Washington Capitals will face Florida in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs | OMCP News

For the first time in franchise history, the Washington Capitals will face the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the first time in franchise history, the Washington Capitals will face the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The first-round matchup was confirmed on Friday, with the Capitals ending the regular season in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference following their 3-2 loss against the New York Rangers.

The Panthers are the No. 1 seed in the East and finished with the best overall record in the NHL.

The first-round series begins Tuesday at FLA Live Arena in Florida.

The full schedule for the series is listed below.

Tuesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.: Capitals @ Panthers

Thursday, May 5, 7:30 p.m.: Capitals @ Panthers

Saturday, May 7, 1 p.m.: Panthers @ Capitals

Monday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.: Panthers @ Capitals

*Wednesday May 11, TBD: Capitals @ Panthers

*Friday, May 13, to be determined: Panthers @ Capitals

*Sunday May 15, to be determined: Capitals @ Panthers

(*If necessary)

“We know what they’re capable of and what kind of season they’ve had, and it’s going to be a big test for us,” defenseman John Carlson told reporters after the regular-season finale in New York. “We are excited to be back in a condition to play in the Stanley Cup. That’s the first step and that’s where our focus is now – our excitement and focus continues with that first game now.”

The Capitals, who had the NHL’s best road record this season, will begin the postseason as a lower seed on the road for the first time since 2012 and for only the second time in 14 playoff appearances in the Alex Ovechkin era. Washington limped to the regular-season finish line, losing three straight games in regulation and dropping four in a row overall (0-3-1).

“It’s certainly going to be new for us,” veteran forward Lars Eller said. “I think we’ve always been better on the road anyway and I think history shows that in the playoffs, home or away, it doesn’t really matter.”

Ovechkin missed the final three regular-season games with an upper-body injury. But the team is hopeful he can return for Game 1 in Florida. Ovechkin has never missed a playoff game in his career.

En route to winning the Presidents Trophy for the first time in team history, the Panthers scored a league-best 4.15 goals per game.

Led by a quartet of 30-goal scorers Aleksander Barkov (39), Sam Reinhart (33), Anthony Duclair (31) and Jonathan Huberdeau (30G), the Panthers are the highest-scoring team in the NHL since the Pittsburgh Penguins of 1995-96. . The 1995-96 campaign was, coincidentally, the last time the Panthers won a playoff series; the longest active drought in the NHL.

Despite suffering a 10-2 crushing loss in their final game of the regular season on Friday in Montreal, the Panthers went 14-3-0 down the stretch, highlighted by a best-ever 13-game winning streak. of the franchise.

The Capitals went 1-1-1 against Florida this season, with all three games played in November. Florida won their most recent meeting on Nov. 30, rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit to win 5-4 in regulation. The Panthers led the NHL with 11 comeback wins after trailing at the second half.

“They are an extremely fast team,” Eller said. “A lot of power up front, a lot of scoring ability. It’s going to be fun. They are the best team in the league this year, so it’s a big challenge for us, but I think our team can play a lot. [styles]whatever game comes up [to us]we can adjust and we can succeed.”

Catch every Capitals playoff game at 3:00 p.m. and be sure to download and subscribe to the Caps This Morning Podcast for more news and analysis with John Walton and Ben Raby


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