Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: #1 Rangers vs #8 Senators

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

#1 New York Rangers (51-24-7 109 points) vs #8 Ottawa Senators (41-31-10 92 points)

Season Series: Rangers 1-2-1, Senators 3-1-0

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/12 OTT @ NYR 6 PM

Game 2: 4/14 OTT @ NYR 6 PM

Game 3: 4/16 NYR @ OTT 6:30 PM

Game 4: 4/18 NYR @ OTT 6:30 PM

Game 5*: 4/21 OTT @ NYR 6PM

Game 6*: 4/23 NYR @ OTT TBD

Game 7*: 4/26 OTT @ NYR TBD

* if necessary 

New York

The Rangers fell short of winning the President’s Trophy for most points in the NHL but still have the top seed in the East. The Rangers boast one of the best defenses in the league.  New York gave up just 187 goals this season, which is the fewest allowed in the Eastern Conference.   They had their trouble with the Senators high powered offense during the regular season, giving up 14 goals in 4 games.  The Rangers have much more punch to their offense than they have had in past seasons.  Brad Richards, the prize of last summer’s free agent class, has helped the Rangers become a better offensive team.  Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi lead one of the best defensive groupings in the game today.

 

Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik  41 goals, 35 assists, 76 points

Backstop: Henrik Lundqvist 39-18-5, 1.97 goals against average, .930 save %

Ex-Blackhawks Factor: John Scott

Difference Maker: Ryan Callahan had a career high 29 goals this year centering the Rangers 2nd line.  Everyone will be aware of the top line of with Richards and Gaborik but Callahan will force the Senators to have to worry about the 2nd line as well.

 

Ottawa

As good as the Rangers are defensively, the Senators are one of the best offensive teams in the league.  They scored 249 goals this season, but conversely gave 240 goals, which is the most of any team to make the playoffs.  The Senators were one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season but faltered down the stretch.  They lost their last 3 games of the season to knock them out of the 7th seed.  The Rangers defense will have its hand full with the Sens’ top line of Daniel AlfredssonJason Spezza, and Milan Mickalek.  This line combined for an astonishing 96 goals this season and 8 against the Rangers.

 

Leading Scorer: Jason Spezza 34 goals, 50 assists, 84 points

Backstop: Craig Anderson 33-22-6, 2.84 goals against average, .914 save %

Ex-Blackhawks Factor: Craig Anderson, Rob Klinkhammer

Difference Maker: All Star defenseman Erik Karlsson racked up 78 points (19 G, 59 A) this season.  Having an offensive weapon like Karlsson at the blue line can be a huge weapon.  This will be his second go round in the NHL playoffs and will have to remember to play defense first.

 

 

My Prediction: Rangers in 5.  Most NHL playoff series come down to goaltending. With that being said, I just can not see a team with Craig Anderson in goal beating a team with Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes.  He is the perfect equalizer for a high powered offense.

 

 

Topics: Brad Richards, Craig Anderson, Dan Girardi, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Jason Spezza, John Scott, Marian Gaborik, Milan Michalek, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Rob Klinkhammer, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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