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04-20-2007, 11:29 PM
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This one will come down to a few things among others...

1. The Rangers forecheck/possession game and Sabres D.
If the Rangers can continue to play their possesion game in the offensive zone I think they can out play the Sabres defenseman. I saw alot of Sabres looking around during the Isles series. But with that said the giveaways from Jagrs line in particular have to be seriously limited. The Sabres have a very quick transition game and getting the puck deep will be important for the Rangers. On a side note the Rangers really have to be aware of Campbell coming in late and getting into prime offensive areas, hes been awesome for the Sabres this year.

2. Young Defensman for the Rangers, and the speed of Buffalo.. Pock and Girardi in particular (and Maliks lack of "foot speed"). Rachunek may come back to take Pocks position but how effective will he be? Will he be the half season Rachunek who gave away pucks and made stupid passes or will he be the last quarter Rachunek who turned it around? The other guys, Girardi in particular will have to face a much deeper team and will be tested with only 4 playoff games under his belt. I expect him to be ok, but the Sabres will keep coming. If they are able to skate, watch out.

3. The Leaders. Guys like Briere and Drury or Shanny and Jagr. Who will show up? I believe both will, but its gonna come down to who wants it more as it always does. It will probably come down to the supporting cast of each team and the Sabres have to have the edge there with an embarrassingly deep team. But throw the x-factors in there and of course the Rangers have Avery. My darkhorse is Straka, the guy has been waiting in the weeds too long, and he can skate with the Sabres for sure.

4. Goaltending. Last but surely not least. It may simply come down to the amount of routine and big saves Miller and Hank make and more imortantly when they make them in the game. Miller made a HUGE stop to end the series with the Isles. Thats what makes the difference. We all know how Lundy has played during the stretch. Miller has been fantastic as well. Its gonna be fun to watch that for sure.

All in all it should be a very entertaining series. Both teams have a legitimate shot IMO. It could be a long one.

A good pyschological plus for the Rangers is that the Sabres also have a bunch of days off and the long wait thing can go out the window now, itll only be a difference of about 2 days rest. Not much there.

Last edited by HockeyBasedNYC: 04-20-2007 at 11:36 PM.
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