The Capitals will face the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Washington sealed second place in the East Division with their win on Saturday, but third and fourth place had not yet been decided. With their 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders Monday, Boston cemented themselves into third place setting up the matchup with Washington.
The Caps will host the Bruins in the regular-season finale on Tuesday (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) in what will now be a preview of the first round. It will be the first of at least five and possibly eight straight games between these two teams.
Washington is 3-4-0 against Boston this season in what have been high-scoring, high-hitting affairs. The Bruins feature one of the best lines in hockey with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the top line. They also added some key scoring depth with the acquisition of Taylor Hall at the trade deadline.
What they don't have is their long-time captain, Zdeno Chara, who has become a regular for Washington this season on the third defensive pair. Behind the bench, Boston is coached by former Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy.
Alex Ovechkin won the first matchup between these two teams in overtime on Jan. 30, his first game back from the COVID-19 list, but the most memorable game of the season between these two teams came on March 5 when Tom Wilson delivered a high hit to defenseman Brandon Carlo which netted Wilson a seven-game suspension. That sparked a budding rivalry between these two teams that will now be reignited with a first-round postseason matchup.
Game One of the series is set for 7:15 p.m. on Saturday. The rest of the schedule has not yet been released.
Boston's win Monday also cements the New York Islanders in fourth place in the East. They will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, the winner of which will meet the winner of Washington-Boston.