Photo credit: Len Redkoles
The Washington Capitals took their future into their own hands with a big overtime win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. As John Walton said, “the king is dead, and the Caps are still dancing.” The Caps have waited until now to find out who their round two dancing partner would be while a couple Games Sevens shook out. But now we know who will join the Caps in the conference semifinals.
The Washington Capitals will face the New York Rangers in the second round. This is fine with us: we’re in a mood right now and there’s nobody the Caps cannot beat. Still, of all our team’s potential dancing partners, the Rangers are the ones who usually step on our toes. Follow us past the jump to have your memory refreshed on exactly who these guys are, and what they’ve been up to since we saw them last.
- The Caps are facing the Rangers for the third time in four years. We won the other two– once in 2009 and once last year, which I’m sure is still fresh in everyone’s memory. We beat NYR like it’s our job.
- Not to say that this is the same team that we saw last year in the playoffs. The addition of Brad Richards has given the Rangers a legitimate first line and a great setup man for Marian Gaborik, who ended the year with 41 goals. This is a disturbing amount of goals. Deploy the Carlzner.
- So now we’re facing down a team with good team defense, an All-Star goalie, and good forward depth, who dominated the regular season. This is totally new and unfamiliar territory for the Caps. However will they manage?!
- The Bruins’ Claude Julien had this to say about the Capitals on exit interviews: “They’ve adapted, to a certain extent, the New York Rangers’ style. They’re just sitting back in their own end and just blocking every shot they can.” Let’s go ahead and christen this the Black and Blue series. But while the Rangers’ commitment to shot blocking seems to be predicated on how much John Tortorella is yelling at them at the moment, the Caps’ commitment comes from somewhere else.
- We’re guessing John Tortorella is going to be mad about something pretty soon. I give it ’til 2 PM tomorrow. Please pray for the brave men and women of our local press this week.
- The Caps split their regular-season series with the Rangers down the middle (2-2), but I’m sure the win you all remember was a 4-1 floor-mopping to close out the season. Perhaps you were partying with us at the time. We sincerely hope you were.
- We could have had Craig “Knife Guard” Anderson this round, or Martin “Life Alert” Brodeur. Could have. But no, it wasn’t to be — instead the Caps will have to face Handsome Lundqvist in all his glimmering perfection. Henrik Lundqvist is leading all goaltenders in the East with a .945 SV%, but Braden Holtby is right behind him with a .940. Lundqvist won’t be an easy opponent, but luckily we know the remedy for a stellar goaltender: Crash the net. We hope they’re playing tape of Mike Knuble rolling into the crease like a train in the locker room tomorrow.
- We already know by Highly Scientific Measurement that We Are Louder than the Madison Square Garden crowd. We’re looking forward to whatever chant battles this year brings.
- We’re also looking forward to playing on an ice sheet with the approximate consistency of a New York City street in mid-November. Watch for: Semin baby deer leg syndrome.
- What we learned from the first round: don’t make ‘em mad because they will totally flip a Gatorade cooler. We’re not sure how this is comparable to “poking the bear.” More delicious?
- No home ice for the second straight round. Problem? Not so much. The Caps won three games in the TD Garden last round, and the Rangers lost two in the MSG. Overall, teams won just 38% of games on home ice in the first round. We’re getting the feeling that this year winners are not decided by who’s sleeping in their own beds.
The Rangers are the only Original Six team left standing. Apparently no one’s told them yet that it’s the Year of the Underdog. The Caps can do this, we know that, because they did it yesterday. The first round was fun, but let’s take this as far as we can go.
Caps in 6.