At first glance, the Rangers seem to have played their way into a best-case scenario. A 10-3-1 April propelled them into the sixth spot on the last day of the 48-game regular season and a fourth playoff matchup against the Capitals in the last five years, thus avoiding the top-seeded Penguins and, most likely, Sidney Crosby. Except, of course, the Capitals are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference right now. The series opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Verizon Center. Game 2 is 12:30 on Saturday, and the series moves to Madison Square Garden on May 6 and May 8 (7:30 starts). "I think we are where we need to be," defenseman Dan Girardi said after the Rangers' concluded their regular season Saturday with a convincing 4-0 win over the bags-packed Devils. "April was a good month for us. We played our style of hockey and won in different fashions." There's also a certain sense of familiarity in facing the Capitals, even if 12 players on the Rangers' roster did not participate in their seven-game win in last year's conference semifinals. That put the Rangers in the conference final for the first time since 1997, before they lost to the Devils in six games.
Capitals are a tough out
North Jersey | Apr 29