Joseph Robin The Hockey Writers
Capital Punishment: Rangers Could Face Familiar Foe
Like Adam Sandler movies, Edmonton drafting first overall, and Meghan Trainor songs, there’s an NHL playoff series that’s become so repetitive, tiresome, and monotonous that another matchup of these teams will indubitably lead to complaints by the media and fans.
And we might see it again this year.
With the New York Rangers leading their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins 3 games to 1 and with the Washington Capitals leading their series against the New York Islanders 3 games to 2, the entire hockey world is collectively rolling their eyes at what could be the fifth Rangers-Capitals series in seven years.
The Rangers and Capitals have faced each other 4 times since 2009, each team winning 2 series. With the exception of the 2012 2nd round matchup, they were all first round meetings. They’ve gone a full 7 games three different times.
The Capitals have made up 36% of playoff opponents for the Rangers and the Rangers represent a whopping 57% of teams Washington has faced in playoff competition.
Those are incredible numbers. These teams are crazy familiar and there are a ton of returning members of each team from previous matchups. It could potentially give us another exciting series. There have been some great moments from years past, like Marian Gaborik’s 3OT winner in 2012 or Brad Richard’s tying goal in game 5 of that series, Jason Chimera’s 2OT goal in 2011, or even Sergei Fedorov’s late goal in game 7 in 2009?
Fans have gotten involved in the action too. John Tortorella squirted a fan with a water bottle in 2009. And the Rangers fans showered Bruce Boudreau with a solid “Can your hear us?” chant after some of his negative comments about the building. (sorry, Islanders fans. Rangers fans came up with this one first)
RELATED: Date with Capitals a Potential Playoff Nightmare for Rangers
But do we really have to sit through another one of these? On the one hand, this could be a very exciting series that delivers some great moments. On the other hand, we’ve seen these teams so many times already and the storylines have run dry and there seems to be little excitement for this rematch to happen.
So here’s the thing. The Islanders have to come back to win the series against Washington. Islanders-Rangers is a much sexier matchup and could give us some of the best hockey we’ll see in the playoffs. The Islanders have to fend off elimination on home ice and then steal game 7 on the road and I think it’s our duty as hockey fans to cheer them on to this comeback.
Because there are only so many of these Rangers-Capitals playoff games a guy can watch.
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