Photo: Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals know that they will finish first in the Metropolitan Division for a fourth consecutive season but do not know who their first opponent will be to begin their quest for a repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. The New York Islanders secured second place in the division on Thursday so the Capitals will not see former head coach Barry Trotz and company nor the Montreal Canadiens, who are guaranteed to finish no higher than the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, when the First Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next week. The Capitals will find out their first-round opponent, which is one of the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, or Pittsburgh Penguins after the 7:00 PM games wrap up tomorrow. Here is what has to happen for any of those teams to draw the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the First Round:
To face the Penguins:
The Penguins would have to lose to the New York Rangers in regulation at home and the Hurricanes would have to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in any fashion.
To face the Blue Jackets:
The Blue Jackets would have to win both of their remaining games (at the Rangers and at the Senators) and the Hurricanes fall to the Flyers in any fashion OR if the Blue Jackets win a game and lose a game in overtime or shootout and the Hurricanes lose in regulation.
To face the Hurricanes:
Any other combination of the three will result in a Capitals-Hurricanes First Round series.
By Harrison Brown