Now that the New Jersey Devils have booked a date in the Eastern Conference finals, they’ll be waiting to see if they’ll be facing the top-seeded New York Rangers or eighth-seeded Washington Capitals. Fortunately for the Devils, they’ve done pretty well against both teams during the regular season.
NHL.com’s Brian Compton broke down how the Devils fared against both teams and, unsurprisingly, they fared a bit better against the Capitals.
The Devils experienced more success against the Capitals than the Rangers during the regular season. New Jersey went 3-1-0 (two of those wins came via the shootout), while taking three of six meetings from the Rangers.
Taking two shootout wins into account basically means those games were draws. With how the Capitals have played things tight to the vest in the playoffs, more close games would almost certainly be the norm should the Devils draw Washington. Taking half of their meetings against the Rangers is solid work against the conference’s top team.
The Devils probably aren’t rooting to see one team over the other but rather to have the series go seven games and multiple overtimes to maximize the amount of rest they get before the next round. Should the Capitals wind up taking the series, however, New Jersey will have home ice. Maybe they do have rooting interest after all.