The New York Rangers relied on their poise and maturity to earn the two wins they needed when facing elimination and advance to Round 2. Vezina nominee Henrik Lundqvist has continued to dazzle between the pipes, and rookie Chris Kreider has emerged as a force in the five games he's played.
Offensive production from the forwards could be a concern. Brad Richards leads the team with five points, but Marian Gaborik needs to be better—he has just three points so far. Brian Boyle is the only injured Ranger, out with a concussion after his collision with Chris Neil in Game 5.
The Washington Capitals are on a huge high after ousting the defending Cup champs in overtime in Boston on Wednesday, but their road has been a bit rockier to this point.
Alex Ovechkin is leading the team with five points but has admitted that he dislikes his diminished ice time, so there is some tension to consider between the star and coach Dale Hunter. At forward, Hunter has tinkered with using both Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble, who made the key play in front of Tim Thomas on Joel Ward's Game 7 overtime winner.
The coach has also been dissatisfied with his third defensive pairing, shuffling Jeff Schultz and John Erskine in and out of the lineup in Round 1. Schultz got the call to play with Dennis Wideman in Game 7.
The bright spot for the Caps has been the stellar play of rookie Braden Holtby in goal. At the end of Round 1, Holtby is sitting on a .940 save percentage, virtually even with Lundqvist's .945. If Holtby can continue to shine, Washington should be able to match up in net against the Rangers in Round 2.
Washington is also healthy, with no key injuries at this time.