How does history stack up against c?

New York Rangers
New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the third period in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals, Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

The New York Rangers are the first team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to advance to the second round after sweeping the Washington Capitals in four games — the Blueshirts put the bow on top of a swift beatdown with a 4-2 victory on Sunday night down in D.C.

This is about as chalk as it gets for a playoff series. The Rangers were expected to roll having won the Presidents’ Trophy against an aging, ineffective Capitals team that saw its superstar, Alex Ovechkin, completely neutralized by a brilliant defensive showing from New York.

First-round sweeps are not all that common in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is the first time the Rangers have pulled this off since 2007 when they took care of the Atlanta Thrashers. It is also just the 20th time since 2003 that we have seen a first-round sweep.

But how did the previous 19 teams across the last 20 postseasons fare? Not too great, which is something the Rangers will try to avoid this spring.

Rangers Capitals
New York Rangers players shake hands after defeating the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

Of the 19 teams to execute first-round sweeps, 10 lost in the second round. That includes the Rangers, who lost in seven games to the Buffalo Sabres after sweeping Atlanta.

From 2019-2023, two of the teams that swept a first-round series (the Islanders in 2019 and the Winnipeg Jets in 2021) did not win a game in the following round.

Only six of those 19 teams ultimately advanced to the Stanley Cup Final and just one team won it. That was the Colorado Avalanche in 2022, which happened to be the last team to sweep a first-round series before the Rangers on Sunday.

So, perhaps recent history is on the Blueshirts’ side. The full list of the last 19 teams is below:

  • 2022: Avalanche sweep Predators in 1st round, beat Blues in 6, won Stanley Cup
  • 2021: Avalanche sweep Blues, lost to Knights in 6
  • 2021: Jets Sweep Oilers, swept by Canadiens
  • 2019: Blue Jackets sweep Lightning, Lost to Bruins in 6
  • 2019: Islanders sweep Penguins, Swept by Hurricanes
  • 2018: Knights sweep Kings, beat Sharks in 6, lost Stanley Cup Final
  • 2018: Sharks sweep Ducks, lot to Knights in 6
  • 2017: Predators sweep Blackhawks, beat Blues in 6, lost Stanley Cup Final
  • 2017: Ducks sweep Flames, beat Oilers in 7, lost Western Conference Final
  • 2015: Ducks sweep Jets, beat Flames in 5, lost Western Conference Final
  • 2014: Canadiens sweep Lightning, beat Bruins in 7, lost Eastern Conference Final
  • 2013: Sharks sweep Cancuks, lost to Kings in 7
  • 2011: Red Wings sweep Coyotes, lost to Sharks in 7
  • 2009: Bruins sweep Canadiens, lost to Hurricanes in 7
  • 2009: Red Wings sweep Blue Jackets, beat Ducks in 7, lost Stanley Cup Final
  • 2008: Penguins sweep Senators, beat Rangers in 5, lost Stanley Cup Final
  • 2007: Rangers sweep Thrashers, lost to Sabres in 7
  • 2006: Devils sweep Rangers, lost to Hurricanes in 5
  • 2003: Mighty Ducks sweep Red Wings, beat Stars in 6, lost Stanley Cup Final

The Rangers will now wait for the winner of the Islanders-Hurricanes first-round series with Game 5 coming on Tuesday night down in Raleigh. The Hurricanes hold a 3-1 series lead.

“I don’t think there is going to be easy games in the playoffs,” Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette said. “You look att he series that are going around right now and you watch how hard teams are playing and you think it should be a win one way, and yet the other team finds a way to win or they play a strong game. It’s almost like we’re taken aback by that and we shouldn’t. Every team is in here is really good and anybody can beat anybody.”

For more on the New York Rangers, visit AMNY.com

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