Barry Trotz once told the Washington Capitals that’d have to “go through the Island” to win another Stanley Cup Championship. That will be the case this year after the Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins on Sunday in their final Round Robin game.
It will be the first time the two clubs have seen each other since the Capitals defeated the Islanders in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. Behind the bench back then for the Caps was none other than current Islanders bench boss Barry Trotz.
“I think it will be a hell of a series,” Trotz said. “Both teams are well equipped to go at each other.”
The series will mark the first time the Islanders and Capitals face one another since the two met in February. The Caps and Isles split the season series 2-2-0 and are 4-4-0 against the Capitals since Trotz took over coaching in 2018.
The Series will not be short of storylines when it begins next week.
The Capitals handed the Islanders one of their worst losses of the regular season this year on Jan. 18. The Islanders had taken a 4-1 lead into the third period at Nassau Coliseum, but the Capitals rallied in the final 20 minutes led by Alex Ovechkin to win the game 6-4.
Trotz is also quite familiar with the Capitals having coached there for four seasons before joining the Islanders just weeks after winning the Stanley Cup with Washington. That makes Trotz quite familiar with the Capitals roster.
“That group as a lot of pedigree. They got a lot of star power,” Trotz said. “They won a championship, so they’re well equipped in a lot of areas. The biggest challenge is to play them even and play them hard. They’ll do the same because I know a lot about that group.”
The Capitals dropped their first two games of the Round Robin before defeating the Bruins on Sunday afternoon.
Washington had been one of the best teams during the regular season. They went 40-21-8 before the season was halted and had averaged 3.42 goals per game. The Capitals 237 goals were fourth-most in the league during the regular season.
“They’re both really solid teams,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said when asked about facing either the Capitals and Bruins. “Obviously they had a great season. They’re two teams that play the right way and works hard.”