Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
After their 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins to finish the round-robin tournament with a 1-1-1 record, the third-best in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals will take on the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The tournament will begin on Tuesday but the schedule has yet to be released.
The Islanders entered the qualifying round as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and defeated the Florida Panthers in four games in the best-of-five series after going 35-23-10 in the regular season.
The two teams split the four regular-season meetings and both teams had the same goal-differential in the series.
The Capitals defeated the Islanders in seven games during the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the last time they clashed in the postseason. Overall, the Islanders have won five of the seven Stanley Cup Playoff series between the two teams.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz coached the Capitals for four seasons (2014-18) and led them to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He resigned as the Capitals head coach on June 18, 2018, and signed a five-year contract with the Islanders three days later. Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was on his coaching staff all four years of his tenure, including the last two as an associate, and Islanders associate Lane Lambert was an assistant on Trotz’s staff in Washington. Islanders director of goaltending Mitch Korn was a part of his group in Washington too but backed off from his job as the goaltending coach after three seasons in that role.
With the loss, the Bruins will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final. The other series that are already set include the No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers and No. 12 Montreal Canadiens, No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights and the No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks, and the No. 2 Colorado Avalanche and the No. 11 Arizona Coyotes. The No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning will face the winner of Sunday’s Game 5 between the No. 8 Toronto Maple Leafs and No. 9 Columbus Blue Jackets. The No. 8 Calgary Flames will face the winner of Sunday’s round-robin game between the No. 4 Dallas Stars and No. 3 St. Louis Blues while the No. 7 Vancouver Canucks will get the loser of that game. All of the series will be a best-of-seven.
By Harrison Brown