalies let in way too many goals. King Henrik would never allow that. Furthermore, I think Holtby is going to do well, he’s a good goalie and the Rangers do have scoring issues. However, when it comes to playing physical and producing good defence the Rangers have that in the bag. Not to mention great D opens offence and the Rangers WILL score and hold their leads. Rangers in 5, Devils in 4. By the way Hartnell is the biggest cry baby ever worse than Crosby by far. He really needs to clean that mop he calls his hair, or at least shave it.

  13. critter69 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    ‘nyrangersfan’?

    You should have stopped after your second sentence. From that point on, your grammar and spelling left a lot to be desired if your aim was to show that typing correctly and making sense of your sentences was to show that you are not illiterate. Although (even in that first [run-on] sentence), I think you meant to type ‘ignorance’, not ‘ignore’.

  14. jkay1818 - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Critter, what is your deal? I wasn’t even arguing with anyone except that cocky, ridiculous flyer fan. I don’t even get where you are comin(g from. If you look at my posts they were directed at that fool who was making no sense at all and going on about his beloved flyers in a rangers and caps post. Yes, I’m happy the weekend is here, good one, I don’t think you have to be a pimply faced teen for that. I think you’re confusing me with that flyers fan. What homer posts? I never even said the rangers would win. I was replying to that obnoxious fans asinine posts. My initial comment I was stating new factors in the series which should make it interesting, I’m too lazy to scroll up, but, was it you who posted the staal article? It was one article and if you have watched the playoffs, I think it’s safe to say he is rounding to form. He was ridiculous in rd1. Also, their depth on d is nasty, they don’t live and die by him. It should be a great series. Washington typically doesn’t get past the 2nd rd , it’s good they are taking the rangers physical, defense first approach. Shoud make for a great one

    • critter69 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      jkay?

      What is my deal?

      You were not addressing a post to a Flyers fan – if so, you would have put it into an email and sent it. Since you almost assuredly don’t have that Flyers fan’s email address, you posted it here, in public view.

      You posted it here, exercising your 1st Amendment rights, but so did I. And if you were observant, you will see that I responded to other commenters (in fact, my posts have been directed towards tackledummy1505 and moagecu (admittedly in support of his post) and nyrangersfan and now you).

      If you are feeling picked upon, are you admitting that you are posting under the screen names of tackledummy1505 and moagecu and nyrangersfan?

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