The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers have quickly become no stranger to each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Saturday, their newfound playoff rivalry begins again.
By virtue of the Rangers Game 7 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, they'll host the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday afternoon. The Capitals and Rangers split their four games during the regular season, with each team winning one game on the road.
The tables are turned for this third playoff series between the teams since 2008; this year, the Rangers come in as the higher seed and the presumptive favorite. However, that's no comfort to Rangers head coach John Tortorella, whose team survived a tough test in their first round series.
"This sets you up for a foundation," Tortorella said in the New York Daily News. "We'll lean on this as we get to next round and we'll benefit from it."
In 2009, the 2nd-seeded Capitals eliminated the Rangers in the first round. Then, last season, the Caps dispatched New York in five games. Since 1986, the Capitals have won four of six playoff series against the Rangers. They also eliminated the Rangers in 1990 and 1991, while New York returned the favor in 1986 and 1994.
Madison Square Garden will be the site of Games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Monday. The series then shifts to Verizon Center for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and next Saturday.
Here's the full 2nd round schedule. * designates the game will be played if necessary.
Game Venue Date/Time 1 Madison Square Garden Apr. 28, 3 p.m. 2 Madison Square Garden Apr. 30, 7:30 p.m. 3 Verizon Center May 2, 7:30 p.m. 4 Verizon Center May 5, 12:30 p.m. 5* Madison Square Garden May 7, 7:30 p.m. 6* Verizon Center May 9, TBA 7* Madison Square Garden May 12, TBA
In the other three conference semifinal series, the Philadelphia Flyers will take on the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis plays the Los Angeles Kings and the Nashville Predators battle the Phoenix Coyotes.