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Playoffs Tonight: Ovechkin’s Caps host Lundqvist’s Rangers

May 2, 2013, 8:19 AM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist, Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

So much for sweating about goals. Last night saw a couple of blowouts and some excitement out West.

The final two series yet to play kick off tonight with a pair of Game 2s to go with it. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Live Extra.

Game 1: Montreal Canadiens host the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET, CNBC)

The Habs might be looking to copy the Boston Bruins in tonight’s Game 1. Like the Bruins, the Habs stumbled at the end of the season headed to the postseason and like them they’ll hope that with the playoffs starting, all the regular season worries evaporate. Carey Price closed the season not looking all that hot and going up against Daniel Alfredsson and the Senators will give them the kind of battle they need to know where exactly they’re at.

Both teams were surprising in their own ways this season, but if Montreal runs into trouble against Ottawa it’ll likely be thanks to goaltender Craig Anderson. If not for injury, he’d be a legit Vezina candidate this season and if he plays as strong as he has this season in the playoffs, it’ll be up to Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban to get him figured out quickly.

The season series between these two was close with Montreal winning it 2-1-1 with two shootout games in the mix.

Game 1: Washington Capitals host the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

So they meet again. For the fourth time in five years these two square off and by now you have to think they know each other inside and out. This year’s series has a different feel to it though.

Last year’s snoozer of a seven game set gets replaced by the resurgent Alex Ovechkin and a Caps team firing on all cylinders going up against a Rangers team that’s got its swagger back. The depth is there again (even with Ryane Clowe and Brian Boyle hurting) and guys like Derek Stepan and Rick Nash are playing great. Oh yeah, and there’s Henrik Lundqvist still in goal too.

New York took the season series going 2-0-1 against the Caps this season. If they can keep Ovechkin quiet, they’ll have a great shot at the upset.

Game 2: St. Louis Blues host the Los Angeles Kings up 1-0 in series (9:30 p.m. ET, CNBC)

Game 1 saw the Blues come out and hit the defending Stanley Cup champions right in the mouth. While we saw some of that same Kings magic from last season when Justin Williams scored late in the third to tie the game up, the Blues still prevailed thanks to Jon Quick turning the puck over to Alex Steen behind his own net while on the power play.

You have to believe those mistakes won’t happen again and the Kings will be hungry to tie this series up and head back to L.A. You also have to think the Blues aren’t going to play things any differently and will bring that high-intensity forecheck once again.

One thing the Blues could use, however, is some puck luck. The posts went home with bruises thanks to Blues shots clanging off them. If they can get their offense in gear they’ll be that much more dangerous.

Game 2: Anaheim Ducks host the Detroit Red Wings up 1-0 in series (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Anaheim was able to turn things on Detroit thanks to guys like Teemu Selanne and Nick Bonino doing the damage as opposed to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Jonas Hiller‘s strong play in goal had a lot to do with that as well, but the Wings are seemingly not rattled by how things went in Game 1.

Detroit’s youngsters like Gustav Nyqvist and Damien Brunner will need to be more of a factor to give Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg the offensive help they’ll need to even up the series heading back home. One thing Detroit definitely has to do is clean up their penalty killing.

The Wings gave up two power play goals to the Ducks in Game 1 and that’s what made the difference. The Ducks should worry about the same as Detroit’s lone tally also came on the man advantage.

Here’s PHT’s Mike Halford and Jason Brough breaking down the Blues-Kings physicality and taking a look at Rangers-Capitals.

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  1. ravenscaps48 - May 2, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    And so it begins…. Good luck, Ranger fans.

    • bohman88 - May 2, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Verizon is going to be loud tonight. Can’t wait for the Ovi chant.

    • jpelle82 - May 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      this is gonna be the best matchup in the east. i’m admittedly more excited for this one than my pens series

  2. tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    This is going to be the best Rangers-Caps series to date. I think all fans can get amped for this one. I hope both teams showcase themselves well. Expecting an exciting, and deep series.

    • tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Side note It’s 10:25 and this is developing into the longest workday. I can’t wait. The closer we get to puck drop, the more afraid of Ovechkin I am getting. Hope the Rangers come out firing because we know the Caps will!

  3. pittguy69 - May 2, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    GO HABS GO !!!

  4. kevindunn21 - May 2, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    “Last year’s snoozer of a seven game set gets replaced by the resurgent Alex Ovechkin and a Caps team firing on all cylinders going up against a Rangers team that’s got its swagger back.”

    That’s literally one of the dumbest sentences ever published on this blog. That series featured a 3OT game, a game-tying goal with less than 10 seconds followed by a home-ice OT win followed by a Game 7 decided by one goal. Seriously, man, do you even watch hockey?

    • nicknyhc - May 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Thank you. I couldn’t believe they called that series a snoozer either. These guys love to hate on anything Rangers or Capitals related though, so its no surprise.

      Looks like a real snooze fest at the Garden last year, huh?

    • babykaby - May 3, 2013 at 5:44 AM

      I agree with you. That series was one of the best. These guys sure show how little they really know about the game with some of the really dumb things they say. If this jerk didn’t like that series then he really doesn’t like hockey.

  5. antkowiak666 - May 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    the march to Stanley begins tonight……GO CAPS!!

  6. blackfoot11 - May 2, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    This is a true rivalry. Much respect to the Rangers. Let’s go get’em Caps!

    • tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Love the respect between the fan-bases here. All the best parts of a rivalry without the unreasonable hate from a certain intrastate rivalry.

  7. dropthepuckeh - May 2, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Looking at this lineup just confirms that my girlfriend will prob break up with me tonight because there is no chance I will be paying attention to anything she says. Is it wrong I kind of hope she does so I can watch every game for the next two months?

    • johnstone17 - May 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Hehehe. Flip a coin on that one !

    • tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Acceptance is the price of freedom!

    • barkar942 - May 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      LOL. I guess the real important question you need to ask yourself-
      Is she hot enough to keep? If so, get a DVR. Pause button is great!

  8. johnstone17 - May 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    As a Rangers fan, I am wishing good luck to the Capitals & their fans. That said LET’S GO RANGERS !!!!!!!!

    • micklethepickle - May 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Right back at you :) C-A-P-S!!!! GO CAPS!

  9. panicatthedistrict - May 2, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Glad everyone is hyped for this series. Rangers fans – good luck, and may the best team win. Verizon Center will be rocking tonight.

    Let’s Go CAPS!

  10. gunnyhighway88 - May 2, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Caps vs Rangers should be a good series. Let’s Go Caps!

  11. lizardlickk - May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Glad most “experts” are picking the Rangers in this series. They were pegged as Stanley Cup champs last summer, and for the most part, been an underachieving team all year. For all of the flaws the SE division may have, we’ve played great 2- way hockey for the better part of April, and arguably the hottest team coming into the playoffs. Don’t mind riding this “underdog” status we’ve had all year. Nut up or shut up.

  12. micklethepickle - May 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Wow, i am very pleasantly surprised by the sportsmanship shown by Rangers and Caps fans. This will be a hard fought series, no one (except PHT apparently – last year boring? SERIOUSLY!?) can deny that.

    Good luck to the Rangers, and thanks to the fans for being just as excited about this series as Caps fans are! So different from any other playoff thread on this site! Best fans in the East!!!

    (Disclaimer: If the Caps lose, I may be venting on here later tonight hahaha!)

  13. orangandblack - May 2, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Rangers struggled a majority of the year, while Washington only seemed to struggle the first 1/3 of the year. They’ve been red hot since. The caps go as Ovi goes, so as long as Ovi stays out of his own head, and stays hot, I see the caps. Should be the most exciting series in the East though (and probably the west too)

  14. cspsrbums - May 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Good luck Ranger fans CAPS in 5 though

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