Capitals will play Bruins in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs


The Washington Capitals will play the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Washington (34-15-5) will finish second in the MassMutual Division and will have home-ice advantage against third-place Boston (33-14-7) in the best-of-7 series.

Game 1 will be at Washington on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVAS).

The Bruins are 4-1-2 against the Capitals this season, outscoring them 25-22; the teams finish their regular-season series in Washington on Tuesday.

The Capitals, who are 3-4-0 against the Bruins, are led by center Nicklas Backstrom with nine points (one goal, eight assists) and forward T.J. Oshie with eight points (five goals, three assists) in those seven games. Forwards Lars Eller (three goals, one assist) and Alex Ovechkin (two goals, two assists), and defenseman John Carlson (one goal, three assists) each scored four points. Rookie Vitek Vanecek was 3-3-0 with a 3.19 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in six games. Ilya Samsonov was 0-1-0 with a 3.66 GAA and .872 save percentage in two games (one start).

Forward Brad Marchand leads the Bruins with 13 points (seven goals, six assists) against the Capitals, followed by forwards Patrice Bergeron with nine points (three goals, six assists), David Pastrnak with eight points (three goals, five assists) and Craig Smith with seven points (three goals, four assists). Jaroslav Halak was 2-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .931 save percentage in two games, and Tuukka Rask was 1-0-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .905 save percentage in three games. Rookie Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves in a 4-2 win April 8, and rookie Dan Vladar made 25 saves in an 8-1 loss April 11.

Backstrom leads the Capitals with 53 points (15 goals, 38 assists), followed by Carlson with 44 points (10 goals, 34 assists). Oshie has scored 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists), and Ovechkin has scored 42 points, including a Washington-high 24 goals, in 44 games.

Vanecek is 20-10-4 with a 2.74 GAA, a .907 save percentage and two shutouts in 36 games (35 starts). Samsonov is 13-4-1 with a 2.69 GAA, a .902 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 games (18 starts). Craig Anderson is 2-1-0 with a 2.13 GAA and .915 save percentage in four games (two starts).

Ovechkin has not played in seven of the past eight games because of a lower-body injury.

Entering Monday, Marchand led the Bruins with 28 goals and 67 points, followed by Bergeron with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists), and Pastrnak with 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 47 games. Rask was 14-5-2 with a 2.29 GAA, a .914 save percentage and two shutouts in 23 games. Halak was 9-6-4 with a 2.53 GAA, a .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 games (17 starts). Swayman was 7-2-0 with a 1.44 GAA, a .946 save percentage and two shutouts in nine games. Vladar was 2-2-1 with a 3.40 GAA and an .886 save percentage in five games.

This will be the fourth playoff series between Boston and Washington. The Capitals won two of the first three, including the most recent, in seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference First Round.

The Capitals, who qualified for the playoffs for a seventh straight season, lost to the Islanders in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round last season.

The Bruins, who qualified for a fifth straight season, lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference Second Round last season.

The series winner will play the winner of the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 1) and New York Islanders (No. 4) in the second round.

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