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First-Round Opponent: Who Do You Want?

As the Capitals close in on a second straight Southeast Division title and look to lock up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, let's take another look at some potential first-round playoff matchups.

Last week, readers voted for Carolina Hurricanes over Philadelphia Flyers (no surprise there) and were undecided on whether Caps vs. Pittsburgh Penguins or Caps vs. 'Canes would be a more favorable matchup.

If the season ended today, Washington would take on the seventh-seeded New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Two other strong possibilities are the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers, who are climbing into contention. Of those three, who would you want the Caps to face?

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 2, 2009; 1:33 PM ET
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Next: Caps Sign Joe Finley


From the previous thread:

I was able to catch Finley this season as well because a lot of North Dakota games hit my TV. He's OK, but not sure if even compares with what we already have in the system. North Dakota didn't even put Finley on the ice in the last minute of the game (after a TO) against New Hampshire when a trip to the Frozen Four was on the line. New Hampshire scored the tying goal, and then Finley was on the ice for New Hampshire's game winning goal in the first minute of overtime. Finley wasn't anywhere near the crease, which is where the UNH player was when he scored the decisive goal. A link to a picture of Finley watching the season go down the toilet is at the bottom of this post.

Just don't know how valuable this kid will be to the Caps if his College coach didn't want to use him in a critical situation at the end of regulation.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I want Habs. Won't happen, but I want the Habs.

Of course, having the Habs out entirely would be cool too.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It is really fun to hear people whine and moan and cry in that New York Accent. I vote Rangers.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I want the Habs because I would love for the Capitals to be the ones to oust during their 100 celebration season. My biggest concern would be one-sided officiating.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town, I'm with you. Rags. If only because I sorely miss Torts and can't wait to hear another press conference.

Stoked about the possibility of Holtby. He likes to play the puck a lot, so it would be certainly interesting to see how he does in a bigger, faster league.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

all take any of them :) Of course, i want the habs to miss the playoff entirely, too! how's that 100 year party going for ya now? he he he.

fanohock, rumor is that Finley has a separated shoulder. That may have played into not putting him on the ice.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Here's a great shootout goal from a young Edmonton signee...sweet.

Posted by: saintex | April 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

panthers. I'm shocked more don't.
careful what you wish for.

Posted by: oo7 | April 2, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I vote Rangers so I can Rock my Red in NYC.

Steve in Jersey

Posted by: sjshanno | April 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse


Then Cats.

Then Rags.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Bring em on; any of them or any of the other three we might face. I sure hope the players are wishing for any team in particular. Let's just win, and whomever we face, fine.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse


I'm thinking you do a "Green for Norris" Poster next game? eh?

Posted by: richmondphil | April 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"hope the players are _not_" of course

Posted by: Sonyask | April 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I suppose since Tampa isn't on the short list...I'll go with the Habs...I think we match up well with the Habs, and we have never had a play-off series with them. I think the guys love playing up there as well.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I would love to play the Red Wings first round.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I want to play the Red Wings in the LAST round. Some sweet revenge for them skating the cup around our ice.

Posted by: Baildog | April 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I want the Pens first round - time to get the monkey off our backs and it would mean they were slumping their way through the end of the reg. season.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | April 2, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I voted for the Cats, but I'd ultimately rather have the chance to put Pitt out of contention.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | April 2, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I vote on any team but the Pens. If it should be them, we need to reverse history. Short erm Cap fans, check history. Caps do NOT fare well against Pens, 7 playoff series w/ Pens winning 6. Need I say more

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If we play the Rangers...insert Torts pictures in urinals.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Capsfannmiss, Wait, you mean the Lightning aren't going to make the playoffs? When did this happen? Grrrr... There goes my bracket.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The Florida Panthers would be the most favorable opponent. The path of least resistance is the way to go.

Posted by: thomas20 | April 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

habs, absolutely...would love to watch their fans cry on their 100th year.

Wouldn't mind watching pushy new yorkers cry as well that the caps beat them and that they dont understand why the yankees still cant buy a championship

Posted by: _stevo | April 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Don't the Panthers have the Caps' number during the past few years? I vote Habs. Perhaps Ovi can pull off a few more highlight reel games against them.

Posted by: koalatek | April 2, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@SA town

Tort's picture in urinals is GOLD....GOLD!!!!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Alexandre Giroux & Keith Aucoin are both AHL First Team All-Stara, Coiner at C, Roux at LW.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I also dont trust the Habs fans. I can see a Tanya Harding on Ovie's knee as he gets off the bus before game 3.

Those frog's are nuts.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 2, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I vote Rangers so I can Rock my Red in NYC.

Steve in Jersey

Posted by: sjshanno | April 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I am with you!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 2, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the Caps won't have to worry about Lecavalier in the game on Thursday. He's out for the rest of the season to undergo wrist surgery.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@jmu girl

YOU are a WORLD of info!!! You should intern for T El B.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Mike Green was in fact only the SEVENTH defenseman to net 30 goals? Below is the link that was posted on japers.

You decide...

Posted by: Fro_ | April 2, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I will take any of them, if the Caps REALLY put there all into it they could beat any of these teams!

Also, there is a bracket on for the "play of the year showdown" all Caps fans should go and help Ovie out!!!!!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 2, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

bhound69, its amazing what you learn when you have a light class load, an odd work schedule and an internet connection.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rachel216 | April 2, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm just bored at work, JMU. Now it's been TEN minutes and I'm waiting for some useful information from you, please, I'm starting to get the DT's.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Okay, if you took out the "loser point", the Caps would only be down 4 pts to the Bruins with 94. The Flyers would be 6th, the Canes 5th, and the Pens 4th. And the Sharks would be the only team in the league with 100 points.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If Green hadn't scored last night, his buddy stipulated he would have had to drop the asking price on his Escalade so he could buy it. As it was, since he did score, he won dinner off him.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I have never been a big fan of the "loser" point. BUT good info none the less. Any word on re alignment of the divisions next year?? I seem to have heard something along those lines.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Come on. Who wants to see Brashear beat Avery into a pulp. I do! I do!

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the Habs for several reasons, One OV loves to play in Montreal, so he will be even more pumped, two)How sweet would it be to knock them out of their 100 season, and 3) They are been playing bad hockey since the first of the year, a 4 or 5 game series good for rest, and let Jersey Play Pens in 3 vs 6 and beat the crap out of each other.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 2, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Highly doubt it. I'd like to see it, but I don't think its been a major topic of conversation the at GM meetings this year.
The problem of realignment is in the execution. If you take the Caps out of the SE, which I think would be the starting point, you're left with four SE teams. Now, you could move Nashville to the division, but then you're short a WC team. Who do you send west?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Caps beat any of the Habs Cats Rags but honestly the Rags have turned it around quite nicely at the end of the season. So I think they have good talent and momentum and would rather face the Cats or Hab-nots.

Posted by: justbrewit | April 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Come on. Who wants to see Brashear beat Avery into a pulp. I do! I do!

Posted by: oldtimehockey

Me 2! Me 2!

That would be a great welcome back for Brash (and a 5 minute rest 'cause he might be tired)

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

We can send the Islanders...they've already won 4 cups (in a row), they really haven't held their weight as an Eastern Conference team anyway. We could get the Caps out of SE div and call it the "Warm Weather Division". JK....serious I think as a money maker, getting Pitt/Wash in the same div for 6 games a year w/ potential playoff matchups, means $$$ for all.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

philly has been slipping, they are a candidate also.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

*drools at the thought of Brashear beating Avery into a pulp* =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 2, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

God, I was just thinking how it seemed like yesterday that I couldn't wait for training camp to start and get on with the season. So ever quickly we are a week away from the Playoffs! Wow!!!

Anyway, my 2 cents, We can beat any team in the East and will. Go CAPS!!!

Posted by: Iceman10 | April 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd pick Montreal. Because I want to see 'the Yankees on skates' lose to the Capitals but also because (unlike baseball's Bombers) I like and respect their fans. Every Caps/Habs game I've attended in either city has been a great experience.

Posted by: greggwiggins | April 2, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


Your enthusiasm is intoxicating!!! I'll have a double!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

bhound69, I believe the suggested name was the "NASCAR Division". lol Yeah, Caps, Pens and Flyers would make great divisional teams. Geographically, you could break the Pens off and send them to the west, but what fun would that be?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Your are right! No fun. The old Patrick division was the best. I don't miss first round exits from the playoffs dished out from Pitt. We need to start a NEW revolution. Pitt must fear Ovie/Semin like we feared Lemieux/Jagr.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

silly people. 50% for Habs?
think of it like blackjack: 21 isn't the objective, beating the dealer is.
Boston vs Montreal would be great. There is ALWAYS at least one upset in each conference. B's and Habs have an ancient rivalry. Montreal beats Boston, Washington is highest seed, toughest opponent is gone.
Meanwhile, don't under estimate King Henrik. All you need in the post is a hot goalie. The better the goalie, well...

Posted by: oo7 | April 2, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, whoever asked just got their wish. Caps just signed Finley.

bhound69, I thought I had done a good job at breaking the teams up into new division, having relocated Tampa & Phoenix, but the Conferences are giving me fits.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 2, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

signing Finley doesn't mean a thing. He could spend his entire career in the minors.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 2, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

When football did it finally, to lower travel mileage, it meant messing with the rivalries. Hockey ripped us out from our favorite matchups and aligned us geographically. 15 straight years of playoff bliss and this is what we get. I could go on and on....there is always tomm.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Thats was our 3:49pm hotwire update from JMU girl....She saves us all from scouring endless hockey websites from this "up to minute" breaking news. Praise!!!!!!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Voted panthers... Let them get through round 1 so they can get confidence for the next rounds! The Rangers are on their way back which worries me. They aren't a powerhouse but they aren't the easy opponent they were a couple months ago... Habs are a wild card in the playoffs because they have more post-season experience than our kids.

That said bring on the Caps vs Rangers, already have a crew of caps and rangers friends (Yea, I'm friends with Ranger's fans, hard not to be when you live here) to watch with so I'd get to rub it in. Up close and personal.

Posted by: mrszilla | April 2, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I was listening to Potvin on XM and he feels the Rags will be the odd team out. They have the toughest remaining sched and even with the win against NJ the other day all their scoring is secondary and that a team can't win consistently without the top lines scoring. So out with the Rags, Panties finish 8 and we get Les Miserables!!
On to the 2nd round.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 2, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The Habs and Panthers seem to play us tough. Normally I'd say Florida is the weakest of those teams, but I don't like the way the Caps have looked against them.

New York really isn't that good, and I think the Caps are in their heads after that comeback a few months ago.

Posted by: benz9 | April 2, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse


That win was beautiful! Was out with all Rangers fans, including my brother in law, who started ragging on me once it got to 4-0. All he kept saying was "It's over, it's over!" I just sat there quietly (ok, I was quiet while we were losing, then as loud as loud gets once we caught up), and watched their lead get demolished and then overtaken. Beautiful night when I'm the only happy fan in a bar in NYC.

Posted by: mrszilla | April 2, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Gotta play the Habs. I think Price is going to be a bit shaky during the playoffs. He was last year and got yanked in Game 3 in the Flyers series. The Caps have played them pretty well this year except for that horribly fluky loss off Juice's skate in Montreal.

In the playoffs, goalies can win a series for you and both Vokoun and King Henrik could always do that.

Posted by: DrCapsFan | April 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Be careful what you wish for. For once I just want to enjoy the fact that most teams fear and respect the Caps as an opponent. Do not get your hopes up that we will face a specific team and then get dashed when they get a hot goalie or lucky breaks or tilted officiating. Let the Canes, Flyers and Pens fans talk all the smack they want, but do not stoop to their level and talk it back by selecting opponents. The Caps will be ready to face whoever, whenever (any of the four rounds)and wherever (hopefully play good home and away). The Caps can enjoy the remaining 10 days of the season while those teams all worry about just getting in.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 2, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The real value of getting a #2 instead of a #3 seed isn't who the Caps play in the first round, it's getting home ice advantage in the second round. I think the Caps will have about equal difficulty (which hopefully isn't that much) no matter who they play in the first round. I know home ice doesn't have the same value in hockey as home field or home court has in other sports, but it would be a bit of an edge, especially if they have to play the Devils in round two.

Posted by: rrthaler | April 2, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I vote Rangers so I can Rock my Red in NYC.

Steve in Jersey

Posted by: sjshanno | April 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I am with you!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 2, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Me 3

Posted by: Moose33 | April 2, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to see the Caps advance to the second round, at least. If the Caps win the first round, they could advance to the conference finals, I think. Getting the #2 seed is critical for them and I'm sure the players know it. Getting bounced in the first round would be tough to take.

Posted by: Dougeb | April 2, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that more people don't want to have rivals within our division. Right now, most of our rivals are teams from the old Patrick Division. The way that we become bitter rivals with teams in our division? Play them in the playoffs. Maybe we'll meet Carolina in a later round (knock on wood)

Posted by: gtowncapsfan | April 3, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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