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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round One Series Predictions: Capitals Vs. Rangers

Washington hasn’t been known for their playoff success. After winning the Presidents’ Trophy last season as the team with the best regular season record, they were knocked out of the playoffs by the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens. The Habs netted 33 fewer regular season points than the Capitals, but with focus, solid coaching, and an unexpected playoff hero in goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the Habs weathered the storm.

The Capitals have rebounded nicely from their mid-season eight game losing streak, fighting off Philadelphia for the chance to take on the New York Rangers for the second time in three seasons. In 2009, the Capitals defeated the Rangers in seven games yet again. The Caps have problems taking care of “lesser” opponents quickly, letting their hubris get too much of them while the underdog fights back. That has to change sooner or later, and I think that’s the year. The Capitals went through their “we’re better than how we’re playing” moment in December and overcame adversity; there’s no reason they can’t do it now.

Except for maybe Henrik Lundqvist, who is the only consistent thing on a wildly consistent Rangers team.

My Prediction (which will probably be wrong): Washington in six.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.