The Washington Capitals are once again the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2011 NHL Playoffs and they will look to vanquish their playoff demons from the past two years when they square off against the No. 8 seed New York Rangers. Game 1 will take place on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on Versus and Comcast SportsNet, according to the 2011 NHL Playoffs Schedule.
In Part V of our preview, we'll make a prediction on the Capitals v. Rangers series.
The Capitals perhaps took the Rangers for granted two years ago in their first-round series. The Caps couldn't compete with the Rangers' defensive acumen and Henrik Lundqvist's world-class goaltending. The Caps experienced those things again during their season series, going 1-2-1 and scoring six goals in four games. This time, Washington will be ready.
With an unprecedented amount of playoff experience thanks to new acquisitions Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm and Scott Hannan, the Caps will figure out what it takes to win right away. On the other hand, New York's defensive corps is inexperienced and will have the tough task of shutting down Washington's explosive forwards.
Henrik Lundqvist is the key to this series. He can steal games, but if the Caps get to him, the Rangers won't be able to respond. The Caps will disrupt Lundqvist's play and shut down the Rangers with their new, playoff-like style of play.
PREDICTION: The Caps will beat the Rangers in six games.