Rangers ready for first-round battle against Capitals in Game 1

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers started the 2023-24 season with the goals of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs and winning it all. During the regular season, they set franchise records for wins (55) and points (114) and earned their eighth division title and fourth Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.

On Sunday, the Rangers will take their first postseason step in trying to achieve their ultimate goal when they host the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

For Peter Laviolette, once the puck drops he will go into the record books as the first head coach to be behind the bench with six different NHL teams in the playoffs (Islanders, Hurricanes, Flyers, Predators, Capitals and Rangers). His 154 games coached in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the most among active NHL coaches.

Throw in the caveat that Laviolette was fired by the Capitals last season after they missed the playoffs, and you have a spicy story. However, the Rangers bench bossed laughed off that angle.

“I’ve coached a lot of teams,” Laviolette quipped. “If this is the story, I mean I’ll have a story every round, I hope. I’ve coached a lot of teams.”

There are plenty of other story angles, including Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren taking on his brother, Capitals goalie Charlie Lindgren. The siblings spoke before the series and have agreed to not speak again until it’s over.

“We speak all the time,” Ryan said via the NY Post. “I texted him after Tuesday’s game to say, ‘Congratulations,’ and we said we’ll talk after the series.”

Storylines aside, the Rangers know that despite being the best team during the regular season, everyone’s record starts at 0-0 now. Better yet, they understand what they’ll need to focus on to be successful in this series.

“Defense is the priority for us,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “We’ve got a great lineup, great goaltenders. Gotta just continue to play our game.”

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals (GAME 1)
Date/Time: April 21, 2024 @ 3:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM
Series: 0-0

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: 3 reasons why the Rangers can win the Cup

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Rempe

Lindgren – Fox
Gustafsson – Trouba
Miller – Schneider


Note: The Rangers will not hold a morning skate. Coach Peter Laviolette will address the media at 12:30 p.m. ET. Check back here for updates.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals (Round 1)

1Apr. 21W, 4-1MSGMSG, ESPN
2Apr. 237:00 PM ETMSGMSG, ESPN
3Apr. 267:00 PM ETD.C.MSG, TNT
4Apr. 288:00 PM ETD.C.MSG, TBS
5May 1TBDMSGTBD (If Needed)
6May 3TBDD.C.TBD (If Needed)
7May 5TBDMSGTBD (If Needed)
New York Rangers vs Capitals, Schedule

The Rangers and Capitals split their season series, with each team winning twice at home. Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and K’Andre Miller led New York in scoring versus Washington with three points each. Igor Shesterkin was 2-1-0 against the Capitals with a 2.00 goals-against average, and a .926 save percentage.

This is the 10th time the Rangers have played the Capitals in the playoffs and hold a 5-4 series edge. New York is also 20-8 in Game 1s at Madison Square Garden.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Peter Laviolette needs 1 game to tie John Tortorella for 8th most games coached (w/playoffs)
  • Chris Kreider needs 3 points to tie Rod Gilbert (67) for third in Rangers’ playoff scoring history
  • Chris Kreider needs 1 game to surpass Marc Staal for 2nd all-time for Rangers’ playoff games played (108)

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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