Despite all of their growing pains this season, the Washington Capitals enter the playoffs having won four of their final five games of the regular season and playing some of their best hockey.
The Caps finished the regular season with a dominant 4-1 win over the New York Rangers, moving from eighth in the conference to seventh. They'll face off against the second-seeded Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Caps are 3-1 against the Bruins this season, including 3-2 shootout thriller on March 29 in Boston.
"That means nothing," said former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman. "Boston is a different team in the playoffs.
"It's exciting no matter who we play. It's the playoffs and it'll be a great first round. The Bruins are the defending champions."
Right wing Troy Brouwer said the Caps' record against the Bruins helps their confidence going into the series, but not as much as the way the Caps have been playing lately with four wins in their last five games.
"They've got a lot of playoff experience and they play tough in the playoffs," said Brouwer, who won a Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. "Everyone will tell you when you get into the playoffs, it's a completely different game. We have to up our game and tonight was a good step forward."