Only one Eastern Conference first-round match-up was officially set Saturday, and for the fourth time in the last five seasons (and third in a row), the Washington Capitals will meet the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To say that these two teams are familiar with each other is an understetement of epic proportions: They have played 19 postseason games against each other dating back to 2009, with the Capitals winning two of the three series.
To refresh your memory (and perhaps reignite your hatred for the Rangers), I present to you a Washington/New York postseason retrospective. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might get a little wet...with water.
2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
The second-seeded Capitals were the third-highest scoring team during the regular season, but could only muster five goals through the first four games of their 2009 first-round series with the seventh-seeded Rangers, who led the seven-game series 3-1. Washington, however, forced a Game 7 at Verizon Center with two dominate performances in Games 5 and 6.
During Game 5, Rangers head coach John Tortorella squirted an overzealous fan with water and threw a water bottle into the crowd. The NHL suspended him for Game 6, but upon his return to Washington for Game 7, Capitals fans behind the bench were prepared.
In the series-deciding game (which was actually four years ago today), Sergei Fedorov scored one of the biggest postseason goals in franchise history (so far) when he used Wade Redden as a screen and wristed a shot past Henrik Lundqvist with just under five minutes left. It was the second time in team history that the Capitals were able to erase a 3-1 deficit en route to winning a playoff series.
2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
The Capitals and Rangers renewed their rivalry two springs later, but this time, it was the former that jumped out to a 2-0 series lead thanks to an overtime goal by Alexander Semin in Game 1 and a 22-save shutout by Michal Neuvirth in Game 2.
New York got the better of Washington in Game 3 and led Game 4 3-0 entering the third period. The Capitals, however, rallied and forced double overtime, where Jason Chimera took advantage of a bouncing puck to lift them to a 3-1 series lead.
The Capitals ultimately won the series in five games.
While Tortorella grabbed the headlines in 2009, Bruce Boudreau did so in 2011 by ripping Madison Square Garden:
"Well, the one thing, its reputation is far better than the actual building. I mean, it's nothing. The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There's no room for anything. But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building's a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it's not that loud in there."
2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals
The Capitals and Rangers met AGAIN last season, but as one might have expected, there was certainly no lack of drama.
The series was tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5 after New York and Washington traded victories through the first four games, including a 2-1 triple-overtime Game 3 victory for the Rangers that did not end until 12:14 a.m.
With 21.3 seconds left in Game 5 and the Capitals leading 2-1, Joel Ward earned a four-minute double minor for high-sticking Carl Hagelin. Less than 15 seconds later, Brad Richards tied the game to force overtime.
Ward's penalty extended into overtime, where Marc Staal won it for New York.
Washington rebounded in Game 6, but fell in Game 7 to lose their first postseason series to New York since 1994.
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