: Pre-Game Talk:
ECQF: Rangers (1) vs Senators (8)
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04-09-2012, 12:26 PM
we want cup
Ours is the Fury
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: New York City
THN has the Rangers in 4, for whatever that's worth.
How the Rangers win:
Henrik Lundqvist will determine how far the Rangers advance. He's been Hart Trophy-great and he'll have to be the same in the playoffs. New York needs to continue its stingy 'D,' especially in the shot-blocking department.
How the Senators win:
Ottawa has one of the NHL’s more potent offenses. Its power play and 5-on-5 goals differential both ranked in the top 11 of the league, while its goals-against average hovered near the bottom. Coach Paul MacLean has recognized his team’s resurgence under the emergence of offense-minded blueliner Erik Karlsson and is prepared to go goal-for-goal with an opponent.
How the Rangers lose:
If Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards are shut down, the Rangers will have some troubles. Their two stars will need to be sensational and one of their depth forwards will have to emerge as this year's Sean Bergenheim. Ruslan Fedotenko did it before with 12 goals in 22 games for Tampa Bay in 2004.
How the Senators lose:
When the Sens’ offense dries up, it’s rare that their goaltending or defense picks up the slack. In fact, in 20 of its 27 losses, Ottawa scored two goals or fewer. This isn’t a particularly stingy defensive group. It needs decent production to win.
Rangers question mark:
The 23rd-ranked power play has been brutal and better come to life for New York to end its 18-year Stanley Cup drought. Boston proved Cup contenders can go without a great PP, but it's not the recommended route.
Senators question mark:
The third-year pro Karlsson skyrocketed to fame and Norris Trophy contention via elite puck-moving abilities and offensive instincts. But other than a brief toe in the water in 2009-10, Karlsson isn’t tested in the post-season. His play will determine much of the Senators’ success.
Rangers key stat:
The Blueshirts have the third-highest winning percentage (.814) when scoring first, so the blueprint will be to get up early and play shutdown hockey the rest of the way.
Senators key stat:
Greybeard Daniel Alfredsson’s 11 playoff game-winning goals are the fifth-most among active NHLers.
Winner and why:
The Sens have been a pleasant surprise, over-performing in what was thought to be a rebuilding year, but that won’t carry over into the second season. New York is the better team any way you cut it and especially where it matters: between the pipes. And losing three in a row to close out the season, as the Senators did, certainly doesn’t set a good tone for an opening showdown against what was the league’s top team for most of the year. A young Ottawa squad will gain experience this post-season and little more. Rangers in four.
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