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Capitals advance, will face Rangers in playoffs again

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers will meet again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, this time in the 2015 Eastern Conference Second Round.

Washington defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 7 at Verizon Center on Monday to win its first-round series.

The Capitals and Rangers will open the second round at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Rangers are guaranteed to start every playoff series on home ice because they won the Presidents' Trophy with 113 points.

New York advanced with a five-game, first-round win against the Pittsburgh Penguins; the Rangers defeated the Penguins 2-1 in overtime in Game 5 at the Garden on Friday.

It will be the fourth time in five years and fifth in seven that the Rangers and Capitals will meet in the playoffs.

The Capitals defeated the Rangers in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, coming back from 3-1 to win in seven games. In 2011, Washington lost three of four games to New York during the regular season and was outscored 18-6, but defeated the Rangers in five games in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in five games, including overtime wins in Games 1 and 4.

The Rangers defeated the Capitals in seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals. New York won Game 7 at home 2-1. New York again defeated Washington in seven games in 2013 in the same round, winning 5-0 in Game 7 at Verizon Center.

Ten Rangers from the 2013 series are on this New York team. Only goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi remain from the loss to the Capitals in 2009.

New York won three of four games against Washington this season, including 4-2 at Verizon Center on April 11 in the regular-season finale. The Rangers defeated the Capitals 3-1 at Verizon Center on March 11, and lost 5-2 at Madison Square Garden on March 29.

Centers Derick Brassard and Kevin Hayes led New York with five points against Washington. Left wing Rick Nash scored three of his Rangers-high 42 goals against the Capitals; he played in three of the four games.

Lundqvist allowed four goals in two wins against Washington, with a .929 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average. The Rangers outscored the Capitals 7-2 in the first period.

Washington was 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) on the power play against the Rangers. Captain Alex Ovechkin scored each of Washington's power-play goals and had five total. The Capitals scored 10 non-shootout goals against the Rangers during the regular season.

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