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It’s official: Rangers, Capitals will meet in first round

Apr 27, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

OvechkinCallahan

It’ll be Washington against New York in the playoffs.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

For the third straight year, the Rangers and Caps will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs after the Rangers clinched sixth in the East on Saturday night.

The Blueshirts beat the Devils 4-0, then watched as Ottawa lost 2-1 to the Flyers, ensuring New York would finish as the No. 6 seed.

(Washington beat Boston 3-2 in overtime, but the game had no bearing on the Caps’ playoff positioning.)

As mentioned above, the pending first-round matchup will be the third time in as many years we’ve seen Caps-Rangers battle in the postseason.

Last year, New York toppled Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals, a grueling seven-game series that included an epic triple-OT Game 3 — the 20th-longest overtime game in playoff history.

In 2010-11, the top-seeded Capitals dispatched  the No. 8 Rangers in five games in the opening playoff round. That series was highlighted by New York’s anemic offense, which could only muster eight total goals.

One interesting wrinkle here from the Washington side of things — three series vs. New York, three different head coaches.

Bruce Boudreau was behind the bench in 2011, and Dale Hunter was the head coach last year.

This season, it’s rookie head coach Adam Oates, who engineered a stunning in-season turnaround that resulted in Washington winning its fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years.

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