The Washington Capitals begin the 2013 NHL Playoffs tonight with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers.
2013 will mark the third consecutive season that the two teams will matchup in the playoffs, and the fourth time in the last five seasons. In their history, the Capitals have faced the Rangers in seven series and have won four of them. In 41 playoff games against New York, Washington is 22-19, including going 13-7 on home ice during that span. Including the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series the Caps will have faced the Rangers in more series than any other team in postseason play. The last time Washington faced the same team in the playoffs in three consecutive seasons was the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1994-1996 (1-2).
Must Read/See/Hear Material
WashingtonCaps.com: Caps and Rangers Raring to Go in Game 1
Monumental Network: Alex Ovechkin 5/1/13 / Marcus Johansson 5/1/13 / Jack Hillen 5/1/13 / John Carlson 5/1/13 / Mathieu Perreault 5/1/13 / Mike Ribeiro 5/1/13 / Adam Oates 5/1/13 / Rinkside Update 5/1/13 / Calle Johansson 5/1/13
Washington Post: Capitals insist it’s not the ‘good old days’ as they open playoffs vs. Rangers / Wise: Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin show’s he’s a captain worth following / Capitals Insider: The Rangers are wary of Washington’s potent power play / Capitals Insider: Joel Ward’s status uncertain for Game 1 vs. Rangers / DC Sports Bog: The autographed Caps car / DC Sports Bog: Wilbon picks Caps to go to Stanley Cup finals / DC Sports Bog: Alex Ovechkin’s almost-SI cover
Washington Times: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013: Capitals-Rangers Preview / Washington Capitals’ playoff letdowns, year by year / Nowhere to go but Cup: Capitals look to shake past playoff failures / Capitals Watch: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013: Steve Oleksy downplays debut / Capitals Watch: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013: Opportunity for Caps’ Martin Erat Capitals Watch: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013: Joel Ward’s Game 1 status unclear
Washington Examiner: Understated approach pays off for Capitals coach Adam Oates / Thom Loverro: Rangers’ angry coach John Tortorella comes to town to face Capitals / Jim Williams: Capitals-Rangers playoff series offers plenty of TV options
NHL: Rangers, Capitals try to keep strong recent play going / Oates’ approach has earned all his players’ respect / Hull knows Oates was perfect coach for Ovechkin / Ward could play for Capitals in Game 1
Globe and Mail: The NHL…in all its opening-round glory (Washington Capitals mentioned)
NBCWashington.com: Washington, New York and Peaking at the Right Time
New York Times: Turned Loose, Ovechkin Once Again Turns Heads
Sports Illustrated: NHL playoffs: Seven players with something to prove this postseason
WJLA-TV ABC 7: Steve Oleksy capitalizing on NHL opportunity / Inflatable Washington Capitals player flying in Georgetown / Capitals Playoff Preview, Slapshot with Adam Caskey
Reading Eagle: Royals ‘ecstatic’ to advance to conference finals
Ted’s Take: “Out of the Blue” / No Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx For Us / Patience Can Be a Virtue / Caps and Metro Service / Total Stall / President Bill Clinton at Georgetown University / Clips and More Clips / Integrity
D Tom Poti – day-to-day
F Brooks Laich – day-to-day
F Joel Ward – day-to-day
TOP FIVE CAPS FACTS
Start strong – Since 2006, teams that have won Game 1 of the first round are 38-18 (.679) in those series. The Capitals have a 21-15 overall record in playoff Game 1’s and are 14-7 when starting a series on home ice.
Holtby vs. the Blue Shirts – Goaltender Braden Holtby has posted a 2-2-1 record with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage in five regular season games vs. the Rangers. Holtby’s .942 save percentage vs. New York is the fourth-highest of his career against teams he has played at least three games against. He collected a 3-4 record with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in seven playoff games last season against the Rangers. In his regular season career, Holtby has compiled a 2-1 record with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in three career games at Madison Square Garden.
Playoff rankings – Alex Ovechkin has posted a 1.16 points-per-game average since his first NHL postseason in 2008, the third-highest among all active players (min. 20 games played). His .59 goals per game ranks second in the league in that span. Ovechkin ranks third all-time in Capitals playoff history in points (59), one behind Mike Ridley for second place. He is tied for the franchise playoff lead in goals with Peter Bondra (30). Nicklas Backstrom ranks 12th in Capitals history in playoff scoring with 40 points in 50 games, trailing Joe Juneau by one point for 11th place. His 26 assists are tied with Bondra for 11th. Mike Green currently ranks fifth among defensemen scoring in Capitals postseason history (29 points), and his seven goals rank seventh. Braden Holtby’s seven wins, all recorded last season, rank him fifth in Caps playoff history for wins. Olie Kolzig holds the postseason mark for wins with 20 in 45 games.
Keeping it close – 32 of last year’s 48 first round playoff games ended with one-goal margins of victory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2012 Caps-Bruins series was the first in NHL history to feature seven straight one-goal games. That series marked the first Stanley Cup playoff series in 17 years that featured both teams with a game-winner in the final two minutes of regulation.
Division winners – The Capitals clinched their sixth-straight playoff berth on April 23 vs. Winnipeg, marking the longest streak of playoff appearances in franchise history since their 14-straight postseason trips from the 1982-83 season through 1995-96. The streak of six straight playoff appearances is tied for the fourth-longest active playoff streak in the NHL. The Capitals have won five Southeast Division titles in the last six seasons, joining Vancouver as the only two teams in the league to accomplish that feat. This marks Washington’s 24th playoff appearance in franchise history and its eighth division title (seven Southeast, one Patrick Division).