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Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers (C) Jack Roslovic #96 (L) and Braden Schneider #4 (R)  NHLGetty images

How to watch today's New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals NHL Playoffs First Round Game: Live stream, TV channel, and start time

The NHL regular season is done and dusted, and the postseason on the ice begins with a Metropolitan Division matchup in the most famous arena. The eighth-seeded Washington Capitals (40-31-7, 91 points) are on the road as they open up their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the top-seeded New York Rangers (44-23-4, 114 points) at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

The Capitals won their third game on the spin and fourth in the last five to finish the regular season on a high, as they edged the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on the road in their regular season finale on Tuesday night to punch their ticket to the postseason.

The Rangers, meanwhile, won the President's Trophy as the league's best regular season team. They won their final two games of the regular season as they thrashed Ottawa 4-0 in their regular season finale on Monday night at home.

Here, GOAL brings you all the information you need to know about this NHL match, including how to watch, team news, key results and head-to-head results.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals: Date & Puck-Drop time

DateSunday, April 21, 2024
Time3:00 pm ET/ 12:00 pm PT
ArenaMadison Square Garden
LocationNew York City, New York

The Stanley Cup Playoff Round 1 Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will take place at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA on Sunday, April 21, 2024. The game will begin at 3:00 pm ET/ 12:00 pm PT.

How to watch New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals NHL Game on TV & stream live online

The Rangers vs. Capitals NHL fixture will be broadcast live nationally on ESPN.

If you don't have cable TV, the best way to watch almost every NHL playoff game online is with DirecTV Stream Choice. Best of all, DirecTV Stream packages all start with a five-day free trial. You need to pay for DirecTV Stream's Ultimate plan ($119.99 per month) to get all the channels you need to watch games on national channels: ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, TBS, and TNT.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals Team News & Key Leaders

New York Rangers

The Rangers' most pressing concern is whether New York forward Filip Chytil will be available. Chytil appeared in only 10 regular-season games and spent most of the season recovering from a suspected concussion, including three weeks away from the squad in his homeland, Czech Republic. However, he returned to practise with the Rangers last week and has been medically cleared.

Artemi Panarin was the Rangers' most electric player this season, scoring 49 goals (a career-high) and providing 71 assists. His 120 points were also a career-best, and he was ranked fourth in the NHL regular season.

All eyes will be on him to deliver in these playoffs, especially after a difficult series against the Devils last year, where he only had two assists in the seven-game defeat.

The Rangers were thought to have a goaltending problem with the play of Jonathan Quick and Igor Shesterkin's struggles. While Shesterkin’s numbers dipped below the level he's proven capable of, there's little doubt about his talent and he finished his final ten games with a 7-3 record and a .911 save percentage. He ended the season on a positive with a 25-save clean sheet over the Ottawa Senators.

Washington Capitals

The status of defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Nick Jensen, both out with upper-body injuries at the end of the regular season, are the main injury questions heading into the series. Head Coach Stephen Carbery said on Thursday that both Sandin and Jensen have resumed skating and could be options for Game 1, depending on how they progress through the week.

D Ethan Bear (Personal) and C Nicklas Backstrom (Hip) have been ruled out of Game 1. Washington's forwards are as healthy as they have been all season. As the series begins, none of the lineup regulars are unavailable.

Washington's leading scorers, Alex Ovechkin and Strome, have combined for 58 goals and 132 points. Slowing down New York sharpshooter Panarin will be essential for the Capitals' chances of pulling off an unexpected shock.

Charlie Lindgren, the brother of Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren, has established himself as the Caps' goalkeeper, injecting some familial interest into the series. Lindgren has a 2.67 goals-against average in 50 games this season and tied for the NHL lead with six shutouts. That is two more than Igor Shesterkin.

Head-to-Head Record

Washington and New York were split 2-2 during the regular season, but the biggest difference at this stage is the attacking threat they bring with them, as Washington ranks 28th with 2.63 goals per game, while New York 7th at 3.39 per game.

14/01/24New York Rangers 2-1 Washington CapitalsNHL
13/01/24Washington Capitals 3-2 New York RangersNHL
28/12/23New York Rangers 5-1 Washington CapitalsNHL
10/12/23Washington Capitals 4-0 New York RangersNHL
02/04/23Washington Capitals 2-5 New York RangersNHL