Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Eastern Conference Semi Finals Preview: Rangers vs Capitals

 

#1 New York Rangers vs #7 Washington Capitals

 

Season Series: Rangers 2-2, Capitals 2-2

 

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/28 WSH @ NYR 2 PM

Game 2: 4/30 WSH @ NYR 6:30 PM

Game 3: 5/2 NYR @ WSH 6:30 PM

Game 4: 5/5 NYR @ WSH 11:30 AM

Game 5*: 5/7 WSH @ NYR 6:30 PM

Game 6*: NYR @ WSH (time and date TBD)

Game 7*: WSH @ NYR (time and date TBD)

 

 

New York

The Rangers needed all seven games to finally get by the Ottawa Senators.  This will be the 3rd time in four years the Rangers will play the Caps in the post season.  They lost to Washington in 7 games in 2009, and again last year in 5 games.  Brian Boyle scored 3 goals before being knocked out of Game 5 with a concussion.  Boyle is not expected to play much, or at all this series.   Defenseman Dan Girardi scored the game winning goal in Game 7 and added 3 assists for a rather big offensive series for the blue liner.  The Rangers have finally found some scoring depth which they have been lacking for years.  If guys like Ryan Callahan and Anton Strallman can continue to contribute the Rangers should be in good shape.

Leading Scorer: Brad Richards 2 goals, 2 assists, 5 points

Backstop: Henrik “Vezina” Lundqvist 4-3, 1.70 goals against average, .945 save %

Ex Blackhawk Factor: John Scott (like he’s going to play!)

Difference Maker: I think the wildcard for the Rangers in this series will be rookie Chris Kreider who was signed out of Boston College just before the playoffs began.  He made his NHL debut in Game 3 and scored the game winning goal in Game 6 versus Ottawa.  He has found a good home on the Rangers 2nd line and could be a major factor.

 

Washington

The Capitals have reversed roles this season.  For years they have been one of the top seeds who lose to a lower seed.  They returned the favor in the 1st round by beating the #2 seed, and defending Stanley Cup champions, Boston Bruins in seven games.  The Caps are playing a very tight defensive game which is the exact opposite from what we are used to seeing out of them.  Young goaltender Branden Holtby has answered the challenge and outplayed Tim Thomas in his first career Game 7.  Alexander Semin answered some critics by leading the Caps in goals, with 3, against Boston.  The Caps have got some good mojo working and are going to be a tough match up for the Rangers.

Leading Scorer: Alex Ovechkin 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points

Backstop: Branden Holtby 4-3, 2.00 goals against average, .940 save %

Ex Blackhawk Factor: Troy Brouwer

Difference Maker:  As in any Washington Capitals playoff series, Alex Ovechkin will be the key to the Caps’ success.  This team will need the “Great 8″ to be just that, great.  If Ovi can catch fire it will go a long way for his team.

My Prediction: For some reason I think the Caps are digging the role of the underdogs and will use it for another upset win.  Caps in 7.

 

 

 

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Tags: New York Rangers Stanley Cup Playoffs Washington Capitals

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