Monday, April 9, 2012

Rangers & Senators Playoff Preview

#1. New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators

The New York Rangers return the post-season as a veritable powerhouse compared to their recent showings as massive underdogs.  That role goes to the Ottawa Senators this season.  Indeed, the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, solid team defense and potent offense of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards has vaulted the Rangers to an Eastern Conference title for the first time in a generation.

The Rangers already showcase a playoff brand of hockey on most nights – sacrificing bodies to block shots and taking advantage of timely bounces in low scoring games – and will look to strike decisively against a Senators group that should be happy just to be in the playoffs.

The Senators will have different plans however.  This may be Daniel Alfredsson’s last season and the team will want to win at all costs.  The Sens surprised everyone this year by rebuilding so quickly with a glut of good young forwards and the emergence of Erik Karlsson – a star in the making.  Karlsson’s tremendous season has garnered Norris Trophy consideration and has helped take the pressure off of goaltender Craig Anderson (or Ben Bishop, etc) who had a lot of goal support, allowing them to have a solid year and lead the team to the post-season.

PuckWatch Hat-trick:
·         Rangers will focus on Erik Karlsson and make his life miserable
·         Depth of Rangers vs Youth of Senators
·         Henrik Lundqvist

Top Scorers to Draft 
NYR - Brad Richards
NYR - Marian Gaborik
NYR - Ryan Callahan
OTT - Daniel Alfredsson
OTT - Jason Spezza
OTT - Erik Karlsson

Series Prediction
This series will showcase a very ambitious and hardworking Senators squad against a hardworking and determined Rangers squad.  The Rangers will be too much and will prevail in 5.
 
Other Playoff Previews
Western Conference

Eastern Conference

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