In past years I used to look at all the metrics of the teams. Compare their offenses, their defenses, their goalies, coaches, head scouts, cheerleaders, whether they used Gatorade or Powerade. And after all that is said and done, none of the numbers really seem to make a damn bit of difference in the playoffs. So, screw it, this year, I’m just going to tell you what I feel from the gut about a few of these things, screw numbers, just going with what I think.
To me, this seems like a matchup of 2 teams that are trying to do the same thing, but are going about it in different ways. Both teams seem to want to play defensive hockey. The Rangers do so by playing a very physical, super aggressive, and leave everything on the ice style of hockey. The Caps do it by a combination of puck control, and smart positional play. They aren’t overly physical, and aren’t going to dive head first in front of shots like the Rangers seem willing to do. However they are very smart, extremely talented, and seemingly willing to play in their own end of the ice unlike years past. Give credit to Boudreau, he saw their style of hockey doesn’t really work, and fixed it.
Offensively the Rangers actually have better numbers than the Caps, but that is a little misleading since the Rangers have so many blowouts, including 2 against the Caps, while the Caps seem to be far more consistent in their scoring. The Rangers are kind of an all or nothing team. They seem to either score 5-7 goals, or 0-1 goals, and very few in the middle. That will probably play into the hands of the Caps because they figure you won’t score 5-7 on them more times than they will score 2-3 on you, know what I mean?
Goaltending wise the Rangers do have a huge advantage, however we saw how that can be nullified 2 years ago when the Caps overcame their 1-3 series deficit to rout the Rangers the rest of the series. Henrik won us 3 games, and our Offense lost us 4. That may be how it goes this series as well.
All in all, this is how I see it going down. Very close games, 3-2, 2-1, 1-0, and I see the Rangers severe lack of star power up front costing them the series. Unless Gaborik resurrects himself and goes apeshit crazy, I don’t see how the Rangers can A)Overcome the loss of Ryan Callahan and B)Consistently stop Backstrom, AO, and Semin with 2 rookies, McCabe, and Eminger out there. Well, I guess I could see how, but it would require the Rangers to send Marc Staal and Dan Girardi out there for 35-40 minutes a night, and that would be suicidal for this club. My head, heart, and gut all tell me that the Rangers have a definite chance to win this series. But, I’m going to go with the Capitals in this one, I just think the Rangers are too green behind the ears, and the Caps will be looking to exact some revenge against us for our regular season domination as well as for what happened to them last season. Caps in 6, with every game being decided by ~1 goal + Empty Netters.