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Random Sunday thoughts: Have the Rangers played the Caps in the playoffs before?

By Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

By Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

It was a bumpy ride, but the Rangers sealed the deal on Thursday with a win over Carolina, and locked up a six seed with their blanking of the Devils. The Rangers rode a 10-3-1 run in April to leapfrog two teams and keep the Jets out. Now, it’s on to another date with the Caps in Washington in the first round of the playoffs. Since there’s a lot going through my mind, I figure a random Sunday thoughts post is fitting:

  • The Rangers have played the Caps in the playoffs in 2012 (2nd round, won 4-3), 2011 (first round, loss 4-1), and 2009 (first round, loss 4-3). This year makes it three years in a row, four years in five, and each season since 2009 that the Rangers have made the playoffs. Think that’s a lot? Just wait until they are in the same division next year.
  • The Rangers sure are hot at the right time. That 10-3-1 April launched them from 16-15-13 to 26-18-4, second in the Atlantic Division, and a +18 goal differential. They scored 51 goals in April, an average of 3.6 goals per game. That’s absurd.
  • Expect a lot of injury news to come out before the playoffs begin (either Tuesday or Wednesday). Ryane Clowe, Brian Boyle, and Marc Staal will likely return in some capacity, and their returns make this team incredibly deep and a pain to play against. Staal will be critical, as he has a lot of success in shutting down Alex Ovechkin.
  • The player, aside from Staal, whose return is most critical to a Rangers series win? Brian Boyle. He’s really turned it on defensively as of late, and the Rangers need him on the PK.
  • Seriously, I’m  beginning to hate Braden Holtby. I didn’t want to face him last year, and I really don’t want to face him this year.
  • The Columbus Rangers Blue Jackets barely missed the playoffs. You want a team I don’t want to see in the division next year? Columbus is that team. Their addition to the division (with Washington) will likely knock two of the Devils, Flyers, and Islanders out of the playoff picture until their teams become more well-rounded.
  • One last note about Staal and this crazy “he’s going to Carolina so trade him now” nonsense. If he’s going to Carolina, he has to wait until the end of the 2014-2015 season. The Rangers are not trading a top pairing, shutdown defenseman who is on a $3.975 million contract for the next two seasons, especially when next year’s cap goes down. Staal’s contract provides incredibly flexibility for the Rangers, and it’s something they need during their window to win the Cup.

Anyway, welcome to playoff hockey again. For those new here, we will dedicate the next two days to breaking down the series and the Caps. Stay tuned over the next two days.

11 Responses to “Random Sunday thoughts: Have the Rangers played the Caps in the playoffs before?”

  1. Troll says:

    Fire Torts!

  2. Evan says:

    Carolina cannot afford him. Their cap situation is a complete disaster.

    Per capgeek.com: This season they had 24 players on their payroll at 57 million. Next year they have 17 players at 56 million because many contracts start up like semin, staal and skinner. And they want to get all the staals on that payroll? Marc will command minimum 5 million per season when is contract is up, if he can prove he can stay healthy.

    As for columbus, if not for bobrovskys outrageous season, they are not that good. I do think their defensive core is very good, but their offense had many guys over perform. I think prospal led them in scoring ( i may be wrong), so that is not a good sign. And dubinsky is not that good and gaborik had an early spurt after the trade, but clearly provided nothing in the stretch.

    I have had my issues with torts, but our core is very very good and our future looks great. As i said in the beginning of the season, Stepan reminds me of Savard and my point is being proven correct. Sather knew exactly what he was doing when he made him untouchable. Then we have defensive depth and many young guys waiting in the minors to make it to the next level. Future is very promising (not so much for the devils or flyers lol)

  3. Matt Josephs says:

    Call me a hater or whatever you want but I don’t think Boyle coming back is “crucial” to the Rangers. If he comes back and plays the third line I’ll be upset. He’s good at what he does, but he needs to be on the 4th line and play 4th line minutes. The team is screwed if he has to play 15 minutes a game.

    Staal coming back would be crucial and extremely helpful. Eminger hasn’t played bad per say, but Staal’s a huge upgrade.

  4. cv1919 says:

    Staal is no lock to leave for Carolina. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan Staal isn’t gone before too long. He had a poor season and looked unmotivated at times.

  5. Chris F says:

    You know, I heard a very interesting interview the other day on the Michael Kay Show with Tortorella and Don LaGreca. Torts noted that no one, not him, not upper management, realized how much the middle of the lineup had been “gutted” in the Nash deal and with the departures of Prust, Mitchell and Fedotenko. He said it wasn’t until the first couple of weeks of the season that he fully understand the lack of depth and flexibility. He said that the trade deadline, plus the re-signing of Zuccarello, restored the necessary pieces for a playoff run.

    Also, in a a very bit of shocking news, Torts revealed that it went right down to the wire on whether or not to trade Stepan or Anisimov in the the Nash deal. Can you imagine letting Stepan go in that trade? Crazy to think now.

  6. TxRanger says:

    As far as this series goes, I’m just gonna say: Rick Nash.

  7. DPeters says:

    Hope R Clowe is healthy for this series. I believe his big body is going to be critical against the Caps.