The Washington Capitals continue into the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. The Caps defeated the New York Rangers five games to one in the first round. They won their first two games at home, 2-1 and 2-0. Then the Caps traveled to New York for games three and four. After falling in game three, 3-2, the Caps got the momentum back after trailing, 3-0, in game four. Then they scored four unanswered goals and the game-winning goal in double over time. With home ice advantage for game five, the Caps had a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Saturday, April 23, at the Verizon Center and did so. They defeated the Rangers, 3-1, and sent them packing for the season.
The Caps had almost a week off before knowing who their semifinals opponent would be. There was a whole bunch of scenarios on their possible opponent. At the end of the day, on Wednesday, the Caps learned they would be playing the Southeast Division team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are in the same division as the Capitals. However, the Caps are back-to-back-to-back to back Southeast Division Champs.
In round two, the Caps continue to have home ice advantage and will play games one and two at the Verizon Center this Friday and Sunday with 7:00 p.m. puck drops. Both games will be aired on Versus. Games three and four are in Tampa Bay back-to-back with 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. puck drops, May 3 and May 4. Game five, if needed, is back at the Verizon Center, May 7, 12:30 p.m., to air on NBC. Game six is scheduled to be back in Tampa, May 9, but game seven is scheduled in D.C., May 11. Game times and networks are to be announced for the last two games.
During the regular season the Caps played Tampa, defeating them five times and losing to them once. Their biggest regular season win against the Bolts was a 6-0 win Nov. 26. The Caps have the advantage of playing on six days rest. The Bolts will have two days rest.