Nearly 10 months after the Washington Capitals began their 2019-20 season, we finally know their Stanley Cup playoffs first-round opponent.
After defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Sunday afternoon, Washington has earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the New York Islanders in the first round.
The Islanders are a familiar foe for the Capitals. New York coach Barry Trotz led Washington to a Stanley Cup title in 2018. The two sides have faced one another seven times in the postseason, with the Islanders emerging victorious in five of those series. They have been chock full of famous moments from the Eastern Epic in 1987 to Dale Hunter’s infamous hit on Pierre Turgeon in 1993 to a classic seven-game series in 2015.
The 2020 matchup will be the first time the two teams have met in the playoffs since that 2015 series, when Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a late goal in Game 7 at Capital One Arena to win it for Washington in Trotz’s first year as head coach. The storylines in this one are endless as Trotz’s former assistant, Todd Reirden, looks for his first playoff series win behind the bench.
So, how have the Caps fared against the Islanders this season? Let’s take a look…
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Capitals vs. Islanders: Season Series 2-2
Oct. 4, 2019: Capitals defeat Islanders, 2-1
Both T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana excelled for Washington, each notching a goal. Braden Holtby was stellar in net, too, allowing just one goal on the night as the Capitals held on to for a 2-1 road victory in the first matchup between the two sides this season.
Dec. 31, 2019: Islanders defeat Capitals, 4-3
The celebrations came a little early on New Year’s Eve, as both the Caps and Isles each scored a pair of goals in the first period. However, New York would follow with another two-goal period, while the Caps would find the back of the net just once more on the day. Holtby struggled in net, allowing four goals and finishing with just 18 saves.
Jan. 18, 2020: Capitals defeat Islanders, 6-4
This game was arguably Washington’s best victory of the entire 2020 season. Trailing 4-1 entering the third period, the Capitals answered with five (!!) goals in the final frame to knock off the Islanders, 6-4. Alex Ovechkin continued his incredible hot streak, finishing the game with another hat trick.
Feb. 10, 2020: Islanders defeat Capitals, 5-3
The final contest between these two teams was not a pretty one for netminder Ilya Samsonov. The rookie goaltender allowed five goals within the first two periods and was eventually replaced by Holtby after just a .750 save percentage. Bad news for New York, however, as Samsonov will miss the entire postseason due to injury.
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2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opponent set: How Capitals fared vs. ex-coach Barry Trotz and Islanders originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington