May 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate from the bench after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking The Metropolitan Hate: #2

Now we can get down to real business. The bottom half of this list was merely a formality, as the Caps have had only two truly significant rivals in this most recent era. All the other teams have some nice fire-starter in place to ignite or reignite a rivalry, but the two remaining teams already have flames roaring and plenty of oxygen supplying them…

The List: Columbus Blue Jackets, #7, are a code green as far as rivalry… New Jersey Devils earned spot #6… Carolina Hurricanes dutifully take spot #5… Philadelphia Flyers, a code orange rivalry, #4… New York Islanders are #3

And now, taking the silver medal of hate from Caps fans…

#2 New York Rangers

Rivalry history: As they are old Patrick division foes, this rivalry also begins its story in the 1980s. However, with this specific team, there is absolutely no need to trace things back that far. The Caps and Rangers have met in the postseason four out of the past five seasons, playing a total of twenty-six playoff games… Boy, is that all? In the interest of maintaining a healthy blood pressure and a lower therapy bill, let’s run through these nightmares at a brisk pace.

2009: Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, followed by the Caps lighting up Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist for 14 goals in the next four games, leading to a game 7 at the Verizon Center, where Sergei Fedorov scored his final NHL goal to take the Caps to the second round.

2011: This turned out to be the least stressful series for these two teams during this span. The Caps wiped the Rangers out in a largely uneventful five game series in the first round. The highlight for New York turned out to be this chant, which was a clever response to Caps coach Bruce Boudreau’s biting criticism of Madison Square Garden and its fans… (Verizon Center counter chant)

2012: 2012 ended up being the series with the most at stake because it was the only series that took place in round two. This was Dale Hunter’s Caps team playing John Tortorella’s Rangers, and the style of play painfully reflected that. Rangers advanced in seven brutal games. YouTube highlights at your own risk, I’m moving on.

2013: This most recent series also ended in a game 7 victory for the Rangers, a 5-0 bloodbath in the Verizon Center that denied the Caps a second-round birth. Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” style. I’m done.

Reasons for future rivalry: See above.


Tags: New York Rangers Washington Capitals

  • Centerman

    We own you Caps fans. Early on in this stretch of Rangers vs Caps playoff series the Rangers got the final playoff spot by the skin on their teeth. We had no goal production and after the top defense pair, we didnt have what was needed to stop the Caps top line. Until this past season that’s all the offense the Caps got. The top line. However, through the draft and in a few brilliant free agent signings and trades this NY Ranger team owns the Caps. Beating you last season and the way it happened was better than 11/12. The King said no! The Caps had that long awaited 2nd line Centerman for 1 season but for an additional 1/2 mil refused to resign Ribeiro. He made 5 last year and signed for 5.5 with the Yotes. A bottom dweller. Bad move with the new division. No more eating up the SE division. Laich is going to be your 2nd pivot now? Back to being 1 and done in the playoffs. If the Caps are even going to make it this season, Holtby will need a super soaker for his weird concentration drills.

    • Scott Eby

      Haha, thanks for the thoughts. You guys have owned us, it hasn’t been pretty. I’m actually fine with letting Ribs walk. I didn’t enjoy his trash talking/unsportsmanlike penalties along with playing no defense. Not the identity/attitude I want for the Caps. He obviously put up numbers, but the Caps have prospects (Kuznetsov) (hopefully) coming down the pipes soon, so I’m fine with not giving that contract to a 33-year old. Caps aren’t legit contenders right now, so I’d rather take the slower approach.

      • Centerman

        I agree. That’s proven to be the way to go over the last 5 to10 years now. Most Cup teams if not all have built slowly through the draft and signed mid-level free agents to fill needs as they went along. High priced free agents get your team in trouble down the road. Signing players on potential is a mistake as well. Stick to the draft. You be patient with your prospects and it pays off. The core players on the Caps are still pretty young and they will always be competitive with them on the team. I think GM should have looked in free agency and grabbed a top 9 Center though. Laich isn’t a 2nd Centerman. He’s a checking line player/PKer. A good player and a heart and soul guy that I have a ton of respect for. I root for the hard working grinders more than anyone else. Unfortunately he’s not going to give you the offensive production you need in the 2nd round on to the finals.
        Ribeiro is a soft player. He doesn’t respond well to the physical grind in the playoffs. He takes stupid penalties when getting roughed up by defenders and teams exploit that. The Caps had a tough team last year all in all. They could get by with Ribeiro. They needed a top 4 defenseman. Having Erskine on the 2nd pairing is what ultimately did the Caps in IMO. He’s a good solid 5th or 6th Dman, just not really fit for 20 mins a game in the playoffs. GM is going to have to hope he can get something from either Perreault or Johansson this season. Maybe that kid makes an appearance at some point this year but I’ll never understand why he gave up the kid Forsberg for Erat. The Caps weren’t that good where it was time to go all in for a Cup. That move baffled me. Maybe GM is the problem

      • Centerman

        Looks like you got your Centerman. Grabovski was a smart signing by GM.

        • Scott Eby

          better, younger player than Ribeiro and for less money. Sounds good to me!

          • Centerman

            I agree, he’s very talented. Ribeiro may have been a little more consistent than Grabovski. Grabovski is hands down the more skilled player. He was never given the chance in Toronto. I’m surprised he wasn’t signed earlier. Oh well, I take back everything I said about the 13/14 Caps. They are now not only a better team but they just made themselves deep at Center. They have the two young kids in Johansson and Perreault to build around for the future. Maybe they pick up Oats’ system a little better in year 2 this year and they become a dangerous team. Maybe Laich stays healthy this year. They just need a top 4 defenseman now so Erskine can be bumped down to the 3rd pair. Maybe it’s from within or maybe a free agent in camp but they can’t use Erskine on the 2nd pair. He surprised me in the playoffs. He played well for 20 periods of play. I was waiting for him to make mistakes but he didn’t do it until the very start of the 21st period in the 7th game of that playoff series. He coughed up the puck to Callahan in the neutral zone and let him score the 4th goal and ice the game and the series. By the way. It was tied 2 games apiece in that series. Game 5 bothered me. Ribeiro scored in OT. We should have won that game.

            PS. A good idea for that team IMO would be to give the C to Laich or Brouwer. A player that leads on the ice and in the Locker room. Ovie just leads by his play on the ice. He is the best player on that team but that doesn’t always translate to being a leader. I think that hurts that team. He says stupid things to the press. I believe Oats made his comments about beating up Torts to take the eyes off Ovie and his conspiracy theories. The Caps need a leader. Ovie let Callahan and Stepan go tic tac toe right in front of him without backchecking at all. Not a leader.

          • Scott Eby

            Well said. Grabovski has great possession % numbers, whereas Ribeiro didn’t, and he got most of his points off the power play. Love Grabo as an upgrade.

            As for the Ovie C, I agree that it probably see somebody else, but I don’t know if you can do that to Ovie now. I don’t know how his confidence would handle it/I don’t know if the franchise wants to risk alienating its best player. Laich would be a great captain though.

          • Centerman

            I hear what you’re saying but they did it to Luongo who was captain of the Canucks for a couple years. They felt his game was hurting with all the added pressure of being captain. As far as Ovie goes, he’s one of those players that need there ………. stroked. I understand that and he may not like it at 1st but it may be best for him and the team. In saying all that, the Caps are back on the map. The Metro division is gonna be tight this season. I think the better competition will end up being good for the Caps and the Cains in the long run. The days of waltzing through the Southeast are over. The Caps are no longer the best team in their division. The Cains might just be a surprise this year as well. Good luck