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Posted at 03:16 PM ET, 04/10/2012

Caps vs. Bruins: Does head-to-head regular season success matter in playoffs?

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS | With the Capitals squaring off against the Boston Bruins in just a few days, I asked fans on Twitter what fuels their optimism for a Washington first-round win over the defending Stanley Cup champs. Most of the responses centered around Washington's regular season success against the Bruins — they went 3-1-0 this year, including a 4-3 win without superstars Alex Ovechkin (suspension), Mike Green (abdominal injury) and Nicklas Backstrom (concussion).

Turns out that's a good reason for optimism.

Since the lockout, teams that have a better head-to-head regular season record over their first-round playoff opponents (measured here as win percentage) have won 77 percent of those series – quite a hefty margin.

Not only does that bode well for Washington, but also indicates other possible first-round upsets in the Eastern Conference. All the lower seeds won the regular season series except for the New Jersey Devils, who won two out of four games against the Florida Panthers.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg | Caps scoring chances

More on the Capitals:
Everybody’s picking the Bruins to win
Ovechkin-Chara could be key
Caps will ‘push back’ vs. physical Bruins
Twitter list of who to follow for the first round
Complete first-round playoff schedule

By Neil Greenberg  |  03:16 PM ET, 04/10/2012

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