What’s spring without a series between the Capitals and New York Rangers?
The two teams will meet in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, which will start either Tuesday or Wednesday in Washington, marking the fourth time in the past five years that the two teams have squared off in the playoffs.
It will be a short turnaround, regardless of which day the series begins, and Coach Adam Oates is already looking forward to it.
“They get a day of rest and Monday we’ve got to go back to work and prepare for a hockey team,” Oates said. “We’ve done some good things, no question. We’ve come a long way, we have a long way to go. It’s a long way. We can’t be satisfied that we got to this position. That’s great. Next. Let’s move on. Let’s turn the page and prepare for the New York Rangers. And that’s all we can do.”
The familiarity between the two teams should make for an entertaining matchup, but defenseman Karl Alzner said it won’t necessarily lead to any advantage on the ice.
“At this point, the way that we break down video we’re pretty familiar with everybody, but playing the Rangers is the same thing as playing Boston,” Alzner said. “We know how we need to play to beat them it’s just more about execution.”
Of the three prior series, the Capitals won the first two. But last year the Rangers eliminated Washington in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This go-round could be much different from last year, though, considering that this time the two teams aren’t playing similar styles.
“It will throw another look at them for sure,” Alzner said. “The games are a lot different than they were last year. But like we’ve said also, we don’t care too much about the other team. We’re happy with what we’re doing. The Rangers will be tough to play, I think they’re built for the playoffs. If they can stay healthy they’re definitely a contender I think.”
More to come Sunday on the matchup against the Rangers but in the meantime, check out this breakdown from earlier in the week.