Lead Item: It has to be a nice week for the Capitals. Having locked up the series days ago, they’ve had a nice week of looking forward to who they could lace up against in the next round. Even though the Caps were tidy in taking care of New York in five games, their fellow Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls haven’t been nearly as considerate: all three of the other first round series are heading the distance for seven games. The second-seeded Flyers topped the Sabres last night to win the decider, while the third-seeded Bruins host the Canadiens and the Pens and Lightning face off in dueling game sevens this evening.
One thing that helps make the one seed valuable in the hockey playoffs is that it isn’t a true bracket – that is to say, the Caps would not be locked into playing the winner of the 4-5, Pittsburgh/Tampa matchup. Instead, the matchups are determined by a shuffling so that the one seed is guaranteed to play the lowest-seeded team left. While it isn’t possible for the Caps to play the Bruins in the next round, all three of the other teams are eligible opponents for the boys of the Phone Booth. Let’s take a look:
- Pittsburgh Penguins (4 seed, 49-25-8 regular season, Washington won season series 3-0-1) – I don’t need to go into this team too much, do I? Wouldn’t it be expected for these two to meet in the playoffs after the 2009 series, this year’s Winter Classic and all the normal amount of vitriol? The Caps get the Penguins if both Boston and Pittsburgh win this evening.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (5 seed, Â 46-25-11 regular season, Washington won season series 4-1-1) – This fellow Southeastern foe led the division for much of the latter part of the season until March when the Caps turned the jets on to secure its fourth consecutive division title. If the Bruins win, the Caps will match up with the ‘ning if TB triumphs over Pittsburgh.
- Montreal Canadiens (6 seed, 44-30-8 regular season, Washington won season series 3-0-1) – Want to exorcise the demons of last year? Go through the team Â who gave you fits through the fall. If the Habs can knock off the Bruins, regardless of what happens in Pittsburgh tonight, you can welcome some took [sic]-wearing Quebecers to the Verizon Center.
How do those match-ups work? I’d look to We Love DC tomorrow, if I were you: once the opponent is determined, you’ll see a much better preview from our brilliant hockey staff. The rest of this week in DC sports is in the ticker, after the jump.
The Ticker: Look, I really don’t want to talk about The-Redskins-Owner-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but this second lawsuit against WCP is kind of ridiculous. Here’s a wrap up from the folks at the Atlantic of all the smart people mocking or talking about it, so I don’t have to beyond this…Every day I wake up, I wonder which Mike Morse the Nationals will get. As long as he plays the Pirates, things seem to be going his way: he’s 5 for 8 in the first two games of the series with a home run and 4 RBI…pretty soon, we can stop speculating on the Red, White and Blue Wizards;Â new jerseys will be unveiled on May 10.
Closing Number: 12 – wins between the Caps and this ridiculous oil painting about the Caps and the Stanley Cup coming partly true.