The Washington Capitals became the second team to advance to the second round of the 2011 NHL Playoffs when they defeated the New York Rangers, 3-1, to win that series in five games. As the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals could play a number of teams in the second round, because the league elects to re-seed the teams. Here is a list of who they could play and how they would play them.
Buffalo Sabres (No. 7 seed): The Sabres are currently up 3-2 in their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, with Game 6 scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday. If the Sabres win that game, they will automatically face the Capitals, since they are the lowest seed remaining in the Eastern Conference.
In the regular season: The Capitals won twice in regulation and once in overtime. The Sabres won once in overtime.
Montreal Canadiens (No. 6 seed): Yes, there is a chance the Capitals could see the team that shockingly ended their season last year. The Canadiens are tied at 2 with the Bruins, with Game 5 of their series taking place Saturday night. If the Sabres lose, the Canadiens would face Washington if they win their series.
In the regular season: The Capitals won three times in regulation. The Canadiens won once in overtime.
Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 4 seed): If Buffalo and Montreal both lose their series, the Penguins would be the Capitals' likely opponent. Despite getting shellacked by Tampa Bay, 8-2, on Saturday, the Penguins have a 3-2 series lead, so they just need one win in two tries to advance.
In the regular season: The Capitals won three times, including in the Winter Classic. The Penguins won once in a shootout.
Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 5 seed): Of course, if the Lightning rally to beat the Penguins, and both Buffalo and Montreal lose their series, it'll be the Capitals' Southeast Division rivals facing them in the second round.
In the regular season: The Capitals won three times in regulation. The Lightning won twice in regulation. The Capitals won once in a shootout.