The Washington Capitals had plenty of success against their first-round opponent, but the team wearing the white sweaters Wednesday night at Verizon Center is dramatically different than the one the Caps took seven of eight possible points from during the regular season.
All four of the meetings this season came when Tom Renney was the coach of the Rangers. Since John Tortorella replaced Renney, the team is 12-7-2 and has shown a more aggressive approach.
The personnel is also different. While the Caps decided against adding at the trade deadline, the Rangers acquired power forward Nik Antropov from Toronto and rugged defenseman Derek Morris from Phoenix. The biggest addition might have been the return of agitator Sean Avery, who was released by Dallas and then claimed by the Rangers on re-entry waivers.
One of the interesting battles will be on special teams. Washington has the second-best power play in the league at 25.2 percent, but the Caps will face the top penalty-killing unit in the NHL. The Rangers were second-to-last with the extra man, and the Caps were 17th in the NHL on the penalty kill.
First Round Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday at Washington, 7 CSN FM-106.7
Game 2: Saturday at Washington, 1 Chs. 4, 11 FM-106.7
Game 3: April 20 at New York, 7 CSN, Versus FM-106.7
Game 4: April 22 at New York, 7 CSN, Versus FM-106.7
Game 5: April 24 at Washington, 7 CSN, Versus FM-106.7 *
Game 6: April 26 at New York, 2 Chs. 4, 11 FM-106.7 *
Game 7: April 28 at Washington, TBA CSN, Versus FM-106.7 *
* if necessary