The New York Rangers had their way with the Washington Capitals during the regular season; but as the Caps found out the hard way last year, the playoffs are a different animal.

Play time is over and this year’s Capitals team is battle tested and ready to go. There’s no doubt in my mind that they are better prepared.

The playoffs are based on solid defense, and I believe that whether it’s Neuvirth or Varlamov the Caps will have good goaltending. Mike Green will play in this series, providing a defensive and offensive spark. With Wideman out, Green needed to return to the lineup.

They value good defense, they know how to win ugly — these aren’t the same scoring-frenzied sweethearts from last year. Nope, this year’s team represents the releasing of the Kraken.

I have a feeling that the Washington Capitals know what’s at stake and are very motivated to make a really good run in the playoffs, which is bad news for the Rangers.

Already without the services of their star player, the Rangers will have to depend on superior goalie play if they are to have a chance at making a series out of it.

With superior goaltending, skating, protection over the blue line and aggressive play in the neutral zones, I see the Caps winning in five games. The Rangers may steal one, but I think the Capitals will roll.