For the third straight year, and fourth time in the past five season, the Rangers and Capitals will face-off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting with Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Thursday night at the Verizon Center.
There is no love lost between these two teams, what with Washington having eliminated the Rangers from post-season play in 2009 and 2011, and the Rangers returning the favor in a hard-fought seven-game second-round series last spring. But much has changed over the years, as well, not the least of which is that the Caps will be coached by a third different bench boss in the last three series against the Blueshirts when Adam Oates matches wits with John Tortorella this spring.
Both teams finished the truncated 48-game 2013 campaign playing their best hockey. The Rangers were 10-3-1 in the month of April, while the Caps overtook Winnipeg with a 15-2-2 surge to win yet another Southeast Division title. As such the Capitals (27-18-3, 57 pts) are the Eastern Conference's third seed and own home ice advantage against the sixth-seeded Rangers (26-18-4, 56 pts), though they were separated by just a single point over the course of the season.
Following is BlueshirtsUnited.com's complete breakdown of this first-round series.
Share your predictions below. Pick the winning team, how many games the series will last, and let everyone know why the series will turn out as you predicted.