The Panthers currently lead the Capitals in points 92 to 90, however, the Capitals hold the tie-breaker (regulation wins). Meaning a Washington win against the Rangers on Saturday combined with a Florida regulation loss to Carolina will result in a Rangers/Panthers first round match-up.
There is another scenario for the Rangers not to face Washington as the Caps can still climb to the seventh spot with a win vs. the Rangers and a Senators (92 points) regulation loss to the Devils.
...despite the Capitals being down to their seventh string goaltender, I really don't want to see them in the first round. For no other reason than wanting to see the Rangers play a different team in the playoffs. Although, I think the Capitals previous playoff success against the Rangers will give them lots of confidence going into the series. Which could be dangerous.
...while Torts would never have the team lay down, I wouldn't be upset if the Rangers lost Saturday night leading to a first round series against the struggling Panthers.
...i don't like the Rangers match-up against the Senators speed, so I'd rather that scenario not play out.